ST. LOUIS — Two local wineries have joined forces to produce hand sanitizer for first responders who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meramec Vineyards Winery and Belmont Vineyards have already produced enough sanitizer to fill 900 bottles and they plan to continue producing more throughout the pandemic.
The bottles will be distributed to local first responders in multiple counties and “wherever a future need may arise.”
“Meramec Vineyards and Belmont Vineyards are proud to be able to provide this service to our community!” the owners told 5 On Your Side.
Meramec Vineyards has distilling and brewing licenses and began making "Meramec Moonshine" a little over a year ago.
Right before the start of COVID-19 in our area, the winery had plans to expand its brewing and distillery operations. Then, with stay-at-home orders, the company had to move its business to fit the takeout and curbside pick-up model.
The company said it has had a lot of success, thanks to the local community.
The idea of the two wineries coming together to make hand sanitizer came from the owner of Belmont Vineyards, Jeff Voss.
Voss asked the owner of Meramec Vineyards, Joe Boulware, about his distillery businesses and made the suggestion of hand sanitizer.
Boulware told Voss he thought about making sanitizer but was just trying to keep his business in survival mode through the pandemic. Voss then offered to help in the form of a partnership, according to Boulware.
“Voss has over 20+ years experience and started working right away on the formula. He sought out bottles, nozzles, and labels and basically said to me, 'are you ready?'” Boulware told 5 On Your Side.
Boulware said he was nervous at first but has always felt that taking a risk for a good cause will always pay off.
The wineries are looking for sponsors to keep hand sanitizer production going and growing. They are also accepting donations which can be made via Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hope this continues to keep us busy in this time and we can do our part to help!” Boulware said.
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