April 21, 2020
Right now on "What you need to know" our special highlight all this week introducing you to so many of the essential workers around the country going to great lengths for the rest of us. Meet Jared Hillerby, head of operations at Fabrizia Spirits where they have pivoted to critically needed hand sanitizer.
I'm 20 years old. I'm the operations manager at Fabrizia Spirits here in southern New Hampshire. I oversee production and quality control here at the factory. When the pandemic first broke, I was beyond worried about losing my job. At the time my girlfriend was three months pregnant and we were already worried about financially saving for our newborn child. Once this broke out, she had to leave her job at the grocery store. Because we were unsure of side effects to the baby.
Many of our customers were restaurants. I thought we were going to have on close, too. I needed to keep working. That way when our newborn baby arrives we're able to support them financially. Where I work we make canned cocktails and lemoncello. It was a blessing when the government and the FDA approved distilleries to make hand sanitizer. We were able to retrofit the old line to now produce hand sanitizer, keeping our current lemoncello line and hand sanitizer line completely separate. We're producing about 8,000 bottles a day.
We're donating about 15% of what we produce to hospitals and first responders. We are selling the product to our regular liquor retailers and some major corporations. It means everything to me. Knowing that this huge weight is off my shoulders, financially being able to still support my family, my pregnant girlfriend and newborn child who's soon to arrive. To the first responders out there fighting on the front lines protecting us, so hopefully one day this is all over. It's a win-win. Here to talk about Fabrizia Spirits transformation is the owner and on co-founder Phil Mastrionni.
It was so heartwarming hearing from Jared. What has the response been like from your other employees? Thanks for having us, Amy. My brother Nick and I couldn't be prouder going into this pandemic we had core of five employees. Each one has stepped up taking on responsibilities that would have been inconceivable before all of this. They're still coming to work. We're getting questions from family, is it safe to come here? We all shared Jared's same vision of making this product that's essential for those who need it the most right now. Talk about why it was so important for you to keep your company open?
My brother Nick and I started our business ten years ago like so many other small business owners we've invested our entire lives into it. You know, we have some amazing employees, Jared, great customers, the idea of everything we worked for for ten years vanishing because of this virus in a few months was inconceivable. We had to find a way. So I need to ask, did you know anything about producing hand sanitizer before you decided to do this and what was the turnaround like? The honest answer is absolutely not. We had no experience and I had actually don't think I ever even purchased a bottle of hand sanitizer in my life. The good news is, when the FDA made temporary guidance allowing companies like ours to begin producing hand sanitizer, they included the recipe. Which includes ethanol. Phil, thank you so much. Stay well. Be safe. Thank you so much. Take care.