Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Brewing up more than beer and whiskey; local brewery, distilleries help make sanitizer

Jackson Berglund from Ida Graves Distillery bottles hand sanitizer that the Alexandria distillery is now producing. (Contributed)

Three area businesses have stepped up their game to make a product that won’t even be featured on their daily menu boards.

Ida Graves Distillery and Copper Trail Brewing Company, both of Alexandria, have teamed up to make hand sanitizer, and Panther Distillery of Osakis is making surface sanitizer.

The guys of Copper Trail, Adam Graf and Dave Gibbons, were contacted by the Rural Health Alliance to find out if they were making hand sanitizer. They weren’t, but were intrigued and requested more information on how the process was done.

Owners of Copper Trail Brewing Company, Dave Gibbons (left) and Adam Graf, stand in their brewery on Broadway Street in downtown Alexandria. (Contributed)


After receiving the information, Graf reached out to Brock Berglund from Ida Graves to see about a collaboration.

“Brock was super on board from the beginning,” said Graf.

Brock Berglund

A partnership was formed and the two businesses began the process.

Copper Trail makes a beer – a not very tasty beer – and sends it to Ida Graves, which then takes the alcohol out of the beer and through their distilling process, makes and bottles the sanitizer.

The Copper Trail guys said they really play a small part in the process and that Ida Graves is the main star. However, Berglund said Copper Trail plays just as big of a part because of their capacity to brew such large quantities.

Gibbons reiterated that they are just a small step in the process. Regardless, both Graf and Gibbons are happy to be able to help in whatever way they can.


Berglund said to make the hand sanitizer, he follows the exact recipe that the World Health Organization recommends to target the coronavirus.

The product the two businesses have made have then been distributed locally to the hospital, clinics, elder care facilities and foster care homes.

As of April 17, Berglund said Ida Graves has bottled about 540 gallons.

Jackson Berglund from Ida Graves Distillery in Alexandria fills a gallon jug with hand sanitizer. The distillery is producing the sanitizer on a temporary basis during the coronavirus pandemic. (Contributed)

“We’ll keep making it until the need has been met,” said Berglund. “As soon as the demand is no longer there, then we’ll quit.”

Berglund said Ida Graves is not licensed to make that kind of product full time, but the business was granted temporary approval because of the nationwide shortage.

This is the same for Copper Trail, said Gibbons, adding that they received temporary permission. He also said there are certain restrictions and strict guidelines they have to follow, which includes following the World Health Organization recipe.


Berglund said in addition to the partnership with Copper Trail, he is thankful to everyone in the community who has stepped up to help. Labels for the gallon jugs were donated, as well as the jugs themselves, he said.

“The community is in this together,” he said, with Graf and Gibbons agreeing saying they are appreciative of the support.

Ida Graves Distillery, in partnership with Copper Trail Brewing Company, is making hand sanitizer on a temporary basis. (Contributed)

On the surface

Brett Grinager, general manager of Panther Distillery, said they are in their third week of producing sanitizer.

“It is not a hand sanitizer,” he said. “It’s a surface sanitizer.”


Brett Grinager

And just like the other two businesses, Panther is using a recipe from the World Health Organization.

Grinager said he had heard there was a shortage of sanitizer and that some bigger distilleries around the state were already in the process of making some. He had been contacted by multiple people asking if Panther was interested in making sanitizer as well, but wanted to double check the legalities of it.

He said Panther may have been a little late to the game producing the sanitizer but that he wanted to make sure they were doing it legally and that all the agencies that regulate their business were OK with it.

Once that was all taken care of, he said Panther was and is still able to make the sanitizer by using the byproduct of the whiskey they distill, and that it is at very little cost to them.

“We’ve made about four batches so far and have been able to donate between 225 and 250 gallons,” said Grinager.

Panther Distillery in Osakis has been making surface sanitizer to help fill the need for healthcare facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. (Contributed)


Working with Julie Anderson from Douglas County Emergency Management, Grinager said Panther has provided the sanitizer to North Memorial Ambulance Service in Douglas County, Alomere Health and other health care organizations or entities that need it the most.

“We wanted to make sure it was getting to who needed it the most,” said Grinager of working with Anderson. “We wanted to make sure those who are taking care of the sick and fragile get it first.”

He noted that Panther has made the decision that the sanitizer they make will be going to businesses only and not for individual consumers.

In addition, he said as much as he loves helping out the community in this way, he hopes the makers of sanitizer get caught up soon.

“They are a lot better at making than we are,” he said.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
What To Read Next
Get Local