ALBANY — When life gives you isopropyl alcohol, you make hand sanitizer.
That was the mantra brewers at Pretoria Fields Brewery here adopted Friday after getting rapid, emergency approval from the Department of Revenue to produce hand sanitizer at the craft brewery.
Pretoria Fields owner Dr. Tripp Morgan said the idea to repurpose equipment at the brewery to make sanitizer serves a number of purposes, the most important of which is to benefit the community as it deals with the coronavirus that has impacted the world, the nation, the state and southwest Georgia in particular.
“My first thought was, ‘”Let’s get in this fight,’” Morgan said Friday afternoon after learning that the brewery had been granted a license to make hand sanitizer utilizing existing equipment at the downtown establishment. “It’s mostly about helping the community, about providing a service for this community, but it also gives us an opportunity to repurpose some of our staff and our supplies while distributers are not buying our beer.”
Pretoria Fields Brewmaster Dee Moore said the brewery happened to have a large supply of isopropyl alcohol on hand. The brewery uses the substance to keep machinery clean.
“As a matter of fact, we have 99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol,” Moore said. “It’s well beyond the requirement (for making hand sanitizer).”
Moore said the process involves a mixture of the alcohol, glycerine, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water. The isopropyl alcohol and a supply of beer stored at the brewery will be converted to almost pure, high-potency ethanol, which is a primary component of bactericidal compounds. Since the brewery is not a distillery, officials had to get permission to produce the ethanol.
Morgan said he expects Pretoria Fields to have batches of hand sanitizer ready for public use by the end of next week at the latest.
“Depending on any restrictions that the city puts in place, we will sell the sanitizer out of the brewery, in 6- or 8-ounce bottles, primarily,” he said. “Of course, if Phoebe (Putney Memorial Hospital) or Procter & Gamble need larger volume, we should be able to provide it.
“We’ll mix the sanitizer here and use our repurposed bottles and labels to create an effective product. The work will be done by our brewers and brew staff, plus we’re fortunate to have two compound pharmacists — Tony Singletary and Will Coley — on staff.”
Singletary noted that the FDA had altered its policy for temporary compounding certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That policy applies to state-licensed pharmacies or federal facilities and registered outsourcing facilities (under which the brewery falls).
The manufacture of the hand sanitizer will be overseen by the state Department of Agriculture.