This Bronx Distillery Is Making Hand Sanitizer to Help Essential Workers (and You Can Buy Your Own, Too)

While many of us are quarantine, businesses are suffering to stay afloat. Despite the uncertainty for many, some have stepped up to help those in need anyways. One Bronx distillery is setting an example and using their resources to create a product that can definitely help communities during this trying time.

Port Morris Distillery have begun to create and sell their own hand sanitizer. The Bronx-born spirit company has switched gears and began producing after receiving a high demand for it from their loyal consumers.

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port morris distillery hand sanitizer
Courtesy of Port Morris Distillery

"Without them [loyal consumers] putting the battery in our backs to make hand sanitizers, we wouldn’t have made it," said Kelsey Barbosa, social media director of PMD and daughter of co-owner Rafael Barbosa. "So, without them really pushing us saying things like: 'You can do it!' 'We want to see PMD stay open.' 'This is going to help you guys pay your rent.' 'This is going to help you guys move forward.' That’s what really inspired us to make it."

The Port Morris Distillery team began researching, developing and producing in less than two weeks. The sanitizer launched on April 18th and already has received an outpour of appreciation on social. The staff is comprised of five people and has everyone helping with every step of the process, from bottling and packing to shipping.

"You know there’s a demand. We know these people need to be protected," she expressed. "We know hand sanitizers are very limited and we saw people like Amazon selling them for so much and we were like 'No, we’re not going to make it expensive. We're going to make it affordable and we’re going to target our regulars, our community, The Bronx. We have the equipment to do it, so why not?"

port morris distillery hand sanitizer product
Courtesy of Port Morris Distillery

The distillery named the product "Pitorro Puro" with "puro" meaning "purity" in Spanish. According to the site, just like any other sanitizer, it helps combat the spread of bacteria and germs.

In order to create the sanitizer, the distillery follows the World Health Organization’s recipe, as well as the FDA’s guidelines. Soon, they’ll be sharing a Q&A video addressing any pressing questions that people may have about the process and ingredients that go into making the sanitizer.

Port Morris Distillery is currently selling 16-ounce and one-gallon bottles of the sanitizer individually, or in two- and four-packs. The prices range from $10 to $155 and can be preordered on its site. Since the launch, the company has had a huge surge in demand for the product (with the site even crashing twice).

"It’s definitely not a challenge making it. It’s not the same process as the Pittoro [moonshine]. Pitorro is actually way more intense when it comes to labor," Barbosa explained.

port morris distillery hand sanitizer shipping
Courtesy of Port Morris Distillery

Aside from selling it to the public, the Bronx-based company is also donating the sanitizers to medical facilities, hospitality businesses, NYPD, FDNY and other essential jobs. You can also donate straight on their website to help them continue to produce and send to essential workers. (And so far, they’ve received $335 in donations.)

"The reactions have been fantastic. People are happy with their products," she said. "People are just content that they have access to hand sanitizers. That’s a good feeling for us and we’re happy to do it for them."

While their spirits and vodka are only being shipped in New York, the hand sanitizer can be shipped to all 50 states and Puerto Rico (or could be picked up at the distillery in Mott Haven with a designated time and date). The product can also be delivered straight to your front door (if ordered online).

Barbosa also gave us the scoop that they will start implementing a refill program, where people can get refills in their purchased bottles for a discounted price.

They have become the embodiment of "New York Strong." Keep up the good work, PMD!

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Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...