Last year we did a story on our friends at Seven Three Distilling in New Orleans. We had a chance to reach out to them this week only to find out they are transitioning into making hand sanitizer to help their local communities. We talked to General Manager Tristan Johnson to learn how they pivoted so quickly.
“Like everyone, the team at Seven Three has been doing our very best to navigate the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in,” said Johnson. “We are lucky—so absurdly lucky—to be in an industry where we can pivot production into manufacturing sanitizer. We were of course aware of the colossal need for this across every corner of the market, but seeing the requests now pour into our inboxes, it really hits home.”
“With this transition comes a staggering responsibility. We’re producing a very basic need right now, and we’re operating out of one of the communities hit hardest by the Covid-19 outbreak, New Orleans, Louisiana. As we scale up production, we are balancing requests for donations and commercial orders, all while keeping an eye on sales within the distillery, where we’re giving away a bottle of sanitizer with purchase. And because we’re in the spirits business, we are deeply invested in giving back to the bartending community that has supported us so vigorously through our three years of operation. We’re donating 10 percent of bottle sales to the United States Bartender’s Guild, who are on the front lines providing assistance and resources to the many, many individuals in the service industry out of work right now.”
“The whole process has felt very much like a wartime effort, with us converting production on a dime to meet the overwhelming needs of the market. The obstacles have been considerable. Supply chains for everything from packaging to raw materials have been unsurprisingly backed-up. Meanwhile, we’ve watched as our entire standard stream of revenue has transitioned before our eyes. We’re no longer running distillery tours, and with bars closed far and wide, distribution has been severely impacted, but the moment we got sanitizer on the shelf, the calls started pouring in.”
“Our initial run was very modest, around 1,000 4-ounce spray bottles. It’s a spray sanitizer with 75% ABV. We’ve been hard at work scaling up, with 16 ounce, 32 ounce, and gallon size containers in the works, as well as the ability to fill high-volume orders. The whole process can feel a bit like building a plane mid-flight, which I suppose must feel very relatable at a time where everyone is taking life a day at a time, and reacting the best they can.”
“Through it all, we’re looking forward. Our business is unrecognizable from just two weeks ago. I’m proud of how swiftly we’ve been able to turn our entire operation inside out, and I’m humbled that we have the means not only to keep our doors open, but to give back at such a critical time. ‘Keep your spirits up’ is something we’ve found ourselves saying a lot through the last few weeks, and we’re determined to do our part to help with that.”