Established in 2008, KOVAL Distillery produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits in Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s. In 2018, KOVAL used a SBIF grant, administered by SomerCor, to complete roof repairs at its production facility in Ravenswood. KOVAL intended to transfer all operations to this location – including the opening of a brand new a tasting room and patio space – for a grand opening this spring.

The COVID-19 crisis interrupted this plan and the KOVAL team quickly shifted gears. By mid-March, the spirits facility was manufacturing hand sanitizer, based off the World Health Organization’s recipe. The first batch was limited to health care facilities, retirement homes and first responders. They were able to donate the hand sanitizer to those on the front lines thanks to a successful GoFundMe campaign that’s raised nearly $70,000.

Now, as highlighted in Block Club Chicago, KOVAL’s hand sanitizer is available to the general public.

“We’ve had so many requests from people who heard about what we’re doing and want our hand sanitizer for their home use,” said Sonat Birnecker Hart, founder and president of KOVAL. “We decided it makes sense to open up sales to the public because we have a responsibility to keep the lights on.”

While KOVAL has taken a leading role in manufacturing, local breweries and wineries have donated 15,000 gallons of their products to be distilled into hand sanitizer.

“I’ve seen so much camaraderie and so much community coming together to help fight this pandemic,” Hart said. ‘We couldn’t have done it alone.”

Visit KOVAL’s website to learn more about purchasing hand sanitizer. Additionally, medical professionals, retirement homes and first responders can reach out to KOVAL to ask about their free hand sanitizer by calling 312-878-7988 or visiting their website.