Lake County distillery shifts production from moonshine to hand sanitizer

Yalaha Bootlegging Company utilizes blueberries to produce alcohol needed

YALAHA, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings made an appeal to local businesses Wednesday amid the coronavirus outbreak hoping they could fill the void when it comes to supplying personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer.

"If we can't rely on the supply chain or the federal government, maybe a better option is to make it here locally," he said.

That’s already underway in parts of Lake County.

Production of hand sanitizer at Yalaha Bootlegging company, a moonshine distillery, began three weeks ago, once owner Doug McCormack received an email asking for help from the federal government’s Alochol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. McCormack said he had to scramble to locate glass bottles he could use for the project.

"It was scary, I didn't know what I was going to put it in," he said.

The business is making bottles every day, and selling them for $5, since they're using organic blueberries to produce the alcohol needed.

"We're selling out every day," McCormack added.

McCormack said the process is very similar and it wasn’t difficult for their distillery, which is the second smallest in Florida to switch products.

"It's actually the same thing," he said.

The business has bottled about 20 gallons of disinfectant already, with phone calls and requests coming in from all over.

"We're keeping it local," McCormack said. "Fire departments, and local police departments, I'll be honest the list is huge."

McCormack plans to continue as long as there’s demand.

“We have time for happy hour later, we need to be safe first,” he said.

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