Alcoholic Beverage Industries Now Producing Hand Sanitizer

The beverage industry is quickly and collectively producing the high-proof alcohol needed for hand sanitizer, learn more about the challenges and explore our Ethanol odor solutions.

Alcoholic Beverage Producers Make Hand Sanitizer During Pandemic

Due to the current health issues impacting many across the globe, distilleries, breweries and wineries are turning to hand sanitizer production, supplying local communities and vital services in need.


As of June 2020, the American Craft Spirits Association reports that three-quarters of distillers are either planning to produce or producing hand sanitizer. Sales spiked recently with customers stockpiling sanitization products; however, produc- tion demand will endure in the coming months as human behavior is gradually changing to “the new normal”.


Companies are following the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to make hand sanitizer. These recommendations list specific ingredients such as high-proof alcohol (96% alcohol by volume), distilled water, hydrogen peroxide, moisturizers (glycerine and aloe) and denaturants (denatonium benzoate, sucrose octacetate or tert-butyl/isopro- pyl alcohol).


Traditionally, ethanol suppliers, distillers, brewers and wineries don’t have experience producing the high-proof alcohol needed for hand sanitizer, so the beverage industry is quickly and collectively sharing knowledge to ensure that production is safe, accurate and effective. However, some of the ethanol utilized for the hand sanitizer application is found to have lingering unpleasant smell to the finished product.


The denaturation process is needed to render a product unfit for human consumption, thus free of high excise taxes. This process occurs at the alcohol or finished sanitizer producer. The added chemicals can also provide unpleasant odors, that consequentially need to be removed to deliver a suitable product for the consumer.


The Challenge


Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) is the traditional method used in the food and beverage industry for:


  • adsorption applications,
  • achieving odor removal,
  • and decolorization or removal of trace impurities.


While functional, the use of bulk PAC has signifi- cant drawbacks relating to the handling of powder, labor intensity and safety, cleaning of process equipment and long contact time needed for proper adsorption and time (costs) associated with carbon removal from the process.


The installation can provide alcohol exposure to the environment, requiring an appropriate system of ventilation and ATEX certification to minimize the release of volatile organic compounds and prevent explosions.


In the past months, manufacturers have demanded innovative production techniques and modern equipment that:


  • recognizes reduced labor availability due to new operating environments that adhere to social distancing guidelines
  • require less labor
  • don’t have detrimental effects on both occupa- tional hygiene and good manufacturin. practice,
  • are easy-to-use and maintain,
  • have a small footprint,
  • provide process flexibility
  • and are quick to install and implement.


At an optimized flowrate, the probability of contact between the impurities and carbon particles is more outstanding in carbon-impregnated sheets, due to the process fluids more efficiently contacting carbon particles immobilized into a sheet matrix.



Figure 1: A typical process involving the addition of bulk activated carbon (cleaning steps not shown)


Hand Sanitizing Form