Vermont companies retool production to crank out hand sanitizer, face masks

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Several Vermont companies are stepping up to help front-line health care workers, first responders and the public ward off the spread of the coronavirus.

Caledonia Spirits saw their company’s unique resources as a way to make hand sanitizer. They started almost a month ago and now have a goal to produce 20,000 gallons of Barr Hill Hand Sanitizer by the end of April.

Vice president of marketing Harrison Kahn said that amount would be the equivalent of ten million hand washes. “Barr Hill has the opportunity to wash a lot of hands,” he said.

Kahn said the company’s lead distiller shows up at 4:45 every morning to “fire up our beautiful copper column named Phyllis,” which has been completely converted to hand sanitizer production.

“We can make alcohol in large quantities and that’s really at the core of this,” said “We have the ability to provide a much-needed resource to the medical community right now. So, we have a responsibility to act.”

Click here to buy Barr Hill Sanitizer.

For Vermont Teddy Bear Company, its willingness to help was a no brainer. “We have industrial sewing machines and we have talented stitches, so basically it’s the same skill set that’s required to make masks,” said director of manufacturing Cathy Carlisle.

The Vermont Health Department recommends all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when they go outside, to help slow the spread of covid-19.

“We have so many requests for masks and we are managing a list of donation requests. We are donating all of them,” said Carlisle.

Carlisle said Vermont Teddy Bear is partnering with the city of Burlington and at home sewers to create large quantities as the pandemic continues.

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