This spring Bendt Distilling Co. did something it hasn’t done before. It stopped producing whiskey, including its award-winning BENDT No. 5 whiskey.
Instead, the company focused all of its mechanics and manpower on producing hand sanitizer for first responders and the community. As of press time, Bendt Distilling Co. had distributed more than 60,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to individuals, municipalities, first responder units, hospitals and assisted living facilities.
In April, we asked Bendt Co-Founder Natasha DeHart to share a typical day at the distilling company in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We've always started our days early, but are now beginning shifts hours earlier in response to the need for hand sanitizer,” Natasha says. “Our first-shift team arrives around 3:30 a.m. and is working on fermentation and distillation. Around 5 a.m., we begin bottling and packaging the hand sanitizer."
“We’ve temporarily stopped making all whiskey, including BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey, and are making thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer every week,” Natasha says. “In order to help supply local first responders, we are making high-proof ethanol around the clock and have had to split our team into two shifts – both to keep production running constantly and to keep contact within the team to a minimum.”
“Our second shift team continues to work on ethanol production, but also on formulating the finished batches into hand sanitizer and continuing to bottle after a handover from the first shift,” Natasha says. “This team has shifted their schedule to later in the day, adjusting to work longer hours, late into the evenings and on weekends with the goal to make as much high-proof ethanol as possible for hand sanitizer.
"This team generally wraps up late at night. Some nights, this is 8 p.m.; others midnight or later. Although the occasional late night was not out of the question before, it's the norm now,” Natasha says. “Everyone on our team works long days, seven days a week – all with the common goal to help the community and provide support during this difficult period.”
About Bendt Distilling Co.
When not responding to a worldwide pandemic, Bendt produces BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey, which combines bourbon, rye, malt, wheat and light whiskeys to create a smooth, balanced blend with a well-rounded flavor profile.
“We see American Blended Whiskey as the next frontier in the craft whiskey space,” Natasha says. “With BENDT No. 5, we’ve created the first-ever blend of five beautiful and individually distinct small-batch Texas whiskeys distilled, aged individually and blended together all under one roof at our distillery in Lewisville, Texas.”
BENDT No. 5 recently received a gold medal award in the American Distilling Institute’s 2020 Judging of Craft Spirits. For more information, visit bendtdistillingco.com.