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Wicked Dolphin to distribute free hand sanitizer

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

While hand sanitizer is disappearing from shelves as fast as it’s being stocked, Southwest Florida residents can pick up some virus-killing solution free of charge thanks to local businesses teaming up.

This Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., the public can head to Wicked Dolphin Distillery in Cape Coral can pick up small bottles of hand sanitizer at no cost, thanks to the award-winning craft distillery, Fort Myers Brewing and Florida Crystals.

Each car will be limited to four bottles, not four per person. Volunteers will be handing out the bottles under tents at the location. It is not a drive-thru operation.

While Wicked Dolphin and Fort Myers Brewing Company have been working together for a few weeks to double their creation of hand sanitizer and donating it to local medical facilities, first responders and at their distillery, sugar giant Florida Crystals recently got involved and donated a generous 42,500-pounds of sugar, which is used in the wash to create the sanitizer.

“We wanted to do something big for our community, so we reached out to Florida Crystals, whose sugar we use in our award-winning rum, to see if they would be interested in donating sugar for an entirely different recipe. They agreed without hesitation,” said Wicked Dolphin President JoAnn Elardo. “Making the volumes of sanitizer we are creating is a lot of work and time, and our distillery is not a huge manufacturing plant, so we also reached out to a great source: the beer community. Fort Myers Brewery jumped in and is helping us by making the ‘wash’ at their brewery. We then transport it back to the distillery for distillation, mixing and bottling into the sanitizer. This is truly a huge effort, and it makes our whole team so proud to be a part of it.”

Elardo said Wicked Dolphin will be giving away thousands of small bottles of sanitizer and surface disinfectant.

They follow the World Health Organization’s protocol from production and use a high-proof alcohol to ensure it is over the 80 percent threshold to eliminate viruses.

“It’s a virus killer,” Elardo said.

Elardo used some of her resources to reach out to Florida Crystal to see if they would be willing to pitch in to supply Wicked Dolphin and Fort Myers Brewing Co. with additional materials.

Once on board, Florida Crystals carried out a production run at its refinery in Palm Beach County to meet the volume and specification of dark brown sugar required by the distillery. The following day, they transported 42,500 pounds of sugar to Wicked Dolphin to benefit COVID-19 emergency relief efforts.

Water, sugar, yeast and some nutrients are mixed together and gives a base for distillation. Once it ferments, and starts gaining alcohol, they separate the water from the alcohol to create the alcohol base for the sanitizer.

“This pandemic has affected us all, and we want to do our part to help protect members of our community, especially the brave men and women of our first responders and the medical professionals whose efforts we count on each day to pull us through this crisis,” said Executive Vice President of Florida Crystals, Pepe Fanjul Jr., in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Wicked Dolphin in this critical relief effort, and we thank them for their leadership role in supporting the community.”

During these unforeseen times, Elardo said coming together as a community and supporting one another is, “what you need to do.”

“We depend on the community, so we love to give back,” she said.

The event runs until around 4-5 p.m. Saturday evening.

Wicked Dolphin is at 131 SW 3rd Place in Cape Coral.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj