- Pernod Ricard, the producer of Absolut Vodka and other drinks, such as Jameson Irish Whiskey, says it will start to produce hand sanitizer at all its US distilleries.
- The US faces a massive hand-sanitizer shortage, and companies like Pernod Ricard are trying to help meet the demand.
- Pernod Ricard said it worked with the US government to receive certification to produce hand sanitizer.
- The next steps include figuring out the distribution of the hand sanitizer, which will be donated.
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US wine-and-spirits producer Pernod Ricard announced Wednesday that the company would convert all its distilleries to produce hand sanitizer, which it will then donate.
The company – which makes drinks such as Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Malibu – is converting its facilities in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Smooth Ambler Spirits, in Lewisburg, West Virginia; Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky; and Texas Whiskey Distillery Ft. Worth, Texas.
Fighting the coronavirus is a nationwide effort, and the production of hand sanitizer is a clear example of that effort as distilleries across the US start to alter their production lines to help make more of it during the nation’s massive shortage.
“The health and safety of our employees – and our communities – is our top priority,” Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, said. “In times like this it is important that everyone, especially companies with strong U.S. roots, like ours, prioritize good corporate citizenship and step up in the name of the greater good.”
Pernod Ricard said it's been working with government officials, namely Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing, to straighten out regulatory hang-ups during the process of certification for Pernod Ricard to begin ramping up production of sanitizer.
"Our top priority during this crisis is the health and safety of all Americans," US Rep. Steve Womack, who represents the city of Fort Smith, said in the announcement. "It's great to see Pernod Ricard USA prioritizing a national need over short-term business gains to make an impact during this national emergency."
Now that the initial steps have been laid to make more hand sanitizers in the US, the company is working with the US government to organize the distribution of the product.
States and businesses around the US have also tried to find innovative ways to replenish the stock hand sanitizer and meet the needs of those who require the product.
The state of New York is producing its own line of hand sanitizer to meet the needs of schools, prisons, and government agencies. Other smaller distilleries in the US have joined the effort to bring more hand sanitizer to those who need it.