Edgeville Buzz

Koval Distillery Churns Out Hundreds Of Gallons Of Hand Sanitizer With $64K In Community Support


Finding ways to work together in the time of crisis makes living day to day more bearable in a time of extreme isolation. One local Andersonville distillery found a way to help with the support of nearly 1000 donors by temporarily turning focus from producing spirits such as whiskey and gin to much needed hand sanitizer that is so desperately needed by those on the COVID-19 front line.

It seemed to happen so quickly as fear over the deadly coronavirus spread like a wave and caused mass shortages of things we would normally find everyday stocked on grocery shelves. The panic made some horde mass amounts of items such toilet paper and alcohol-based cleaners.

Over two weeks ago, governors across the country started to plead with the current White House administration to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to force companies to help replenish essential items for consumers, hospitals and first responders. This past Friday, the President finally flipped the DPA switch but it was another late response to a pandemic that has brought our health care system to its knees.

Locally however, a small distillery along Ravenswood on the Western border of Andersonville was heeding the call put out by Illinois leaders. Invoking their own DPA, KOVAL Distillery turned their efforts from making popular organic whiskeys and specialty spirits into the production of life-saving hand sanitizer.

That bold decision led to a plan that would organize its team to fund, create and distribute vast amounts of the liquid to nursing homes, hospitals and first responders at no charge. Having the factory needed to begin the process, KOVAL looked to the community to help make the dream a reality with the creation of a gofundme.com campaign with an ambitious goal of $70K. Just over two weeks later they are only $6K away from that goal and have provided inspirational hope and good will that proves where the Federal Government may lack, we can pick up the slack.

According to KOVAL, they have been working with Chicago city officials and the the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau to lift the restrictions has allowed them to pivot to the new goal. After getting the green light, they have worked around the clock to produce over 1,000 gallons of sanitizer which is a mixture of ethanol, water, glycerine, and hydrogen peroxide as per World Health Organization guidelines.

“We closed out this past week with the knowledge that hundreds of gallons of sanitizer had made it’s way into the hands of organizations that deeply needed it,” said Emily Williams, a KOVAL Sanitizer Team member. “The continued support of this extraordinary community has made it a reality to offer protection to the most vulnerable among us, and the appreciation for this is truly endless.”

The containers will reach thousands on the COVID-19 front line through the help of partners such as local Aldermen, organizations like Medspeed, Chicago Beyond, financial support from companies like Edelson PC, and the endless donations from supporters on the gofundme.com page. Local brewers have also aided in the process including growler donations from Hamburger Mary’s Chicago to bottle and beer to distill from Temperance Beer Co. and Urban Renewal Brewery.

With the initial distribution of 100 gallons to the Chicago Police Department and O’Hare Air Traffic Controllers, the sanitizer has reached those in dire need including Howard Brown Health, The Friendship Center, Night Ministry, The Ark, Common Pantry, UCAN, Deborah’s Place, Sarah’s Circle, Advocate Christ, Cook County Sheriff’s office, ambulance companies, countless hospitals, and police and firefighters in the Chicago area and suburbs.

“It is hard to put into words how much your contributions have meant, and how vital this work has been in combating COVID-19,” Williams added. “As we plan our delivery routes for the coming week, we remain humbled and in eternal gratitude.”

Though hand sanitizer is currently being supplied for free to those on the front line, KOVAL plans to begin selling hand sanitizer to the public too. If you are an institution in need of hand sanitizer, click here for their request form.

If you want to help KOVAL continue their efforts, go to the gofundme.com campaign here.


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