The most creative turnaround this year was alcohol distilleries making hand sanitizer, says Peyton Post.

Best of 2020: The Most Creative Turnaround of the Year is Spirits to Sanitization

2020 is the year that will forever live in infamy as the weirdest, hardest and certainly deadliest in recent history. As this rollercoaster of a timeline comes to a close, it is important to hold onto the positive moments and new ideas that stem from working through hardship. The most creative way companies have detoured is through the creation of completely new products using ingredients readily available. This is where local distilleries across America found their innovative side and worked to create positive change

Hand sanitizer: this year’s most coveted product, selling out by the thousands in a matter of minutes. Grocery store after grocery store, pharmacy to pharmacy, the shelves remained empty. When alcohol companies heard of this, they knew they needed to do something fast. Many companies, including Blinking Owl Distillery here in Orange County, found that a key ingredient, ethanol, was just as good at killing a virus as it was for making of-age beverages. The combination of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and glycerol created a potent sanitizer that proved to be just as effective as name brands like Purell. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when ethanol is used at a concentration of 60 percent or higher, it “inactivates viruses that are genetically related to, and with similar physical properties as COVID-19.” This was great news for the distilleries.

Not only was this breakthrough great for consumers looking to buy products, it was also amazing for a collapsed job market that fell through due to the pandemic. Many workers who were fired, laid off, furloughed or just simply looking for extra money all pitched in to help create a booming business of distillery-made hand sanitizers. This was a major plus for the distillery owners, but it also benefited the working class, who felt hopeless in a time of distress. 

Looking back on the craziest year America has faced in over a century, it is very easy to look past the good parts. It’s easy to cling onto the loss and the turmoil, because it is what we are reminded of every day. But creativity was the best part of 2020, because it was a necessity for us humans in a fast-paced world to adjust to our new normal, whatever it may be. Thanks to the creativity rooted in generosity from these alcohol distilleries, more people were able to fight off the COVID-19 virus, and potentially save lives while doing so.

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