For Hood Crest Winery and Distillers owners Patrik and Tess Barr, it’s hand sanitizer that’s keeping them busy these days.
Hood Crest received its federal and state distilling licenses about a year ago, with county approval coming about a month later. That came in handy when, on March 18, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau sent out a directive that distillers could now make hand sanitizer without the usual restrictions as well as a link to the World Health Organization (WHO) formulation.
The Barrs happened to have leftover bottles and additional ingredients from an earlier cosmetic business — the vodka they make onsite — and were able to start production “in short order.”
“We had no idea how popular it would be,” Patrik Barr said.
Hood Crest follows the rules and regulations set up by WHO, using their formula and pricing model. The still operates 12 hours a day to make vodka and spirits for the sanitizer. At first, the Barrs focused on small spray bottles, but as demand has grown, they’ve started to provide hand sanitizer in sizes ranging from 4 ounces to a gallon. Because other distilleries are also making hand sanitizers, bottles are in short supply; Hood Crest has started using wine bottles.
“Everyone has been quite busy making hand sanitizer and filling bottles for orders,” he said. “We’re selling to banks, fire departments, construction companies and private individuals … We based our pricing on WHO guidelines, so we’re not gouging anyone, but it has helped us to be able to afford our employees.”
While the tasting room is closed, wine club pickup is available, as are orders for wine and pizza. They are also licensed to deliver wine.
“The times are changing and here at Hood Crest Winery and Distillers,” reads a press release on its website. “We are trying to help our valued wine club members and friends make this change to be as easy as can be, under the circumstances. We thank you for your continued support and hope you stay safe and healthy.”
Hood Crest, 1908 Orchard Road, Hood River, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for orders. Its menu and wine catalog are at www.hoodcrestwinery.com or call 541-716-0140.