Ogden’s Own Distillery joined the hand sanitizer market in mid-March — as soon as it was able — to better fill consumer demand for a product that is now unexpectedly hard to find. The hand sanitizer products — offered for a reasonable price — have gone first to medical professionals and critical staff doing battle on the front lines of the COVID-19 virus.
CEO Steve Conlin sees this as his civic duty. “Don’t hesitate to do what you think is best for the community or your staff. There are no easy answers at the moment, so do what you think is right. And be kind to people. Those who are working are stressed, those who aren’t are scared,” he said.
Ogden’s Own Distillery has adapted quickly despite significant challenges. In addition to the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 crisis, the distillery has been engaged in a major expansion project. The company is financing a new building with funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan program.
“We are about to finish up construction and have started moving things into the new facility. (We’re) expecting occupancy at the end of the April, pending Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) Commission approval on the 28th,” Conlin said. Further support has come from the SBA, as he indicated that they successfully applied to the Paycheck Protection Program and recently received those funds.
To facilitate the production of hand sanitizer, on March 18 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) temporarily relieved distilleries of certain requirements related to the use of alcohol for this non-beverage purpose. The producers would no longer have to obtain formula approval from TTB before producing hand sanitizer if using a formula consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) guidance.
“When the TTB relaxed its requirements for making the sanitizer, we had product on the shelf within 40 hours,” Conlin said.
Another challenge the business faced is with its supply chain. “We are having supply chain issues concerning access and delivery,” Conlin said. But they are taking the challenges as they come and they hope to be able to continue with the products into the future, he said.
During the current crisis, the distillery has donated some of its hand sanitizer to the Wood Cross Police Department. They have also donated some of the proceeds to local restaurants to help servers through this difficult time.
Ogden’s Own hand sanitizer is being sold via their website at https://ogdensown.square.site.
“We are still limiting (purchases) by size but we can be fairly accommodating if you need more. Pre-purchase orders will normally be available for pick up within 24 hours of the order placed,” Conlin said.
Ogden’s Own introduced Five Wives Vodka into the Utah market in December of 2011 where it quickly became a favorite of Utah vodka drinkers. It has also garnered many awards since then.
Story furnished by the Utah District Office of the Small Business Administration.