By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Makers of locally crafted whiskey, gin, and vodka have been a part of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for several years. Local distilleries such as Springbrook Hollow Farm and Yankee Distillers have shared with their customers spirits made from New York grown grains that have been slowly cooked down, fermented, distilled, and aged. The process was all about care.
Care took on a different meaning when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted two months ago. Hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies essential to protecting one’s self suddenly became hard to find. Many worried about coming into contact with the virus and not being able to get clean. The distilleries had a solution. Now, bottles of hand sanitizer share space on their farmers’ market tables with the spirits for which they are known.
“We realized that as cleaning supplies started to come into short supply some of the raw alcohol we had on-site could be used to clean things around the distillery,” says Steve Hamilton of Yankee Distillers. “And then when the New York Liquor Authority and the World Health Organization started to publish guidelines for distilleries to transition their production over to hand sanitizer, we realized that we were positioned to provide a product that our community needs right now.”
“We had all the equipment, everything we needed,” adds Tara Amazon of Springbrook Hollow. “We knew we needed to help keep our community safe in whatever way that we could.”
Yankee Distillers makes its sanitizer with alcohol, a bittering agent that denatures it, glycerin to soften it, peroxide, and water. They follow a World Health Organization formula. It is being sold in half-gallon containers for $32 and 4-ounce spray-top bottles for $5. The company also is offering face masks imprinted with its logo.
Springbrook’s product is made from grain alcohol, glycerin, and peroxide. It is being sold for $45 a gallon, or $35 a gallon for four or more gallons. Two-ounce spray-top bottles cost $3. Springbrook just donated 5,000 bottles to health care workers in Saratoga, Glens Falls, and Queensbury north to the Canadian border.
Market staff and some vendors also are keeping bottles of their sanitizer on their tables and at cleaning points throughout the market as part of their effort to keep the environment safe.