How A Driftwood Distillery Is Helping Texas Communities

By Kiley Faulkner | March 30, 2020 | People Feature

Switching gears from sotol to sanitizer, Texas-based Desert Door is stepping up as a community leader during tough times.

BrentLoobyRyanCampbellJudsonKauffmanCreditAllysonCampbell.jpgDesert Door co-founders Brent Looby, Ryan Campbell and Judson Kauffman (left to right) at their Driftwood distillery

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, sotol distillery Desert Door is producing hand sanitizer at its Driftwood, Texas, facility and donating it to first responders, restaurants, shelters, senior centers and community organizations across the Lone Star State. With a goal of helping prevent the spread of coronavirus, the product comprises 80 percent alcohol and adheres to World Health Organization and FDA standards. For the latest updates on Desert Door’s hand sanitizer donations, visit the company’s Facebook page.

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Each 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer takes approximately $1.50 to make.

Desert Door’s three co-founders, Judson Kauffman, Ryan Campbell and Brent Looby, are all Texas natives and U.S. military veterans. The trio saw a sudden need for something their company was already equipped to produce, and immediately jumped in to help. While the distillery’s equipment is normally used to produce sotol, a deliciously earthy spirit (and distant cousin of tequila and mezcal), as of recently the company has stopped sotol production to make hand sanitizer full-time.

The company kicked off its new initiative by donating 1,000 bottles to the Houston Police Officers’ Union. The distillery began production in mid-March and will work to produce at least 20,000 8-ounce bottles throughout the coming weeks—all of which will be given to the public free of charge. In addition to supplying the Houston Police Department, Desert Door has donated sanitizer to the Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi police departments as well as Texas Parks and Wildlife.

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Looby, Kauffman and Campbell (left to right) encourage other distillers to learn how this process works so they, too, can produce sanitizer for their local communities.

Want to contribute to Desert Door’s efforts? Help the company reach its goal of producing 20,000 bottles of sanitizer by making a donation to the group's GoFundMe. All contributions will go directly toward purchasing bottles and supplies.



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Photography by: thumbnail photo and top photo by Allyson Campbell; sanitizer photo courtesy of Desert Door; bottom photo by John Davidson