Alcohol produced at the Ringneck Energy ethanol plant in Onida is a component of the Badlands Distillery’s hand sanitizer.

Like many distilleries, Badlands Distillery of Kadoka switched gears from making bourbon to producing hand sanitizer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic shortage. Soon, demand for the sanitizer was outstripping their capacity to create the distilled spirits needed for the sanitizer, so the company turned to Ringneck Energy in Onida for the 95% alcohol needed to make the 80% mix which meets the guidelines of the FDA and World Health Organization.

“After hearing on the national news about the shortages caused by the virus, we asked local businesses about their supply of hand sanitizer, and were surprised to hear they too were having trouble getting the product,” said Badlands Distillery’s Sandra Eschenbacher. “I couldn’t imagine hospitals and nursing homes and other front line people rationing sanitizer or having no supply at all.”

Eschenbacher says that Badlands Distillery received emails from the federal agency that governs distilleries encouraging distilleries to help out. “We felt we had the facility and capability and decided to go full steam ahead knowing that we would have to iron out the snags we were sure to hit along the way.”

Badlands Distillery soon learned of the urgent statewide need for the hand sanitizer, and began putting its quantity of 1.75 ml bottles to work bottling sanitizer instead of liquor. “Quickly we realized we would need much more product to fulfill the orders,” said Eschhenbacher. “Ringneck Energy stepped in to help to meet the demands of manufacturing sanitizer.”