Lockheed Martin in Huntsville, Alabama, is helping brew up a unique way to support first responders in their community.
Yellowhammer Brewing, an employee favorite in the area, made the decision to shift their operations from producing beer and spirits, to producing hand sanitizer in bulk. Lockheed Martin employees wanted to help out so, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Government Affairs, we were able to make a monetary donation to the local brewery.
“We got word from a few federal agencies that we could start making hand sanitizer, and after we heard the dire need in the community we swapped to full production within four days,” said Ethan Couch, General Manager of Yellowhammer Brewing.
Lockheed Martin has been a longstanding community partner with Huntsville and Madison County. “When we heard that Yellowhammer had shifted their production line to making hand sanitizer for first responders and community partners, we wanted to support and be a part of that initiative,” said Jeffery Kepley, Acting Vice President, Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin.
Thanks to the Lockheed Martin-Yellowhammer partnership, first responders and nonprofits in the area have received batches of hand sanitizer free of cost. Yellowhammer has pledged only to donate the hand sanitizer to nonprofits and essential personnel (hospitals, first responders, hospice workers, etc.), and is not seeking to turn a profit on the sanitizer or even allow others to purchase the sanitizer. It is strictly for those on the front lines of the pandemic.
“We typically are extracting ethanol for our spirits production to make a wide variety of products like vodka, rum and whiskey,” Couch said. “When we make vodka, we are getting a very clean product and cutting it with water. This is very similar to the product we are using for the sanitizer, except we have to denature it with a bittering agent that makes it undrinkable. We also add hydrogen peroxide to make sure no bacteria can live in the sanitized container, and glycerin to keep it from drying out your hands.”
Yellowhammer made sure to include CDC and FDA experts in the process, to ensure they were producing top notch sanitizer that was compliant, consistent and strong enough to fight COVID-19. Because Yellowhammer cans their own beer, they also had their in-house graphic design artist incorporate the Lockheed Martin logo onto the sanitizer bottles to represent the partnership.
“Yellowhammer is a popular happy hour spot for our employees where we host a ‘Cold Topics’ on a Thursday before an off Friday,” said Stephanie Bastiaans, Employee and Community Engagement Representative at Lockheed Martin in Huntsville. “There’s usually a big turn out and it’s a great time. It made Yellowhammer an even better candidate to support. They’ve always been a place that builds community for our employees and our city.”
The Lockheed Martin sanitizer donations predominantly served first responders in the Huntsville area, but a portion was also donated to Ability Plus, a nonprofit that supports adults with developmental disabilities.
Check out the video below about how the Huntsville community is rallying around first responders and is finding hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.