Prairie Wolf Distillery, located at 124 E Oklahoma Ave., can now add another bottle to their already impressive line-up after they converted their facilities to start making hand sanitizer for Oklahomans across the state. Last week, the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced it would waive provisions and make exemptions for distilleries to legally produce hand sanitizer, and the owners of Prairie Wolf Distillery heard the call to action.
Co-owner Jonathon Stranger said after they got the green light, their master-distiller Erik Tekell, a former biochemist, said they could easily convert their facilities to start producing hand sanitizer.
“The idea started a couple weeks ago just as we noticed the shortcoming,” Stranger said. “Erik said we can make this happen and we decided to make a couple thousand little hand bottles to give out to people, not knowing what was going to happen.”
Prairie Wolf has now changed their whole operations into producing sanitizer and are doing their best to try and keep up with the demand. Stranger said in the last two days alone, they’ve made about 6,000 gallons. As far as distribution, the distillery is filling up their contacts around the state daily to make sure it gets to the fire departments, police stations and first responders of all kinds.
The hand sanitizer is for sale to the public at the distillery every day from 1 to 3 p.m. but due to the supply chain shortage, the bottle size can vary, which is why Stranger said they’ve also set up a large filling station outside of the distillery, so if people have bottles—they can just come and fill them up.
“The big thing is that if anybody has the ability to get bottles, that’s kind of our only shortfall right now,” Stranger said. “We have plenty of half-gallon bottles but if people are just trying to buy little 4 or 8-ounce bottles, I’d recommend just bringing it up [to the filling station].”
Prairie Wolf has set up a price structure at $4.00 for an 8-ounce, $6.00 for a 16-ounce and $20.00 for the half-gallon. Stranger said they’re currently out of 8- and 16-ounce bottles, which they’re waiting to arrive, and should be here in the next day or two. The sanitizer should also be on the shelves of multiple grocery stores at a discounted price.
“One thing I’m dealing with right now is the supply chain shortage, which is worldwide, for different bottles. Today we have half-gallon bottles, tomorrow we’ll have 16-ounce bottles and then one day we’ll have 8-ounce bottles. We’re currently out of 8 and 16-ounce bottles and we’re waiting for those to arrive, which we should have in the next day or two.”
Stranger said the biggest thing Prairie Wolf Distillery is trying to do right now is reassure people, who are understandably experiencing a range of emotions, that they’ve got their backs and will not let fellow Oklahomans go without during COVID-19.
“I think one thing people are concerned about is, ‘Will I be OK? Do I have enough?’ and that’s what we’re really trying to negate here by doing this, at least within Oklahoma, is let people know that there is an option and we are creating a product. To try and calm the biggest kind of sickness that’s really going around right now, which is fear. And letting people know that we’ve got you and you’re gonna be good. Make sure you’re social distancing and take care of yourself.”
With plans to ramp things up with the distillery, Prairie Wolf has created about 12 jobs and Stranger said it’s only going to continue to grow as they lock down their supply chain.
“We’re just going to keep on cranking as long as we can.”
If anyone has access to plastic bottles or for more information, please email info@prairiewolfspirits. com. Stranger said that is the best way to get a hold of them as of right now and allows them to have a system of going through everything as appropriately and efficiently as possible.