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From Spirits to Hand Sanitizer

 J.J. Distilling Co. Hand Sanitizer, Rancho Cordova, California

16,000 gallons of hand sanitizer in two weeks

In the age of Covid-19 there has been a lot of pivoting. It's pivot or survive, or pivot because you will go crazy sitting on your hands not knowing how to move forward in this age of uncertainty. For J.J. Pfister Distilling it was neither of those reasons. They, very early in the crisis and shelter in place orders, saw a community need that they knew they could fulfill. They transformed the business of distilling vodka, gin and other spirts into making gallons of hand sanitizer.  In fact, by early April they had made 16,000 gallons of ethyl alcohol based hand sanitizer that meets the WHO's effectiveness standard.

They have been able to provide this difficult to come by product to first responders, including health care providers, police, fire departments and other essential businesses. They have also been able to help Sacramento's underserved community. “With our expanded production of hand sanitizer, we’re able to help meet the need in the Sacramento community as well as continue our efforts to donate hand sanitizer to local charities and organizations, including Loaves and Fishes, The Food Bank, Guardian Angels, and Students for Health Care,” said Gail Keck, the J.J. Pfister COO. “And we’ll continue to partner with first responders and charities to help them through this pandemic.”

Why hand sanitizer in a culinary box?

We were thrilled when J.J. Pfister agreed to be included in our June culinary box. Although our boxes are food focused, we felt it was such a great addition to the other locally made products in this month's box. We are huge fans of their distillery because they make quality organic spirits. And let's face it, we are all going to need a healthy supply of hand sanitizer going forward.  

J.J. Distilling Company Master Distillers Brian Keck, Chris Johnson and Mike Moore

The Masters

The team at J.J. Pfister have some hefty credentials and expertise in distilling.  Master Distiller Brian Keck has both the experience and education – two degrees in Chemistry, and a Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis as well as extensive training in sensory analysis – to make some of the finest tasting spirits available. Sensory analysis is something you may have experienced while wine tasting. You use all of your senses to experience the wine, such as looking at the color, checking the aroma and of course tasting. After you sip, the wine maker will often ask you what you taste. To beginners you may not know what you are tasting. But with training and experience you can begin to peel out the nuances of flavors that make what is in the glass distinct. A master like Brian can make changes to the process so that what you are tasting isn't harsh and medicinal but smooth and botanical. 

Brian is joined by Chris Johnson and Mike Moore. These two are also powerhouses of craft spirts. Chris also has a Master's Degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and has worked at two premier Napa Valley wineries building his skills in production and winemaking analysis. Mike, also a UC Davis graduate, with a Master's Degree in Mathematics Education rounds out the team with his analytic abilities. 

Quality Organic Spirits

This combination of education, experience and talent may explain how in just three years they have been able to develop 7 spirits including their Capital Gin that was awarded a Double Gold from Concours d'Spirits. Their Organic Vodka has also been rated 95 points by a rating panel. More reasons we love J.J. Pfister is that they are certified organic and they are committed to sourcing ingredients from the Sacramento Valley. 

The Mandy Cocktail, J.J. Distilling Capital Gin and Burly Beverages Mandarin Elderflower Shrub

Don't drink the hand sanitizer

We wish we could include the spirits in our boxes, but we can't. So don't drink the hand sanitizer! Do go visit their charming tasting room in Rancho Cordova – be sure to check their website before going to check their hours of operation. It is a beautiful space with a great big brick backed bar, and even a museum that features items from the namesake company J.J. Pfister Knitting Company. J.J. Pfister Distilling gets it name from Brian's great, great grandfather and there is quite an interesting family history that you can read more about here. You can also order on line and get their products shipped to you. And may we suggest, when you get your tasty bottle of gin or vodka try pairing it with one of Burly Beverages Cocktail Shrubs. An easy cocktail to make at home – simply our 2 ounces of spirit of choice and 1.5 ounces of our favorite shrub in a glass with ice and top with some really good sparkling soda. Enjoy!

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