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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Pacific Coast Spirits is one of the very few success stories in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When their restaurant was notified they were going to be forced to close, they initially did what all others did — they closed. 

“We had 25 employees. Unfortunately, we had to let all of them go because of the mandated state closure,” said Nicholas Hammond, owner of Pacific Coast Spirits.

But just as they were winding down, they decided to pivot from distilling alcohol for cocktails to alcohol for hand sanitizer.

“Hand sanitizer has really saved us,” Hammond said.

After being featured on FOX 5, calls poured in and as Purell hand sanitizers disappeared from the shelves, demand skyrocketed. Now, they’ve secured contracts with Amazon for their shipping distributions centers. They’ve also supported fire houses and the courts in downtown San Diego.

Now, the distillery is partnering with local breweries to use their spoiled beer for the starter of even more hand sanitizer. Hammond says he is trying to pay is community back for his luck in being well enough set up to make sanitizer.

“Now we’re putting people back to work. It’s been pivotal for what we’re doing,” he said.