Written by Barbara Toombs
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortages that ensued, an online rumor spread like wildfire, stating that you could use vodka – specifically Tito’s Handmade Vodka – to protect against the coronavirus.
The Austin, Texas-based company was quick to shut that rumor down, but provided hope at the same time: “While we advise that you cannot use our standard vodka product as a hand sanitizer, our team at the distillery has been working hard to get all of the pieces in place to begin production on a hand sanitizer that adheres to industry and governmental guidance,” Tito’s said in a statement.
In mid-March, they set about testing their formula, procuring necessary components of supplies and packaging, and preparing for production as they waited for additional required ingredients to be delivered to the distillery.
The company’s original goal was to make an initial 24 tons of hand sanitizer for free distribution to first responders, hospitals, managed care facilities and others in critical need.
By the end of May, Tito’s had gone well beyond their initial objective and astonishingly produced, packaged and donated over 325 total tons of hand sanitizer to those in need across the United States and expanded their donations to include food banks, construction crews, the U.S. Postal Service and more.
Tito’s dedication to helping out in a time of crisis didn’t stop there. They made a $2 million donation commitment to organizations providing assistance to those in the service industry affected by the current pandemic, including Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), USBG Foundation, Southern Smoke, World Central Kitchen and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
The company then started thinking about other ways they could offer support and identified a number of important research initiatives in their home state of Texas that could help not only their community, but also, hopefully, the world. This led to Tito’s donating a grant of $1 million to the Baylor College of Medicine for research on a potential vaccine for COVID-19, funding $400,000 for the development and production of 500 ventilators for immediate use in Central Texas, and contributing a 2-year grant of $2.5 million to The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.
“We’ll continue to offer our support, raise glasses from afar, and send love and goodness wherever and whenever we can. In the meantime, we’re proud to help facilitate some of the inspiring and necessary work folks are doing to make such an impactful difference in the lives of so many,” the company stated.
Barrett-Jackson is proud to have Tito’s Handmade Vodka on our team as a valued partner and applaud their commitment to community and country as we all navigate this difficult time.