Winery Pumps Out Hand Sanitizer to Reduce Shortage

Aug 7, 2020 | Member Spotlight


The BuzzBallz crew bottles sanitizer to help
with the hospital shortage.

Hospitals experiencing a mass hand sanitizer shortage are now restocking with batches made and donated by the only woman-owned combination winery/distillery in the U.S., BuzzBallz/Southern Champion.

Merrilee Kick, BuzzBallz CEO and NAWBO-Dallas/ Ft. Worth member, shifted operations from making cocktails and wine to pumping out hand sanitizer when three local hospitals were in dire need of it.

The shortage prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an emergency allowance for distillery owners to produce hand sanitizer. Federal requirements, such as requiring a pharmacist on staff, were lifted for distilleries that answered the call.

Merrilee, who was a 2019 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of the Year Finalist, rallied her team and BuzzBallz volunteered to manually bottle 100 gallons of hand sanitizer.

“Our entire team pivoted to meet this need,” says Merrilee. “The World Health Organization listed a formula that we were required to use. So, our heads of procurement, marketing, sales and finance went out into the market to find things like 100 percent pure glycerin for our chemist to add to the batch.”

After the first day of production, 100 gallons of hand sanitizer were delivered to local hospitals and pathology labs. 

Still, hospitals aren’t the only facilities in need of sanitizer. BuzzBallz is cranking out an additional 18,000 gallons of sanitizer to donate to over 85 entities that serve the military, hospitals, veterans, senior centers, police, fire, post offices, airlines, grocery stores and BuzzBallz’s distributors who are stocking the shelves. 

Merrilee plans to continue fulfilling this need as long as necessary. “These organizations need us, and we need them,” she says. “It may cost us money to do this, but it costs humanity more not to do it.”

How to Kill Coronavirus with Hand Sanitizer

A small dollop and quickly rubbing your hands just won’t do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using enough sanitizer to spread over both hands. Continue distributing over all surfaces, between fingers and the back of your hands, until dry.

Skip to content