TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) – Like other small businesses in the area, Indian Creek Distillery near New Carlisle has been hit with a slowdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Co-owner Joe Duer said business was good through the year for his company, which makes several types of whiskey to sell in a retail store on location. But with the stay-at-home order and COVID-19 outbreak, it is now at a stop.
“We were pretty steady up and until this past Saturday,” Duer said. “We are open during the week Tuesday through Saturday, but we’ve had no customers and no sales. I’d say we’ve definitely been affected.”
Instead of focusing on the drop in sales, he wanted to help people. Owning a distillery, Duer is one of the few with the means to make hand sanitizer due to its high alcohol content. Duer said he and his wife read reports of distilleries across the country and state helping out during the outbreak by making the product and decided this was something he wanted to do for the community.
“Once we started having inquiries about it we decided it was something we could pursue,” Duer said. “We wanted to dedicate a good part of production alcohol-wise to hand sanitizer, but we have no experience at this outside making and bottling whiskey.”
Duer then contacted Tanya Brown, who owns Living Simply Soap in Tipp City. Duer carries Brown’s product in the retail store for the distillery. Now he needed her expertise and “bulldog” tenacity.
“She gave an assist on the procedures, and things she had access to or had to produce,” Duer said. “It was things she used in her soap production like bottles, which are pretty hard to come by presently. She helped us with connections.”
When Duer’s wife posted on the company’s Facebook page about their new hand sanitizer, he said they had 22,000 responses. He said with the demand, they could sell the sanitizer for profit but that’s not his objective.
“We just want to help people and assist them with a product. They can’t get but we can now make it here,” Duer said. “There’s a recognizable need for the general public, for municipal groups for police departments and others.”
Duer said the slowdown is going to hurt for several reasons. They only sell in their retail store, and their product isn’t in state liquor stores. He said the retail store will remain open but he imagines people will be staying inside due to the government order. It will also delay the expansion plans they had.
“We’re survivors and we’ve been self-employed all of our lives,” Duer said. “We will make it work somehow. We live on our farm and that’s where the distillery is so we’re safe there. Hopefully, we won’t have to close the doors.”
Duer said their sanitizer will be available in a spray bottle and could be used to spray and clean surfaces if soap and water aren’t available.
For more information on Indian Creek Distillery, visit their Facebook page.