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Mar 25, 2020

Turning Spirits into Solutions, David Burke and Nauti Spirits Distillery Making a Difference

It is said necessity is the mother of invention. And one of Chef David Burke’s suppliers for DRIFTHOUSE and Nauti Bar, Sea Bright, recently proved this wise adage by repurposing its product to meet hand sanitizer shortages caused by Covid-19. Nauti Spirits Distillery, based in Cape May, has turned some of its very high-proof spirits into sanitizer.

The Drifthouse is currently providing a takeout dinner menu Tuesday through Saturday. And after the first batch of hand sanitizer goes to Cape May responders, the Drifthouse will include a Nauti Spirits hand sanitizer bottle in their takeout orders while supplies last. Burke and his management team at Drifthouse fell in love with Nauti Spirits Distillery’s products, its New Jersey roots and sustainable approach to growing most of their ingredients on its 60-acre preserved coastal farm in Cape May.

“Fortunately, we have been distilling a great deal over the last three months to use up the corn and sweet potatoes that we had grown on our land this past year,” explained Steve Miller, founder and co-owner (with a group of seven others) of Nauti Spirits Distillery. “As a result, we currently have a high inventory of grain neutral spirit (known as GNS; 190 proof alcohol). One of our owners, Dorey Bryan, and I started working together over a week ago to find a way to legally produce scarce supplies of hand sanitizer. We’ve taken some of that GNS and repurposed it as the primary ingredient in 80 percent ethanol hand sanitizer, in conjunction with Partners Pharmacy, of Springfield, New Jersey, who is professionally compounding the sanitizer.”

Nauti Spirits Hand Sanitizer bottle

Starting on March 24, Miller will be providing the entire first batch of thousands of personal size spray bottles for free to first responders and assisted living/skilled nursing centers, those who need it the most. Afterward, they will continue to providing this needed service/product at a price that allows them to cover their costs to produce it, for as long as they are able. And Drifthouse will include a Nauti hand sanitizer bottle in takeout orders while supplies last.

“These are the kind of resourceful partnerships that are formed in the hospitality business,” said Burke. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And this is what happens when the entrepreneurial and hospitality minds come together. This is exactly what we need to stay positive to beat this virus; we have to work together to come up with solutions.”

Miller added, “We all have been hit very hard by this crisis, especially our brothers and sisters in the hospitality industry like Chef David Burke and many others. And it is important to us as representatives of that great industry to be able to keep working as hard as we can to make at least a small difference in keeping the most vulnerable among us a little bit safer during these trying times.”