Eagle Park Brewing Company has shifted to producing gallon jugs of hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic. (Submitted photo)

Thanks to small Milwaukee-based craft beer brewery Eagle Park Brewing Company is meeting the need for hand sanitizer, which is now in high demand as Americans wage war on COVID-19.

According to Max Borgardt, who founded the company in 2016 with his brother, Joe, the decision to create hand sanitizer was an opportunity to help others and be a partner to the community. For the past two months, they have created thousands of gallons of the 80 percent ethanol-based sanitizer and shipped it all over the country.

“I never expected to be making hand sanitizer. We have a new facility in Muskego and started a distillery there. It is kind of funny that our first product has been hand sanitizer,” said Max Borgardt. “We have shipped to hospitals in New York, sent 1,200 gallons to Children’s Hospital, shipped to Florida and Texas hospitals and nursing homes. We’ve also shipped to local nuns as one of my great aunts is a nun who lives in a nearby community and it has been really rough on them.”

Through the end of May, Eagle Park is offering a discount to parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Normally priced at $35 per gallon, the cost to parishes is $25 per gallon jug. To receive the discounted rate, parishes must purchase a case of four jugs, but there is no limit to the number of cases a parish can purchase.

The product is a liquid rather than a gel; so it is suitable in a large variety of dispensers. Each jug has an easy-pour cap to make it easy to refill smaller bottles.

While many companies have increased their prices in light of the high demand for the hand sanitizer, Max Borgardt said they are not about gouging the public.

“I have received phone calls from companies who are upset with me for keeping my prices low,” he said. “I did not get into making hand sanitizer to make a big profit. We are trying to help others. I am able to cover my costs and keep my employees living and able to afford their apartments and houses. People should not have to pay $80 a gallon for it.”

With his two restaurants closed, Max Borgardt said he did not have to lay anyone off because they have all stepped up to help with the hand sanitizer production.

“Packaging and shipping takes the longest to do,” he said. “I had to buy a six-head gravity filler to fill the bottles, but the demand is so great that I had to purchase two more of them. Now I have three to eight people filling bottles all day every day.”

The most difficult aspect of the production is being able to acquire the raw materials needed to produce, bottle and ship the product.

“It has been a shipping nightmare for us and we have often had to wait several days to get the gallon jugs shipped to us and then when they come, we have to work all through the weekend in order to get everything bottled and shipped out,” said Max Borgardt.

Max Borgardt belongs to St. Mary’s in Hales Corners, the same parish in which he grew up. It is important for he and his brothers, each of whom graduated from Pius XI High School, to give back to the community.

“It is important we give back and help others, and one of the reasons we are giving the discounts to the parishes. Anyone who orders can stop by and pick it up, but if they are too far away to get here, we will ship it to them,” he said. “Our whole family feels this way. In fact, they all work here, including spouses and my dad who works in the canning line.”

Through the end of May, parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese can purchase the gallon jugs of hand sanitizer for $25 instead of $35 each, by the case.

For more information or to place an order, contact Max Borgardt at 414-803-3177 or max@eagleparkbrewing.com.