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Westfield Distillery Begins Producing Sanitizer For Nonprofits

Mazza Five & 20 Spirits in Westfield said Wednesday it will begin distilling hand sanitizer for local nonprofits. Submitted photo

WESTFIELD — As posted on the new website for Mazza Five & 20 Spirits, “Alcohol is more important than ever — but not in the way you might think! Some of the same processes and ingredients that we employ in the production of our spirits can be utilized to produce hand sanitizer.”

That’s exactly what Mazza is doing. Utilizing the ingredients, equipment and processes they already have in place, Mazza Five & 20 is redirecting 100% of its efforts to distill hand sanitizer under the strict guidelines and cooperation of the World Health Organization, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — retaining 30 full-time employees in the process.

Mario Mazza, vice president and general manager, predicts the winery, brewery and distillery will be able to produce 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer immediately, with 400 gallons or more produced weekly as long as it takes to come through the current COVID-19 crisis and sanitizer shortage. When asked for an idea about what that quantity represents, Mazza explained that in a normal week, Five & 20’s operations would use an average of two gallons of sanitizer in spray bottles to clean surfaces in the tasting room.

“We are shifting to six production days per week,” said Mazza, which is up from the regular four to five days per week.

Any excess distilling capability can also be utilized to convert product from the region’s wineries that doesn’t meet quality standards for sale.

Initial efforts are focused on donating sanitizer to departments of health, non-profits, local healthcare workers, and Five and 20’s internal use. Final product will initially be sent to North East Community Nurses, Community Resources for Independence, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Josephite Sisters of Erie, Bay City Cremations, and Our Lady of Mercy. There will also be small bottles available at Five & 20/Mazza Chautauqua Cellars in Westfield for customers and those in the community in need, limited to one per customer.

Chautauqua County and the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency have led the charge in communicating the need for additional PPE production countywide, encouraging manufacturers to retool, where practicable, to produce supplies needed for COVID-19 pandemic response.

County Executive PJ Wendel stated, “Mazza is another company that is stepping up to address the needs created by the COVID-19 crisis, and I really commend Mario and the Mazza Team for being both proactive and flexible.”

Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/Chief Executive Officer of the CCIDA said, “Manufacturers from throughout the County are validating their resiliency, flexibility, and craftiness as they pivot their operations to address the needs created by the pandemic. The Mazza Team is another company that moved quickly to manufacture products needed for this emergency cause.”

Starting this week, Five & 20 plans to make sanitizer available for sale to for-profit businesses considered essential. Sales will help offset staff salaries and operating costs. Five & 20 whiskies and bourbon continue to be available for purchase online or by phone and can be shipped or picked up, curbside, at the distillery. All sales proceeds support the hand sanitizer production. For more information, visit https://fiveand20.com/distilled-with-love or call 793-9463.

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