By Loren Lindler
Beer cans to medical carts
An Instagram post from Friday, March 27, shared, “when the Governor calls and asks if Beercan Boards can quickly prototype and produce small medical carts for the Corona Crisis.. you pitch in and make it happen!”
The team was eager to do just that and help out. Beercan Boards, based out of Douglas, Georgia, typically manufactures longboards and classic car parts made out of 100% recycled aluminum and 100% recycled plastic accessories.
Governor Brian Kemp, along with a Georgia manufacturing association, contacted Beercan Boards about the emerging needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. They sat back for a little while and brainstormed how they could contribute to the efforts.
The team quickly prototyped a small medical cart to help in the effort, creating greatly needed medical supplies and essentials, due to the shortage caused by COVID-19.
“Looking at the situations in other countries, we anticipate that the U.S. will be converting facilities into temporary hospitals, and they will need medical carts to stay stocked on supplies,” said a representative from Beercan Boards. “If needed, we will ramp up production and ship to affected areas, which could create a few new jobs in a time when our local economy has been decimated by this disaster.”
Spreading kindness, not germs
A master distiller and his son have added new value to their distillery and hope to their community. North Georgia’s Dalton Distillery specializes in moonshine, some aged spirits, and vodka, but recently, they have added hand sanitizer to their product list.
At first, Chuck and Raymond Butler, the father and son duo behind the distillery, decided to make a small batch of alcohol-based sanitizer to distribute to local government offices. Knowing there was a shortage, they wanted to offer a few bottles as a gift. One gift turned into many requests from others, so they made 55 gallons and offered it to the community. As a result, over 45 gallons of hand sanitizer were dispersed.
The requests kept rolling in, and they kept making the hand sanitizer. One Monday morning, they gave out what they had and ran out by 10 a.m.
The transition from the usual moonshine and vodka was not easy. Dalton Distillery transforms several different types of alcohol into brandy and whiskey, but hand sanitizer was in a whole new ballpark for them.
“When we make vodka, we distill it six times then filter and bring the proof down with water,” explained Chuck Butler, founder of the Dalton Distillery. “We had over 1,200 gallons of alcohol on hand and went through that in a few days.” This is because the alcohol content in hand sanitizer is so much higher than that of its drinkable counterparts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol aids in avoiding spreading germs to others.
Half of the hand sanitizer Dalton Distillery has made will be donated to Whitfield County Recreation Department so they can help distribute the supply. For those in the area, hand sanitizer can be picked up at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at Whitfield County Recreation Department.
As the efforts continue, the Dalton Distillery team is working to help small community hospitals and offices that have requested supplies. The company has received many calls and requests, even some from several states away.
“Anytime small businesses work together to help the community it is a great thing. We have had several businesses help us out,” said Butler. “Dalton Machinery owner Larry Wood brought in a 400 gallon still temporarily for us to use during this COVID-19 threat. Tom Standley with Techmer PM volunteered several hours in labor working, building special parts that we could use to be more efficient. Bearden Industrial and Caylor Industrial helped deliver parts necessary to make this project work.”
These are just two of many examples of how, when the need arises, rural people step up and do whatever they can to help their hometowns and beyond. During unpredictable times, rural Georgians can count on small businesses and rural communities standing strong together.