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Koval Distillery Delivers 500 Gallons Of Free Hand Sanitizer To 6 Chicago-Area Nonprofits

"Koval is filling a gap for us," one nonprofit’s executive director said.

ERC Midwest delivered 110 gallons of Koval's hand sanitizer to Metropolitan Family Services Thursday.
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RAVENSWOOD — Koval delivered 500 gallons of free hand sanitizer this week to Chicago-area nonprofits struggling to find supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The award-winning distillery, known for its whiskey and gin, switched to producing hand sanitizer in March to address the nationwide shortage. Koval’s first batches of free hand sanitizer went to retirement homes, first responders and health care workers.

Metropolitan Family Services received 110 gallons of Koval’s hand sanitizer Thursday.

“Koval is filling a gap for us,” Executive Director Roxanne Nava said. “The hand sanitizer they gave us will have a rippling effect to keep everyone safe as we distribute it to our communities.” 

Metropolitan, established in 1857, serves low-income and working poor families with assistance such as daycare programs, senior support, mental health and domestic violence counseling, and shelter for those fleeing domestic violence. 

Ted Thelen, Metropolitan’s facility director, said a staff member read about Koval’s switch to hand sanitizer on social media in March. Thelen reached out to Koval asking to be included in the next round of sanitizer donations.

He said the regular supply chains his nonprofit relied upon for the product have been completely disrupted by the pandemic.

“We use hand sanitizer a lot and ran out of it very quickly during the pandemic,” Nava said. “Koval’s delivery is amazing because we never stopped providing services to our clients during this pandemic. It’s very important to have access to it.”

The latest batch of free hand sanitizer was distilled from 15,000 gallons of beer donated from area breweries like Metropolitan Brewing and Begyle Brewing

Credit: Koval Distillery
Sonat Birnecker Hart, founder and president of Koval Distillery.

That resulted in about 500 gallons of sanitizer, according to Koval spokesperson Abby Boler. 

Other nonprofits who received the free hand sanitizer Thursday were Clearbrook, TASC, El Valor, YMCA of Metro Chicago, and Sinai Health System, Boler said.

Koval also reopened its retail store at 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave. on Wednesday night to sell single gallons of its hand sanitizer alongside its family of organic and kosher whiskey, gin and specialty spirits. 

Koval began selling sanitizer to the public via its website earlier this month. Initially, the smallest order someone could make was for a four-gallon case. 

“We got a lot of requests from people buying our sanitizer for a single gallon container option too. It’s exciting to be able to offer that now at our retail location,” Boler said. 

The public can buy single gallons of sanitizer as well as spirits using this link. Saturday will be the first day of contact-less pickups at the Ravenswood retail store, Boler said.

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