The first batch of 400 two-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer were passed out in the community last week, one per customer and two per household.

In the wake of COVID-19 shortages, the distillers at Denny Bar Company in Etna have been making different type of alcohol: hand sanitizer.

“We’re honored to join distilleries around the country in producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer to help meet demand in our community,” Denny Bar said in a Facebook past last week.

Denny Bar is waiting for a shipment of bulk materials to begin making hand sanitizer for local and regional hospitals, medical professionals, first responders, law enforcement and shipping carriers, said marketing manager Lance Banks.

“It was a great opportunity, since we have the facility and capabilities to do it,” Banks said. “We have stopped production of whiskey and other distilled spirits to produce the high proof ethanol.”

One and five gallon quantities of sanitizer could be available by the end of March.

As of now, Denny Bar Co. plans to continue this process “as long as the need is still there.”

The first batch of 400 two-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer were passed out in the community last week, one per customer and two per household. They are also adding a bottle to each to-go order. As of Monday, there were only a handful of bottles left.

Booze to go

In addition to their normal menu and family-style specials, Denny Bar Company is now able to offer cocktails to go, bottle delivery and curbside bottle service thanks to the state’s relaxed measures in hopes of creating new ways for establishments to serve customers and keep their businesses afloat.

John Carr, the spokesman for Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said the department wanted to relax regulations to support the alcoholic beverage industry at a time when many businesses are struggling. They’ve heard from licensees who are concerned about how to stay in business if they don’t serve food and are deemed nonessential.

“We listened to their concerns and said ‘Let’s work on some regulatory relief where we can relax some the regulations to serve customers,’” he said.

Bars that typically sell drinks to consume on the premises will be allowed to sell products that are in pre-packaged containers to-go – such as bottles of beer or wine, according to the notice. But patrons can’t stay at the bar under the current shelter-in-place order; the drinks can only be picked up.

Additionally, establishments that already sell alcohol can deliver their products, such as a wine bar that sells bottles.

In addition to selling pre-packaged containers, restaurants that have a license to sell alcohol can also sell or deliver single servings of beer, wine or pre-made cocktails if they’re packaged with a secure lid, according to the notice. That means a cup without sipping holes or straws. 

Additionally, to-go orders of alcohol also have to be kept in the trunk of a car when being transported, the ABC said.

During this time of rapidly changing rules and guidance, people may want to call or check the social media feeds of restaurants to determine what they can order. While many restaurants are offering take-out or delivery some have shut down altogether, and different types of licensees will have varying rules to follow.

Kevin Flynn, who opened Pipeline Craft Taps and Kitchen just months ago in Mount Shasta, said he is trying to “limit the carnage” to his budding business’ bottom line.

He and his staff scrambled to implement a quick and easy online ordering platform to minimize contact between his employees and customers and practice social distancing. And thanks to the ABC’s relaxed restrictions, Flynn is now offering customers the option to bring in a growler get a beer on tap to go.

Sparky’s Landing, which opened a few months before Pipeline and right next door on Mt. Shasta Boulevard, is also working on a delivery service, aiming to begin this week.

“We will be limiting our menu to pizza, pastas and burgers,” and, now, beer and wine.

“We can now offer cocktails for to go ... Yep, you read that correctly,” Sparky’s said on its Facebook page. “Do you have a growler? A sealed capped container? (like a Yeti)? We will fill that with draft beer too!”

To pick up a bottle at Denny Bar Company or to check on hand sanitizer stock updates, call (530) 467-5115. The distillery is located at 511 Main Street, Etna.

Melissa Daniels from the Palm Springs Desert Sun contributed to this story.

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