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Tito's vodka working to make 24 tons of hand sanitizer

The vodka brand has joined other major alcohol producers in an effort to produce hand sanitizer, which has been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

Just don't put it in your martinis.

Tito's Handmade Vodka, which earlier this month warned people not to use its booze as hand sanitizer, announced it will now make hand sanitizer to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The Texas-based company announced Monday that employees at its distillery are getting everything in place to produce an initial batch of 24 tons of hand sanitizer "that adheres to industry and governmental guidance."

"Currently, we are testing our formula, procuring necessary components of supplies and packaging, and preparing for production as we wait for the additional required ingredients to be delivered to the distillery,'' the company said in a release. "We have the ingredients and equipment on order to make an initial 24 tons of hand sanitizer over the next several weeks, and plan to make more from there as needed."

The company also noted that it will be giving away the hand sanitizer for free "to our community and those most in need."

The move by Tito's comes after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced last week that permitted distillers have been authorized to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizer.

Tito's joins other alcohol makers like Pernod Ricard, the maker of Jameson Whiskey and Absolut Vodka, which announced last week that it's putting facilities in Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky and Texas to work producing hand sanitizer.

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Diageo, the maker of Guinness beer and Smirnoff vodka, announced Monday that it will donate more than two million liters of alcohol to help make more than eight million bottles of hand sanitizer.

Earlier this month, Tito's gained attention on social media after it put out a statement warning people that its product didn't meet CDC standards for hand sanitizer products.

Hand sanitizer has been in short supply due to the overwhelming demand across the country from health care workers to citizens looking to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus.

Prominent hand sanitizer Purell announced earlier this month that it has "dramatically increased production" in response to the demand. The clamor for sanitizer also caused New York to take the dramatic step of producing its own hand sanitizer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month.

The state is using prison inmates to make free hand sanitizer for the public, and plans to produce 100,000 gallons a week.

There also has been outrage over hoarding, including two brothers from Tennessee criticized for stockpiling 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer that they later donated after the Tennessee Attorney General's Office opened a price gouging investigation.

Effective hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.