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COVID-19: LeClaire Bar Mixes Up New Concoction

A popular bar in LeClaire is now in the disinfectant business.

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

The Mississippi River Distilling Company is one of many retailers shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

But last week, it started making hand sanitizer.

Michelle O'Neill reports when co-owners Ryan Burchett and his brother Garrett closed their Cody Road Cocktail House, they began hosting Virtual Happy Hours on Facebook.

Credit http://bit.ly/2cjGGLO / MRDC Yelp listing - http://bit.ly/2cpEpk5
MRDC Yelp listing - http://bit.ly/2cpEpk5
Garrett (L) & Ryan (R) Burchett (file)

People were asking the co-owners if they were going to start making hand sanitizer, and Burchett told them, "No! It's not possible" because of a high tax.

But then The US Food and Drug Administration gave distillers permission to make a specific recipe, waived the taxes, and Burchett says they've been in hand sanitizer mode ever since. 

With enough River Pilot Vodka, River Rose Gin, and other spirits in its inventory, four Mississippi River Distilling Company workers including the Burchetts are busy making a liquid sanitizer. It's made of 80% alcohol, glycerin, & peroxide which will eventually be dispensed in spray bottles.

Credit submitted / Mississippi River Distilling Company
Mississippi River Distilling Company

Burchett says various industries need sanitizer, too. For example, the Union Pacific Railroad called the company and placed an order. The distillery is fulfilling orders from health care facilities and government entities first.

Burchett and his team are filling one-gallon jugs by hand as fast as they can. That's about 200 bottles per hour or 1,500-2,000 per day.

He says people call and want to help by volunteering or buying a bottle for the Davenport Police Department.

And with everyone interested in doing something to help respond to the pandemic, he says it feels good to play a part in helping solve a problem.

Other customers may have to wait to pay $50 for a one-gallon bottle. A 55-gallon drum is only $1,925. They should fill out an order form on the website and then wait. More information about the sanitizer is HERE, at the Mississippi River Distilling Company's website.

By the way, the company's regular line of products is still available by ordering on the phone or online either for pickup at the store in LeClaire or for delivery in Scott and Clinton counties.

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.
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