Michigan breweries shift to making hand sanitizer amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

State gives OK to businesses

A brewery is turning alcohol into hand sanitizer in Birmingham.

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Michigan distillers and breweries are allowed to make hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

MORE: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand as of Thursday night

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) relaxed regulations to allow beverage distillers to make denatured alcohol.

Denatured alcohol is a byproduct of the brewing process.

Distillers will be permitted to do so without the usual required permit through June 30. This could be extended if necessary.

All TTB-permitted DSPs may manufacture hand sanitizer products that are comprised of:

  • Denatured or undenatured ethanol
  • Glycerol (not less than 1.45% of the finished hand sanitizer product on a volume basis), and
  • Hydrogen peroxide (not less than 0.125% of the finished hand sanitizer product on a volume basis) 

Griffin Claw Brewing in Birmingham is making hand sanitizer after contacting the state about the possibility.

“As any of us were trying to find rubbing alcohol or Clorox wipes or whatever, it was for our own, and we couldn’t find a lot of hand sanitizer,” said Kyle Van Deventer, the marketing manger at Griffin Claw. “We’re not doing this to make money. We’re doing this to help our community.”

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.