We celebrate Hard Chaws, individuals who demonstrate grit, determination and courage in the face of adversity. Today we can highlight just about everybody working in a hospital. These are places to which people with the worst cases of coronavirus get sent, and where traces of the virus are most commonplace. The people who walk through those doors every day and do their job are hard chaws — all of them.
The list, of course, goes on and on. If we searched the ranks of grocery store clerks, truck drivers and restaurant workers, for example, we would find plenty of hard chaws. While many of the rest of us can stay inside and protect ourselves from the virus, they don’t have that option.
As a spirits company, we decided to look amongst our own for examples of hard chaw strong spirits. It didn’t take long.
Many of our brethren in the craft spirits world are enduring tough times. If they rely upon tasting rooms, which normally operate more as bars, then their business is cratering. The only people buying their hooch right now are people in liquor stores, because most restaurants and bars in the country today are shut down, and not placing orders for cases of rye or vodka.
Some of them face financial ruin. Yet they have offered their stills, materials and savvy to make something in short supply today, something that is saving lives and helping to slow down the spread of coronavirus: hand sanitizer.
In Colorado, which is the home of Hard Chaw Strong Irish Cream, Ballmer Peak Distillery in Lakewood started making sanitizer. Mythology Distillery and Ironton Distillery in Denver. Lee Spirits in Colorado Springs. In Boulder, J&L Distilling. Spirit Hound Distillery in tiny Lyons, too. We’re sure there are plenty more.
Craig Englehorn, the co-founder and head distiller at Spirit Hound, told us his distillery’s lively tasting room was a vital part of the 12-year-old operation. Its indefinite closure places immense strain on the balance sheets. Yet when the town mayor and fire chief said they needed hand sanitizer, Craig and Spirit Hound didn’t hesitate.
“We are making 48-gallon batches,” he told Hard Chaw. “We are sending bottles of it to first responders — hospitals, nurses, ambulance workers and so on. A nurse told us that she has chemo patients on lock-down in their houses, and she needs hand sanitizer to make sure her visits are safe for the patients. And she couldn’t get hand sanitizer. We felt that since we knew how to make it, we should make it. Anybody can stop by and grab a bottle.”
Well done, Craig! You and other craft distillers around the country, most of whom are entrepreneurs like us, are refusing to stand down as the grip of the virus tightens. You are standing up.
Here’s to an Authentic Hard Chaw.