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New York Distillery’s Fast Transition to Maker of Hand-Sanitizer is a True “Win-Win”

Posted by Richard Mayfield, USDA Rural Development State Director for New York in Coronavirus Rural
Apr 20, 2020
Clayton Distillery owner Mike Aubertine in front of his equipment
Clayton Distillery owner Mike Aubertine, swiftly moved his company to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Here he stands in front of his equipment that is making the hand sanitizer needed by rural first responders and medical professionals in Upstate New York. Photo courtesy of Clayton Distillery.

Spring is normally the quiet season at the Clayton Distillery in Upstate New York. But this hasn’t been a normal spring. When the COVID-19 pandemic came to the Thousand Islands region the distillery calls home, the company quickly added a new line of operations.

On March 19, the company, which owner Mike Aubertine opened in 2013, began producing hand sanitizer in addition to its regular line of spirits. In virtually no time at all, the distillery was producing more than 150 gallons per day. Not only was business not slow, the team was pulling 16-hour days.

The distillery is producing the sanitizer in two forms. Five-gallon jugs are going to health care facilities across the region and to commercial enterprises. Meanwhile, eight-ounce bottles hit the shelves of Kinney Drugs on April 6, though they likely didn’t stay there for long considering the high demand for them. The bottles were also distributed to other retail locations throughout the area. In addition, first responders can stop by the distillery to get containers filled at no cost or request sanitizing spray.

Not only has Clayton Distillery helped those who need it most in a time of crisis, the business has also been able to employ a crew of more than a dozen bottlers and office staff. A true win-win for the community and the employees.

Commitment to service is nothing new for the Aubertine family. Mike has two daughters serving our country in the military, one an Airman 1st class in the Air Force stationed at Pearl Harbor, the other a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army HPSP at Upstate Medical University.

I’m proud that Clayton Distillery is a partner with Rural Development through an investment by our Business Programs. The company’s response to the health crisis confirms that they share the belief that Together, America Prospers.

Clayton Distillery team members
Clayton Distillery team members have stepped up and answered the call to service when the COVID-19 crisis hit Upstate New York. Pictured here filling containers of hand sanitizer destined for an area hospital. Photo courtesy of Clayton Distillery.
Category/Topic: Coronavirus Rural