Sazerac, the maker of Fireball whisky, said it will produce hand sanitizer for hospitals and other industrial customers to help fill the shortage caused by the coronavirus. Credit: Courtesy of Sazerac

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Whisky distillers are stepping up to make hand sanitizer, which has been in short supply for consumers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Lewiston factory that makes the popular Fireball Cinnamon Whisky will soon join Maine Craft Distilling in Portland to make hand sanitizer.

The Sazerac Co., which owns the Lewiston factory, said its 10 plants across the United States are gearing up to produce hand sanitizer. The initial run of sanitizer started yesterday at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Kentucky. It did not give a date for when the Lewiston factory would start making sanitizer.

While Maine Craft Distilling sells 750 milliliter bottles of hand sanitizer to consumers for $3 for curbside pickup plus another $5 for home delivery, Sazerac will sell its product to the healthcare, government, military, retail, distribution, airline, pharmacy and banking industries.

Matt Maimone, Sazerac’s chief operating officer, said hand sanitizer supplies have dwindled in every industry.

“We have received requests to date for over five million bottles of sanitizer, which we are prepared to meet, and possibly more, across our sites in North America,” he said. “We are adding production capacity to cope with the massive industrial demand.”