Local distillery bottling vodka at optimal percentage to kill bacteria, viruses

Just Vodka is going on sale Thursday
Yahara bay distillers interior of store
Photo by Mack Krumme

Yahara Bay Distillers is working to bottle “Just Vodka,” a 140 proof, 70% alcohol by volume vodka that is designed to help kill bacteria and viruses amid global sanitizer shortage.

According to a release, some people have been asking if distilleries can make hand sanitizer to sell it to people as alcohol is one of the main ingredients. Nels Forde, the general manager, says distilleries wouldn’t have an approved formula and label to make hand sanitizer. It could take weeks or months to receive approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

There are several national organizations working with TTB to make changes that would allow distilleries to blend and sell hand sanitizer, but that might take too long.

Yahara Bay Distillers is not selling Just Vodka as a hand sanitizer because it lacks aloe or another moisturizing component. At 70%, Just Vodka is in the range of alcohol by volume that could kill viruses. It will be sold as a vodka with sanitizing properties.

“We know there’s a need and we have the ability to provide a solution,” says Forde. “I feel a sense of duty to our community to get to work providing that solution. I encourage using a little Just Vodka to remedy the ‘social distancing blues’ with a simple cocktail, too.”

Just Vodka will be available for purchase starting Thursday. The first 75 customers will get a free commercial grade spray bottle or a roll of toilet paper with purchase.

Just Vodka will be available to distributor Frank Liquor, which will make it available to retailers in southern Wisconsin.