Historic Miami County distillery now producing hand sanitizer

Joe and Melissa Duer -- founders of Indian Creek Distillery, which makes Staley Rye Whiskey using the same pot stills that Melissa Duer's family used in the early 19th century -- are now making hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer
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Joe and Melissa Duer -- founders of Indian Creek Distillery, which makes Staley Rye Whiskey using the same pot stills that Melissa Duer's family used in the early 19th century -- are now making hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer

Portions of the germ-killing wash have been shared with local Hospice Care, Troy Foundation, and first responders

A Miami County distillery that traces its roots back more than 200 years is now producing something very, very modern on the grounds of the historic property: hand sanitizer.

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Melissa "Missy" Duer, a sixth-generation Miami County resident, and her husband, Joe Duer, opened Indian Creek Distillery, maker of Staley Rye whiskies, in 2013 on the very land in Bethel Twp. in southeast Miami County where Missy's ancestors produced rye whiskey for 100 years until Prohibition put an abrupt halt to the family business a century ago. The couple's 21st century whiskeys are made in the same copper-pot stills that her great-great-great-grandfather Elias Staley used to distill rye whiskey in the early 1800s. They are the same stills that her great-grandfather George Washington Staley hid from nosy federal agents nearly a century later during the height of Prohibition.

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And now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re making a disinfecting hand wash.

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The label for Indian Creek Distillery's hand sanitizer

The label for Indian Creek Distillery's hand sanitizer
Caption
The label for Indian Creek Distillery's hand sanitizer

A portion of the germ-killing sanitizer has been donated to a local hospice-care organization and to the Troy Foundation, which assists many Miami County-area non-profit organizations that help local residents with food and transportation. Some also was donated to first responders in the region, Missy Duer said.

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An allocation of the Staley Hand Wash also went to Living Simply Soap, a specialty retail shop and online soap seller in Tipp City, which helped the distillery with sourcing of bottles as well as the glycerol and hydrogen peroxide that were added to the high-proof alcohol made at the distillery to create the finished product. The shop’s 300-bottle allocation sold out within two hours last week, Duer said.

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“It's been crazy to say the least,” Missy Duer said. “We have had calls from Mansfield, Lima and the surrounding area with interest in the hand sanitizer.”

Some bottles of Staley Hand Wash are still available at the distillery at 7095 Staley Road near New Carlisle. Four-ounce bottles are being sold for $8 Tuesday through Saturday.

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More batches are planned.

“We will continue to produce the hand wash as long as we can and as long as necessary,” Duer said.

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