What does Miami distillery make when bars are closed? (Hint: Don’t drink it.)3 min read
Toast Distillers’ signature product was premium vodka. But when unemployment increased and medical supplies became scarce nationwide, Toast switched formulas to solve both problems.
The company hired 15 new employees as it shifted production from spirits to hand sanitizer, said founder and CEO Dieuveny “DJ” Jean Louis. The “EZ Hand Sanitizer” is created in a partnership with the Cosmetic Corporation of America, Inc. and Veritas Farms, Inc.., which sells its products in Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.
“When the whole pandemic happened, we saw a window of opportunity,” he said.
Toast Distillers now employs about 30 people. Louis said he has not had to apply for any government aid because of a public demand for the new product. Toast Distillers came together about a year ago after a merging as a merger with Toast Spirits, which launched in 2014.
Vodka production was at 30% earlier in the pandemic, but is now back up to 50% capacity, Louis said. They are currently producing approximately 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week.
The company creates regular, liquid, lotion and spray hand sanitizer. Louis said he saw it as the company’s responsibility to meet the global demand knowing they had the resources to do so.
The e-commerce site, ezsanitizers.com, launched today . Prices range from $2.99 for the 2 ounces to $25 for a gallon. The scents are cherry blossom, lavendar chamomile, ocean breeze and pear glacé.
Toast Distiller’s social response team coordinates action plans for emergencies. Louis’s employees in the distillery’s Medley factory, have created product that ships across Florida, South Carolina, Texas and California.
“Any natural disasters and things that happen to the world, we want to be there to step up to the plate,” Louis said.
Toast’s social response includes donating hand sanitizer to Miami organizations that are in need, the founder said, including the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade.
“We’ve been fortunate to where our business is doing OK and we’re there to support the community,” Louis said.
The local Boys and Girls Club recently resumed its summer camps for kids whose parents returned to work, said President Alex Rodriguez-Roig. The in-person camps are running at about 30% normal capacity, and it is offering online camps as well.
“In this environment that we’re living in, it gets very expensive to provide these programs because of the high-level of cleaning that we’re doing with the low ratios we have of kids to staff,” he said. “Safety is obviously a Number One concern.”
With support from Toast Distillers, the Boys and Girls Club also provides services that help workers integrate themselves into the new normal, Rodriguez-Roig said. Parents are able to leave their kids in a place they feel comfortable with while they return to work.
“If corporations are helping us, then we can continue to help the community,” he said.