Bacardi Lends a Hand (Sanitizer)

After a Call from Gov. DeSantis, Bacardi Shifts Gear

We all know by now that alcohol is the key ingredient in hand sanitizer. So, with supplies running low, why not turn to those who make lots of alcohol? That question crossed the mind of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who called on Coral Gables-based Bacardi USA to see what they could do. 

“How do you produce hand sanitizer when the governor asks you to do so overnight?” recalls Pete Carr, Bacardi’s regional president for North America. You do it by converting your plant production overnight – as long as it’s approved. “We told him there might be a problem with the FDA,” says Carr. “He literally picked up the phone and called the head of the FDA and then called me back the next day.”

Within 72 hours, Bacardi had FDA clearance to begin producing 400,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, using their plants in Puerto Rico, Jacksonville and Kentucky. They also started production in France, Scotland, Italy and England, where they own the brands, respectively, of Grey Goose, Dewer’s, Martini, and Bombay.

“We have 1,000 cases ending up in the Coral Gables office, to give to people who need it here,” says Carr, who adds that Bacardi is making no money on the deal. Corporately, Bacardi has also donated $4 million to the #raiseyourspirits program and the Tip Your Bartender series on Instagram.