Top 3 Benefits of Using Expired Beer to Create Hand Sanitizer & Whiskey

Check out the top 3 benefits of partnering with breweries or distilleries to reuse expired beer to produce great whiskeys and hand sanitizer.

May 21, 2020

COVID-19 has affected our industries in so many ways. With industry sales decreasing and states locking down, many kegs of beer have gone unused in warehouses, leaving many breweries to write-off these kegs as an expense and dispose it as waste. But what if I tell you that there is another option; your beer can live again as hand sanitizer and/or whiskey.

Many distilleries across the United States have discovered that they can distill gallons of expired beer and use the fermented grain to create great high-end whiskeys and effective hand sanitizer. This includes one of our very own customers, WhistlePig Distilling, who has been working very closely with another customer of ours, Bear Republic Brewing, to ensure that the stale beer gets used for a great cause. In fact, WhistlePig’s very own CEO, Jeff Kozak, is calling the project the Great Beer Rescue.”

We are tentatively calling the project the ‘Great Beer Rescue.’ And we’ve already had significant interest from brewers and distributors.

Jeff Kozak

CEO of WhistlePig Distilling

The beauty of this Great Beer Rescue is that these breweries and distilleries, who normally would be considered competitors, are coming together to help each other through this health crisis that is affecting so many businesses and people. To commemorate this teamwork, WhistlePig intends to partner with breweries they are working with to create limited edition barrels.

A few years down the road, it’ll be a way to commemorate this moment in time, when we came together to help each other out.

Jeff Kozak

CEO of WhistlePig Distilling

If you haven’t begun to cooperate with breweries or distilleries to put expired beer kegs to work, perhaps now is the time. By partnering, both breweries and distilleries can help each other reduce costs and waste, begin to create new beverages for distribution and continue to employ their workers.

Top 3 benefits of breweries & distilleries partnering together to utilize expired beer

1. Reduces costs & waste

Normally, as you all know, your brewery would have to dump excess beer in a drain that is directly connected to a municipal treatment facility. In order to ensure that the municipal wastewater treatment facility’s infrastructure isn’t damaged due to excessive beer wastes, it’s up to breweries to neutralize their expired product. If you don’t, you risk exposing your brewery to regulatory consequences, which could result in fines.

If you do have dump excess kegs, make sure to communicate with your local municipal treatment plant and follow the tips that the Brewer’s Association outlined in their article, “Best Practices for Responsible Disposal of Beer.” Transferring your expired beer to local distilleries avoids many of these cost risks and ensures that you aren’t negatively impacting the environment with your expired product. The Brewer’s Association states...

Brewers may transfer beer from their brewery in bulk without payment of tax to a distilled spirits plant/alcohol fuel plant (DSP/AFP) under IRC provision 26 U.S.C. 5053(f).

The Brewer's Association

Sustainability Committee

Not only do you save on taxes and waste costs, you can ensure that your expired beer can be put to good use to create hand sanitizer and whiskey at your local distilleries. And for distilleries, when you receive donated, expired beer, you save on material costs, as you don’t have to purchase 190-proof ethanol or grains needed to produce hand sanitizer and whiskey respectively. In this current environment, running as lean as possible, in terms of costs, can be quite impactful on the bottom line of your distillery.

2. Breweries: Donating your expired beer allows you to focus on producing beer that's ready for distribution

Breweries, the great thing about donating your expired beer kegs is that it allows you to divert the time you would use dumping your expired beer to begin producing new brews that are packaged in SKUs meant for direct-to-consumer sales. While many states are reopening and that may mean your taproom can open, many people will still be counting on drinking their beers from home.

According to a recent Bankrate survey with a sample size of 1,341 adults in the US, 55% believe that businesses are opening too soon and 43% expect to shop less than they did before the outbreak. People will not be flooding to taprooms to drink beers, so it is still more important than ever to ensure you can deliver your brews directly to customers until the general public feels more at ease to go out to restaurants and taprooms.

While retailers are naturally eager to welcome consumers back to brick-and-mortar locations, store traffic won’t return to normal in the near future… Consumer spending will remain under pressure.

Mark Hamrick

Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate

3. Distilleries: Producing hand sanitizer and whiskey could allow you to continue to employ your workers and keep business moving

Hand sanitizer will be hard to find for a long time. Grocery stores and pharmacies are struggling to keep the stuff on the shelf as, according to Bloomberg, hand sanitizer sales have increased by 239% in March compared to a year ago. Hundreds upon hundreds of distilleries are staying busy producing hand sanitizer across the US and donating them to local hospitals and health organizations as well as giving them away to customers at their distilleries. And if you haven’t started to produce hand sanitizer to offset shortages, perhaps now is the time to do so, so you can continue to encourage your customers to stay safe and pick up their favorite beverage. Read up on our guide, Producing Hand Sanitizer in Orchestrated to learn how you can produce hand sanitizer within your Orchestrated system.

And even though on-premise sales are taking a hit, it doesn’t mean that consumers aren’t purchasing spirits. Volume growth continues to happen in the Spirits Industry. According to Nielsen, the Spirits industry’s volume has grown 31.7%, which is above the 22% estimated volume threshold needed to offset losses from on-premise sales. By increasing your off-premise alcoholic sales and continuing to produce hand sanitizer, you could continue to keep your workers employed during this pandemic.


While there are many challenges we are facing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help each other offset the negative consequences these challenges bring. By partnering with your local distilleries and breweries to reuse expired beer, you can help each other reduce costs and waste, begin to create new beverages for distribution and continue to employ workers.

Ready to begin the conversation regarding partnering with breweries and distilleries to reuse expired beer? Reach out to our Customer Success team. We would be more than happy to try to connect our customers together to begin these conversations.

Wavy Background