When the first wave of COVID-19 hit Tampa Bay, locals scrambled to hunker down with supplies. Toilet paper, canned foods and even hand sanitizer quickly flew off the shelves. Knowing they couldn’t exactly handle the paper needs, 3 Daughters Brewing founders Mike and Leigh Harting had an idea.
The husband-and-wife duo decided they could utilize the St. Petersburg-based brewery’s lab – which is usually dedicated to working with universities amongst other testing – to create housemade hand sanitizer.
“We had everything in-house to make hand sanitizer. We thought, ‘You know what, we can help,’” Leigh told the Gabber.
The team, alongside their Quality Assurance Manager, began mixing ingredients in five-gallon buckets and hand pouring in 2,000 containers.
“We announced on a Thursday afternoon on Facebook that the following day we were going to give out free bottles of hand sanitizer. By one in the morning Mike and I looked at each other – it had 100K+ hits,” Leigh said.
Being that the regulation of social distancing was new, and realizing the overwhelming reaction from the community, the Hartings were worried the event wouldn’t adhere to regulations. Instead, 3D reached out to local sheriffs departments and first responders for free bottle pickups.
“It looked like our building was on fire or being robbed,” Leigh said with a laugh.
After that day, and realizing there was a huge demand for the product, the couple reached out to some local community members who donated funds, while 3D donated money as well as the use of its lab, to help keep the project going.
“With the help of those donations, we could continue donating to hospitals, shelters, assisted living facilities, you name it,” said Leigh.
One of those beneficiaries was the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation. When 3 Daughters Brewing announced they would be producing hand sanitizer in the early days of COVID-19, the foundation placed a call for help – and help came in bulk. The foundation purchased 120 squeeze bottles that were quickly filled with 3D’s 75% isopropyl alcohol housemade sanitizer, according to the foundation’s website.
“The bottles were quickly filled and the sanitizer is being distributed while it lasts,” Supervisor Rachel Cataldo noted.
At one point, Leigh explains, the brewery made enough sanitizer to donate to John Hopkins Hospital, but didn’t have any more vessels.
“So John Hopkins, they sent us 2,000 urine specimen cups. We put it in everything from squirt bottles to ketchup dispensers and any bottles we could find.”
The brewery team’s efforts were spotlighted nationally, with an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan.
In the weeks that followed, the brewery held a drive-through for those in need of free sanitizers, ensuring a safe pickup and limited contact.
“We donated over 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, and well over 10,000 containers.”
But after being a gap supplier for a handful of months, 3D began giving free small containers of sanitizer with the purchase of a six-pack of beer.
“One of our core tenants is consistently asking ourselves, ‘How do we give back to the community?’” Leigh said. “We’re proud to [fill a need within] the community [that] was having trouble finding hand sanitizer in this unprecedented time.”
Understanding that these incredible community donations are no longer sustainable now five months into the coronavirus pandemic, 3 Daughters offers up the housemade hand sanitizer for purchase. You can also grab the sanitizer online, through the brewery’s website, 3dbrewing.com, for your local teachers and those in need.