On Thursday, March 19, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in paving the way for licensed distilleries to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizer. Journeyman Distillery started bottling sanitizer that same day. “There was no question about what we would do,” said Journeyman founder, Bill Welter.
The distillery’s popular restaurant and tasting room had been shut down just days earlier, the result of an Executive Order temporarily closing bars and limiting restaurants to delivery and carry-out. Spirit production could have continued, but Journeyman has a history of philanthropy and civic engagement that goes back nearly a century.
“In the early 1940s, the Warren Featherbone Company supported the war effort by manufacturing raincoats for the U.S. Armed Forces,” notes Welter, a self-proclaimed history buff. “Now, almost 80 years later, we’ve converted our production facility in the historic Featherbone factory to make hand sanitizer for front-line healthcare and essential service providers—as well as our community.”
Last Saturday, Journeyman gave away 400 bottles of hand sanitizer to the public during a fundraising bottle sale. Nearly $13,000 was raised for a newly established Hourly Employee Fund and requests for bulk hand sanitizer started rolling in. By the end of the day a website and online store was launched to help fulfill requests—currently numbering in the hundreds.
The response has been, at times, overwhelming for the 10-year-old craft distillery located in tiny Three Oaks, MI; but Welter is committed to doing whatever needs to be done. “It’s been a challenge but we’re proud to be here—for our customers, employees, and community.”
Journeyman is leveraging their state-of-the-art facility, existing supply chain, production expertise, and distribution network to meet demand. Orders of bulk hand sanitizer—from 1.75 liter bottles to 55 gallon barrels—are now being accepted. Details, FAQs, and online ordering options are available at journeymandistillery.com/
Founded in 2010, Journeyman Distillery crafts, bottles, sells, and serves organic and kosher certified spirits at the historic Featherbone Factory in Three Oaks, Michigan. The distillery prides itself on using the highest quality grains sourced from Midwestern organic farmers in its award-winning spirits as well as at its Staymaker restaurant. Journeyman products are distributed in nineteen states across the country and available for purchase direct from the distillery. Learn more and find your spirit at journeymandistillery.com