Houston distillery creates bottles of hand sanitizer

As the demand for germ-killing and products continue to skyrocket across the globe, a Houston distillery has converted its alcohol operations to help.

Gulf Coast Distillers will begin producing and distributing up to 50,000 bottles of hand sanitizer a day, starting Friday. 

Stationed on Houston's east end, Gulf Coast Distillers manufactures every alcohol from grain to the bottle. 

Alcohol is the key ingredient proven to safeguard against viruses like COVID-19. 

President Carlos De Aldecoa and his family own the distillery, which dubs itself the largest in Texas. 

"We know the issue with toilet paper but we can't make it here, so we said, we can do the liquid piece," Carlos said. 

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​"We saw the need for the sanitizer and what it takes to beat this coronavirus. We had the facility, we had the equipment, the knowledge and permits to operate alcohol, so we just jumped in," Carlos continued. ​

​In just two and a half weeks, Carlos said his staff has managed to expedite the entire process, from permitting to the production of C4U Sanitizer - affectionately named after Carlos's 5-year-old son, Carlos IV. 

"We've shifted 100 percent of our operations. We even shut down the distilling operations that have been running non-stop for the last three years. We shifted the whole team," Carlos said. 

Gulf Coast Distillers have been able to keep all its staff employed through the transition. ​

Carlos said there are now roughly 20 tanks dedicated to churning out hand sanitizer, to meet the market's demands. 

The facility's machines have the ability to clean, fill, cap and label roughly a hundred bottles of FDA-approved hand sanitizer in just one minute. ​

"We're looking at probably about 50,000 bottles a day that we'll be producing. We'll be going around the clock. We got different sizes, anything going from 23-24 ounces all the way to one gallon," Carlos said. 

Carlos is an alumnus of Strake Jesuit and the University of Houston. 

He said the first few shipments of C4U Hand Sanitizer will prioritize need-based donations to local first responders and hospitals, before distributing across the US. 

"The sanitizer formula we use is going to be a little bit more liquid than the thick formula people are used to seeing in a sanitizer. That's better in the sense that it has fewer chemicals and ingredients. Also, it's easier to pour into your refill bottle and you can also put it into a spray bottle," Carlos said.  ​

The first couple of batches of C4U Hand Sanitizer will be available in liquor-style bottles with a screw-on cap, due to limited availability of the typical, pump-style bottles. 

C4U is expected to hit shelves at most major retailers across Texas starting Friday.