Restaurants, schools, and trails are closed and gatherings large and small have been canceled. It seems that nothing about life, as usual, has gone untouched, and that goes for the craft beer business, too.
The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) was scheduled to begin mid-April and, along with it, the biennial World Beer Cup competition, an international beer competition that’s considered the “Olympics of beer.” Winning a World Beer Cup is the highest honor in the craft beer world, it’s like “winning a Grammy or an Oscar,” according to americancraftbeer.com.
Before the decision was made to cancel the CBC and the World Beer Competition, however, breweries had already begun to ship their best beers to San Antonio, where the competition was slated to be held. Thousands of cans and bottles of some of the world’s best brews had piled up in a warehouse—but after the competition was cancelled, efforts to return the beer or donate it hit roadblocks. Organizers were faced with dumping it all down the drain, until Adam Dulye, the Brewers Association’s executive chef, came up with a solution: turn the beer into hand sanitizer.
Dulye began a search for distilleries that could help distill the beer into a pure form of alcohol. He eventually connected with Denver Distillery and Ballmer Peak Distillery– both agreed to distill the world’s best beer.
When the project is done, Dulye and the distilleries will have turned the beer into between 400-500 gallons of high-grade alcoholic hand sanitizer, which the distilleries are passing out to customers. “I doubt this was the fate that brewers expected when they tasted through their entries,” Dulye told craftbeer.com. “But based on the options we had available, I hope they feel a sense of closure, maybe some relief.”