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Bellefonte’s Big Spring Spirits begins producing hand sanitizer

TIM WEIGHT/FOR THE EXPRESS Kevin Lloyd, owner of Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte, holds bottles of the hand sanitizer the distillery has begun producing.

BELLEFONTE — Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte is known for its wide-range of top-shelf, award-winning spirits.

If owner Kevin Lloyd has his way, it will soon be known for something else — hand sanitizer.

Big Spring Spirits, located at 198 Match Factory Place in Bellefonte, recently began producing hand sanitizer to fill a void in the community in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lloyd said that he got the idea from a distillery in Washington state.

“A couple of weeks ago I noticed that a distillery in the Washington state area began to make hand sanitizer due to an urgent need as that was one of the early epicenters in the U.S.,” Lloyd said. “At that point, it was early in the pandemic in the U.S. and supplies were still available. As I saw the need grow in our area, it became clear that something needed to be done and that we could help.”

PHOTO PROVIDED “Ain’t Got No Sink” hand sanitizer sits on the hood of an abulance at CentreLink EMS. Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte is now making hand sanitizer for area police departments, fire departments and first responders. Owner Kevin Lloyd is distrtibuting the hand sanitizer, free of charge to those organizations.

So far, the hand sanitizer, which is named “Ain’t Got No Sink” has been a hit among local entities such as Bellefonte EMS, the Bellefonte Police Department, Spring Township Police Department, Logan Fire Company and Undine Fire Company.

According to Lloyd, the process of making hand sanitizer is not a difficult one.

“The active ingredient in hand sanitizer is the same ingredient in our vodka, gin and whiskeys — ethanol. For our spirits, we ferment corn, wheat and rye. For hand sanitizer, we will ferment high fructose corn syrup which is more in line with the ethanol fuel industry,” Lloyd explained. “Once fermented and distilled, the ethanol must first be denatured to make it undrinkable, then mixed with hydrogen peroxide and glycerine in exact proportions as mandated by FDA and the World Health Organization. Finally, just like for our liquor products, the product is filled into bottles and delivered to the client.”

Lloyd said that Big Spring Spirits is distributing the hand sanitizer free of charge.

“Currently, our entire production is being directed to first responders in Centre County,” Lloyd said.

TIM WEIGHT/FOR THE EXPRESS Big Spring Spirits, located at 198 Match Factory Place in Bellefonte, has begun producing hand sanitizer in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The first responders have been thrilled to receive the hand sanitizer, if the social media response is any indication.

“A big thank you goes out to our friends at the neighboring Big Spring Spirits today for donating several bottles of locally made hand sanitizer (external use only!),” Bellefonte EMS wrote on Facebook. “We greatly appreciate the donation since this item is currently difficult to obtain from our normal suppliers or retailers.”

“Officers of the Bellefonte Borough Police Department are grateful to have a community that is involved in our safety,” the Bellefonte PD wrote on Facebook. “The Department is very appreciative of BIG SPRING SPIRITS of Bellefonte PA for their donation of custom distilled hand sanitizer to keep officers as safe as possible during this time of social distancing. Please remember: support your local businesses, as they support YOUR community.”

Jeffrey Wharran, Director of Centre County Office of Emergency Services, is administering its distribution

If you want to get your hands on some “Ain’t Got No Sink” hand sanitizer, you’ll have to wait — for now.

“For the time being, we are donating 100 percent of our hand sanitizer to first responders. We will continue to ramp up production over the coming weeks. Any excess capacity will be made available to the public for sale,” Lloyd said.

And while Big Spring Spirits’ tasting room is closed for now, it is still producing and selling products.

“Currently, we are on the Governor’s life-sustaining business list and we are able to continue to produce and sell products. We feel very fortunate to be able to continue operations and maintain our staff. Although our Tasting Room is closed, we are still able to sell online,” Lloyd said.

Those who make a purchase will receive a complimentary small vial of “Ain’t Got No Sink” hand sanitizer.

To support the local business, order online at www.bigspringspirits.com/shop. Orders can be picked up curbside at Big Spring Spirits, delivered locally for a $10 fee or shipped via UPS.

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