On April 9, Rock Town Distillery, posted on its Facebook page that the company had received a letter from President of the United States Donald Trump recognizing the facility for their efforts to assist in the battle against coronavirus by producing handmade 70 percent alcohol hand sanitizer.
“It is amazing to be recognized by our President for doing our part during these unprecedented times,” the post read.
Rock Town Distillery owner Phil Brandon’s brother works for the Associated Press and knows special assistant to POTUS, White House Deputy Press Secretary and Arkansas native, Judd Deere.
“I sent my brother a couple of bottles of our hand sanitizer and he gave one to Judd and Judd gave one to POTUS,” Brandon said. “That’s how [Trump] got a hold of it and sent me a letter.”
Brandon said he was amazed to have received the letter and didn’t expect it.
“An envelope in the mailbox that says the White House on it is kinda crazy,” Brandon laughed. “Then, to see that it’s a letter from the President was pretty cool.”
The distillery started making hand sanitizer in mid-March, producing large batches and inviting people to come to fill up bottles for free. Now, it has turned into a full-on operation, where they are not selling the 375 ml (12.7oz) bottles of sanitizer, which are $8 plus tax, but also donating several gallons to hospitals and other essential businesses around the state.
“We’re doing what we can to donate, but I’ve got people normally would’ve been laid off that are getting to work and getting paid because I’m able to shift my business to make hand sanitizer,” Brandon said.
The distillery also received national recognition at a press briefing on March 21, where President Donald Trump mentioned Arkansas when discussing Pernod Ricard.
“An example of the Pernod Ricard, which is — this is really an example where we’re repurposing alcohol. They went out and repurposed their alcohol production capabilities in Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas, and West Virginia to make hand sanitizer. That’s a big difference. And they’ve been unbelievable.”
The Facebook post ends by saying “Thank you to all of you out there who are doing your part by staying home, social distancing, and helping to flatten the curve. Together, yet alone, as a community, we can get through this. Thank you Little Rock. #501Together#AloneTogether.”