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Sugar House Journal

Sugar House Distillery produces hand sanitizer for the first responders, medical workers

May 11, 2020 13h14 ● By Stephanie DeGraw

By Stephanie DeGraw | [email protected]

Getting hand sanitizer into the hands of those who need it most is the mission of one Utah business. Sugar House Distillery switched from producing alcoholic spirits to hand sanitizer. 

"It's been really eye-opening," said James Fowler, owner of the distillery. "I've had three major trucking companies’ CEOs calling me saying they can't find sanitizer for their drivers. If truck drivers get ill then it affects our whole food supply. So there's been a sense of urgency." 

Fowler was also concerned when he heard hospitals, first responders, and retirement and nursing homes were having difficulty getting enough hand sanitizer. So, he has been arranging for bottles of the sanitizer to get to those most in need. "It's just the right thing to do for the community. We have a resource that we can help people," he said. 

To transition to the new venture, Sugar House Distillery faced a few new twists to get approved. Fowler explained since it involves alcohol, certain federal agencies have to sign off on it. "Once the FDA and the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) figured out what worked and what did not work, it happened pretty quickly to get approved. The state was also very cooperative," he said. The distillery must follow a particular FDA recipe, which includes base alcohol, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide. 

Fowler’s business is unique in that they make their product from scratch, and most distilleries in the state are more like bottling plants where they buy the product from someplace else. The biggest challenge has been finding enough containers to put the new sanitizer in and finding lids that fit. 

If someone needs a bottle of sanitizer, they can get one at the distillery at 2212 S. West Temple. Limit one free 4 oz. bottle per person. Refills are available for purchase, too. 

Fowler asked people to consider helping those out of work by donating at This nonprofit works with the people of Salt Lake City who have been laid off from bars and restaurants. Inquires can be sent to [email protected]