The Texas distillery where Josh Madere ’07 works as the tours and education manager has produced more than 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to help meet the demand created by COVID-19.
Through a partnership with the City of Austin and Travis County COVID-19 emergency response, Still Austin Whiskey has donated bulk hand sanitizer to those on the frontlines battling the respiratory pandemic. Additional batches were allocated to hospitals, cancer centers, firefighters, police and public health officials, emergency medical services, nursing homes and high-risk groups within underprivileged areas.
The distillery’s decision to make hand sanitizer didn’t surprise Josh, who has an undergraduate degree in international relations and global studies from the University of Texas and has been with Still Austin Whiskey for three years.
“We are a company driven by our values,” he said. “We have all the tools, and the main ingredient in sanitizer is ethanol. Ethanol is another word for the alcohol you’re familiar with, and that’s what we make every day.”
The company started making the product in March after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Food and Drug Administration authorized production of ethanol-based hand sanitizers by permitted distillers. Still Austin continues to produce its signature bourbon whiskey and rye gin.
“We’re pleased to provide hand sanitizer for all the local heroes on the frontlines fighting this virus to ensure their safety while keeping the rest of us safe,” Chris Seals, chief executive officer of Still Austin, said in a news release.
Still Austin is also supplying high proof ethanol to Austin pharmacies to produce hand sanitizer for their customers.
Josh said his UWC education opened his eyes to the size of the world and differences among cultures, yet common ideas among people.
“Good times, kindness, passion and sharing, the values are similar between everyone,” the 32-year-old said.