Bothell distillery shifts production of spirits to hand sanitizer

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Wild Wood Spirits Co. owner and head distiller Erik Liedholm explains the process of making hand sanitizer to his daughters. Photo courtesy of Mari Colbourne


BOTHELL — The spread of COVID-19 continues to create shortages in common everyday products as frightened consumers gobble up everything in sight. Once such product that is now in high demand and is extremely difficult to come by in both the retail and commercial market is hand sanitizer.

But a local Bothell company has stepped in to try and fill the void. Wildwood Spirits has temporarily stopped producing its signature products; gin, vodka and bourbon and is now making the sanitizer to help alleviate the shortage.

Mari Colbourne, a spokesperson for Wildwood Spirts said owner and head distiller Erik Liedholm began providing complimentary bottles of his Rensa hand sanitizer last week to customers and anyone who made a donation to Big Table, a local organization serving restaurant and hospitality workers experiencing a crisis. The responses she said has, “been overwhelming — the distillery has given away hundreds of bottles.”

“Our distillery has the unique ability to produce this much-needed product and I am pleased to do it,” Liedholm said. “I see this as one time in my life that I can do something to help, and I hope it also provides people in our community with a sense of comfort and normalcy.”

When King County Metro and the Seattle Police Department, both of which were experiencing hand sanitizer supply chain issues got word of a new supplier of the product, they reached out to Liedholm who significantly ramped up production to meet the need. 

“The first bottles of ORCA Guard, the separately bottled and branded hand sanitizer for King County Metro, were delivered on Friday, March 20 and will be used by employees who provide essential transit services and do not have access to hand washing facilities throughout the day,” Colbourne said. “Bottles for the Seattle Police Department will follow shortly and production for both will continue indefinitely.”

Colbourne said the hand sanitizer is an all-natural product made with 60% pure ethanol infused with lavender from Liedholm’s backyard garden in Ballard and Seville orange from Wildwood Spirits Co. Kur gin fraction, as well as a combination of Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) approved hand cleaner ingredients.

“As Covid-19 concerns continued to escalate, we faced the real challenge of potentially running out of hand sanitizer for our front-line employees – the bus drivers, water taxi crews, rail and streetcar operators and employees who are maintaining a public transportation lifeline to essential jobs including hospitals,” said Metro’s Interim Managing Director of Safety & Security Rebecca Zelt. “By teaming up with Wildwood Spirits Co., we’re better able to protect the health of our employees and also the community by doing what we can to limit the spread of Covid-19.”

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Tagged under: COVID-19