South Texas Distillery turns vodka into hand sanitizer

Posted at 10:59 PM, Mar 24, 2020

Consumer demand for hand sanitizer outpaced its supply weeks ago. But, a local distillery is making it easier to get your hands on that coveted item.

Normally South Texas Distillery would be making Wild Rag Vodka, but amid the growing demand for sanitizing items the company is stirring up something different.

“One of the reasons it's easy for us to create a sanitizer is because we can create an alcohol that’s 95 percent alcohol and 5 percent water," said Royel Aguilar, master distiller.

On any given day Aguilar is busy making vodka.

But, since the impact of the Coronavirus has spread, he’s halted his liquor production and instead is making hand sanitizer.

“We’re gonna convert sugars into alcohol, and then we’’ll extract the alcohol through a still," said Aguilar. "Then by heat we separate alcohol from water and with the column we’re able to make a really high proof alcohol which is what you have to do for vodka and for sanitizer."

"It's the same stuff."

The shortage at grocery stores for household items like sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and soap has encouraged Aguilar to shift his production.

Just to start, he’s stirring up approximately 200 to 300 gallons of hand sanitizer and bottling it in 8 ounce bottles.

Once its ready to go, Aguilar says he wants to disperse it to folks in the community who are in great need to it.

“Especially hospitals, nursing homes, and truck drivers," said Aguilar. "They don’t have a place to wash their hands and that kind of stuff so for them its very important to have a hand sanitizer."

KZTV asked how much it was costing the South Texas Distillery to make the sanitizer.

“I have no clue and that doesn’t matter," responded Aguilar. "We’re gonna help whoever we can help.”

The South Texas Distillery says they’re still looking for people or organizations that may need sanitizer.
If you know anyone who would benefit you can contact Brenda Matute at