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Bay Area distilleries stop making liquor during pandemic to make hand sanitizer

Bay Area

RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) – It was the sight of empty store shelves that woke the owners of the Falcon Spirits Distillery in Richmond to the critical shortage of hand sanitizer.  

The gin makers then reached out to the agencies that oversee the liquor making industry for approval to switch gears.

“They were actually very quick and they change the rules just for coronavirus,” Farid Dormishian said.

Now, the small distillery is filling spray bottles of hand sanitizer and has contracts with several cities and is fielding a lot of inquiries.

“Our main concern and it still is to first responders and I do apologize I can’t provide for everyone,” Dormishian said.

They are losing money on this venture charging most of their clients like the city of Berkeley just for the cost of the materials.

They are also giving some away to restaurants through their distributor since that industry is taking a beating in this crisis.

“We really realize wow how are any of them gonna survive,” Dormishian said.

Prohibition Spirits in Sonoma is also making hand sanitizer for several counties and nursing homes but is also selling some with the scent of craft cocktails, like old fashions for the general public.

In San Francisco, Seven Stills Brewery and Distillery has stopped making beer and whiskey, instead getting ready to begin production this week in order to supply the major demand coming from local hospitals and nursing homes and single room occupancy hotels.

The owner says he’s not making a profit on this new venture.

“We are federal facility we’re pretty much the only distillery in San Francisco so we have the tools to do this I don’t feel like it’s an option I feel like it’s our responsibility to be doing this,” Tim Obert said.

They are selling their sanitizer at cost to those institutions that can pay and they are adding a donation feature to their website the public can help out by purchasing the germ killing product for those that cannot.

Tim Obert is asking that anyone with access to 500mL or 1L pump top bottles to contact him at

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