Badlands Distillery adapting to pandemic needs
KADOKA, S.D. — America has seen a variety of shortages in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things in high demand has been hand sanitizer, supplies quickly dwindled. To combat the shortage, the FDA created a policy for temporary production of alcohol based hand sanitizers, and hundreds of distilleries across the nation have jumped at the opportunity to help their communities. Badlands Distillery in Kadoka is one of these distilleries, and their preparation has helped meet demand not just in the Black Hills, but across the nation.
Badlands Distillery has been producing hand sanitizer that meets CDC guidelines since March. When the need for sanitizer grew, the distillery made the decision to stop producing their regular alcohol products in order to produce as much hand sanitizer as possible. Marketing and Operations Manager Sandra Eischenbacher says that when Badlands Distillery first began producing sanitizer, they had to work hard to get it to people directly during the initial stay at home orders.
Retailers throughout South Dakota now have the distillery’s sanitizer in stock, and in the last month the distillery has been shipping their sanitizer to locations across the nation. It has been a surprise to Eischenbacher how far their reach has gone. Beyond South Dakota, communities in Wisconsin, California and even Alaska have contacted Badlands Distillery in hopes of fulfilling their need for sanitizer.
Producing hand sanitizer that meets CDC guidelines is not something that the company was designed to do, but in the last two months Badlands Distillery has been able to make over 10,000 gallons of sanitizer. Since Badlands Distillery is used to making spirits with ingredients that are locally sourced, the company has had to buy the ethanol necessary for sanitizer. Sanitizer is then made using the guidelines set by the FDA and World Health Organization.
Each year Badlands Distillery prepares for the summer months well in advance, which allowed them to build up a supply of their spirits in preparation for visiting tourists. Now that the demand for sanitizer is dropping, the distillery has begun producing both the sanitizer and their regular spirits, both of which can be purchased in-house at the Badlands Distillery tasting room.
The tasting room at Badlands Distillery officially reopened, with attention paid to keeping customers and employees healthy and safe. A plastic guard at the bar and spaced out tables and seating ensure that everyone in the tasting room can sample the distillery’s eight spirits safely. And as the distillery moves forward producing its spirits, Eischenbacher says that they are committed to producing hand sanitizer for as long as they can in order to help communities in need.