Rich Grain Distillery in Canton is using its pure grain alcohol to help make vials of hand sanitizer for the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Davi Rich estimates he will produce close to 500 gallons.
Rich Grain Distillery in Canton is using its pure grain alcohol to help make vials of hand sanitizer for the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Davi Rich estimates he will produce close to 500 gallons.

CANTON — David Rich spends most of his days making corn whiskey and aging bourbon. This put him in a unique position to produce hand sanitizer in a time when many shelves have been emptied by hoarders during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of distilleries nationwide are doing this,” Rich said. “The government body that regulates distilleries sent out some information about how to do it and lifted some regulations and I hope I can make this stuff easier to find for some people.”

Along with toilet paper, hand sanitizer has been one of the better-publicized shortages worldwide.

Rich has several clients. His hand sanitizer is available to the public at Canton Discount Drugs, Mississippi Discount Drugs and Mosby’s Drugs Store in Canton. He also has several larger clients he is supplying, including 5,000 units for United States Post Office.

Finding some of the ingredients has proven tough, but there is one Rich has in supply, alcohol.

“I have plenty of high proof alcohol but some of the other stuff has proven hard to get a hold of,” Rich said. “Right now this is pretty much what I am doing all day.”

At the end of his current supply, he expects to have produced close to 500 gallons of the stuff.




Canton pharmacist David Berry said that their number one priority has been assuring that their supplies of medicine keep up with their high-risk customer’s demands. Diabetes medication has been a top priority.

“We are blessed that our pharmacies have stayed in stock,” Berry said.

But cleaner was not something they thought about.

“Lysol, really most-over-the-counter cleaners and disinfectants are hard to come by if not completely sold out,” Berry said. “Thanks to David we can sell his stuff while supplies last and keep everyone as ascetic as we can.”

Berry said he originally heard of distilleries meeting the demand from a friend in Nashville and was happy to carry the bottles when Rich approached him.

“He has done a fabulous job,” Berry said. “Really have to take my hat off to David Rich. He is close by, which made switching over easy.”

Rich said that he is not selling the hand sanitizer out of the distillery, but said he has plenty to make if anyone is interested in selling in bulk.

“I think the word has gotten out,” Rich said. “I have so many voicemails and I think my phone rang for six hours straight this morning.”