Feds: Distilleries that made hand sanitizer during pandemic have hefty fees waived

Federal officials say distilleries do not have to pay a large fee for making hand sanitizer during the pandemic.

When hand sanitizer became scarce back in March, places like Copper Bottom Craft Distillery in Holly Hill decided to pitch in.

"I said, ‘We can make alcohol, we can make hand sanitizer. Let’s go ahead and do it,’" said owner Jeremy Craig. "We were able to help a lot of people. We got a lot of hand sanitizer out. We gave away close 5,000 gallons of it out of this one little location."

But just days ago, Craig learned all that hard work to help the community may cost thousands of dollars.

The FDA recently announced a $14,000 fee for facilities producing hand sanitizer.

"Everybody is hurting in this pandemic and we don’t have $14,000 laying around for fees," Craig said.

While FOX 35 News was working on the story Thursday night, everything changed.  The feds deciding not to charge distilleries.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tweeting just after 6 pm, "Small businesses who stepped up to fight COVID-19 should be applauded by their government, not taxed for doing so."

"I’m glad that they’re waiving the fees," Craig said after we gave him the news.

While he was planning to stop making hand sanitizer to avoid any additional fees from the FDA, he says they can keep that door open now. Local first responders are still requesting big batches.

"At the end of the day, if something happens again or supply runs low we can ramp up and do some more," he said.

A major relief for small businesses across the country - their good deeds will not be punished.


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