When a shortage of hand sanitizer products due to COVID-19 was announced, four Chaffee County companies took initiative to meet the demand.

Pure Greens, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, Pursell Manufacturing and Elevation Beer Co. have collaborated on producing hand sanitizer bottles for Chaffee County residents.

Despite coming from entirely different industries – distilling, cannabis, brewing and Christmas tree supplies – they are working together to address the shortage with whatever supplies they have on hand.

They completed their first batch of 1,500 bottles Tuesday and are now distributing their products to first responders and employees of essential businesses.

The next batch is complete and open to the public in limited quantities at local retailers such as Nature’s Medicine, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery and Elevation Beer Co. More local outlets will be added soon.

The next round will likely be available by Friday. The 8-ounce bottles will be sold for $2 each with all net proceeds donated to Chaffee County Community Foundation.

Sterling Stoudenmire, Pure Greens president and CEO, initiated the idea around the first week of March. He took the concept to P.T. Wood, Salida mayor and Wood’s High Mountain Distillery co-founder; Christian Koch, Elevation Beer Co. brewing operations founder; and Alan Pursell, owner of Pursell Manufacturing. Every company involved contributed a critical ingredient or portion of the production process to make the sanitizer available as quickly as possible.

The biggest challenge came in sourcing the raw ingredients required by the Food and Drug Administration for producing hand sanitizer.

Pure Greens was able to use the large supply of isopropyl alcohol it had in inventory, while Elevation Beer Co. contributed hydrogen peroxide usually reserved for its cleaning protocols.

Wood’s High Mountain Distillery uses grain spirits in production of its vodka, meaning it is able to meet the 95 percent alcohol by volume required to meet FDA guidelines.

“We can’t do anything about the toilet paper shortage, but distillers are uniquely able to address the shortage of hand sanitizer,” Wood said in a press release.

Pursell Manufacturing was able to supply the necessary glycerin because a key ingredient of tree preservative is glycerin. In addition, the company had thousands of 8-ounce bottles immediately available as well as a fully automated bottling line.

After organizing the logistics, it was decided that Pure Greens would print and apply labels before returning bottles to Pursell. Pursell then collected substances from Wood and Koch and filled the bottles.

“The product came together incredibly quickly and showcases the power of small businesses pooling resources to creatively solve a problem,” Stoudenmire said.

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