Local Brownwood brewery pumps out hand sanitizer for residents and beyond

One of life’s best consolation prizes is that every trying time comes laden with silver linings – an opportunity to make lemonade from lemons. And, today, we are excited to recognize a business who has done what they can, with what they have, where they are – making lemonade right here in downtown Brownwood.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you’re at! ”
Teddy Roosevelt

It’s Teddy’s Brewhaus, our very own craft brewery, that came to Brownwood’s rescue in late March. Mid-March brought coronavirus to our literal doorstep. Shelves were soon barren of cleaning supplies, soap and hand sanitizer. Alcohol, bleach and hydrogen peroxide were sold out online.

So master brewer Wes Kearney and Jeff Tucker – co-founder of Teddy’s – shifted production from their popular craft brews to hand sanitizer. Less than six months after opening to the public, Tucker never imagined he’d be repurposing beer equipment to make sanitizer. But after seeing stories about distillers and brewers producing a much-needed supply, they thought they’d see if their community had a need.

Turns out, there was demand. A lot of it. Not just locally, but statewide, nationally and even as far as Australia. Initially thinking he’d make 50 gallons, Tucker publicly announced he’d be pumping out 1,000 gallons by March 30.

“I wasn’t really sure what the supply chain’s been,” Tucker said. “Turns out there’s a big need locally. If we can make it in-house for everybody, we’re just going to do it. We use the equipment for sanitation. We’ve also got in-house sanitation components. We’ve got our own supply of glycol. The recipe’s simple.”

Restructuring for the Community

The team took inventory and figured out the new supply chain and logistics, sourcing locally as much as possible. Instead of lemons to lemonade, they used beer supplies to make sanitizer!

They started pumping out medical-grade, FDA-approved, (80-percent alcohol) sanitizer. Teddy’s used what vessels they had, mostly half-gallons – thanks to a stockpile of growlers and the addition of pump dispensers – and a limited supply of 8 and 12-ounce vessels.

They originally invited customers to bring their own vessels to fill as well, until the FDA changed regulations prohibiting this.  When they ran out of vessels, local suppliers like Weakley Watson Hardware filled the need. Eventually, they began filling 55-gallon drums for use in health centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and first responder stations. They can now produce their product in as large as 330-gallon totes. In fact, a secondary pay-it-forward tale highlights an Abilene couple who bought 2,000 gallons worth of hand sanitizer to donate to first responders, Abilene City hall and police.

One-stop shop for curbside brew, eats and sanitizer

Nearly three weeks later, the team is going strong! Locally, they’ve been offering curbside pickup but hope to establish an online ordering system in addition to home deliveries. Not only are Tucker and team working ‘round the clock to produce sanitizer, but they are also dishing up to-go meals and growlers for hungry Brownwoodians.

Pizza night was such a huge hit that it turned into pizza week. (One night they enlisted the help of fellow restaurateurs to have enough boxes to fire up more than 165 pies!) They’ve also been offering comfort food like spaghetti and meatballs, Philly cheesesteaks and taco salad.

Beer lovers fear not. Teddy’s is still offering a menu of craft brews for pickup. And, you get a free growler to boot (though, you’ll need to purchase the beer.) The 7-offering beer menu ranges from a crisp Kolsch to Stout.

From the whole of the Brownwood community, a big thank you to Teddy’s team! We know opening during a pandemic is tricky, and Teddy’s commitment to our community (and their delicious offerings) are already forever imprinted on our hearts.