In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and severe shortages of commercial hand sanitizer, the St. Augustine Distillery is using alcohol from its distillery to make their own branded hand sanitizer. The sanitizer includes a percentage of proof ethanol, used to produce the distillery’s local spirits, which is also the active ingredient in commercial hand sanitizer.

“When stores shelves were empty, we researched what went into making hand sanitizers and realized we could help. By taking our alcohol and making a hand sanitizer, we could do our part to try and slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease,” said CEO and co-founder Philip McDaniel.

On Tuesday afternoon, St. Augustine Distillery co-founders Philip McDaniel and Mike Diaz delivered the first 200 bottles to the St. Augustine Police Department. Moving forward, the St. Augustine Distillery plans to make their hand sanitizer available at their gift shop, located at 112 Riberia St. Although supplies will be limited, one bottle person will be available to guests at no charge. The distillery is asking guests to help a local, worthy cause.

“We have partnered with the American Legion 194 in West Augustine,” McDaniel said. “They are building a new Kids Safe Zone playground. We wanted to offer our friends and customers a chance to help us ‘pay it forward’ by giving, in whatever amount they can afford, to help the veterans at Post 194 build a new playground. Given all that’s going on today, we thought it might make people feel a little better to help participate in something positive for the community.”

Located on Pearl Street, the American Legion Post 194 provides after-school care for at-risk children in the county. This new facility will feature safe, outdoor activities to benefit the community including a wiffleball field, Connect Four, Battleship and classic playground equipment. The project completion cost is estimated to be $100,000. For more information on the playground, contact

CFO and co-founder Mike Diaz said it’s all “proof positive” that, with the will to help, even a crisis can be distilled to product positive outcomes. “Working together, we will get through the COVID-19 crisis… and perhaps get to watch kids laugh and play at this new playground.”

The St. Augustine Distillery is a locally founded and community-owned craft distillery located at 112 Riberia St., St. Augustine, FL. They can be contacted by phone at (904) 825-4962 or by email at info@staugustinedistillery.com.