To boost hand sanitizer production, France uncorks a novel solution

John Laurenson Jul 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Pharmacists use what’s called pomace brandy to make the sanitizer. marvlc/iStock/Getty Images

To boost hand sanitizer production, France uncorks a novel solution

John Laurenson Jul 28, 2020
Pharmacists use what’s called pomace brandy to make the sanitizer. marvlc/iStock/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

France, like many countries, has had a shortage of hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. And as the country is reopening, demand is rising still further. But the country has found an interesting — and very French — solution to the problem.

Some local officials have turned to their wine producers to tackle the sanitizer shortage. Some winemakers have distilleries. They distill the leftover mush of pips and skin to make what’s called pomace brandy, what Italians call grappa. And that’s what pharmacists use to make the hand sanitizer.

Anne Arbeau co-directs with her brother a family vineyard called Vignobles Arbeau, in the south of France.

“At the beginning of the crisis, the mayor of a neighbor village called us, asking if we have our alcohol in storage and if we can supply the pharmacies,” Arbeau said in French, “because the pharmacy of his village was looking for alcohol everywhere.”

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