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Photo by Peter Leonard-Morgan

Distiller Peter Ahlf and Mt. Defiance owner, masked man Marc Chretien.

From Absinthe and Rum to Hand Sanitizer

T

By Peter Leonard-Morgan

he current pandemic has triggered the overuse of words and phrases such as unparalleled, unprecedented and the new normal. The philosophy of “we’re all in it together” is particularly evident in community response to both the health and financial threat to everyDEL WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* day people, especially frontline medical professionals and workers who selflessly MARY WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* carry on making sure the rest of us have most of what we need. * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist One such reaction has been the repurposing of operations by distillers to DEL WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties create and manufacture hand sanitizer, at a time when the store-bought product DEL WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* MARY WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* is next to impossible to find. MARY P.T., O.C.S.* 204 WILSON, E. FEDERAL ST. * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Locally, Middleburg’s Mount Defiance Cidery & Distillery, named after the DEL WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* * Board Certified Orthopedic P.O. BOX Clinical 893 Specialist American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties site of the Battle of Middleburg during the Civil War, has risen to the challenge. American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties MARY WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 Its distiller is Peter Ahlf, a former 22-year veteran NASA rocket scientist, who * Board Certified Orthopedic ClinicalST. Specialist 204 E. FEDERAL 204 E. FEDERAL ST. 540-687-6565 quickly saw a need to find a way to develop and produce hand sanitizer to donate American BoardP.O. of Physical Therapy P.O. BOX 893 BOX 893 Specialties MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 www.middleburg-pt.com to the local community and first responders throughout the region. MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 204 E. FEDERAL ST. 540-687-6565 The base ingredient in sanitizer is ethanol, also used in the spirits he produces. P.O. BOX 893 WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* DEL 540-687-6565 www.middleburg-pt.com It requires extremely careful handling due to its innate flammable characteristics. MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 www.middleburg-pt.com MARY WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* Distillers like Mount Defiance adhere to working practices such as non-sparking 540-687-6565 tools to ensure that ethanol is not accidentally combusted. * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist www.middleburg-pt.com Marc Chretien founded Mount Defiance in 2014, trading in traveling to the world’s American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties hot spots as a State Department operative, for the less risky entrepreneurial world of cider and spirits. He opened his original tasting room on West Washington Street 204 E. FEDERAL ST. in Middleburg, where distilling also takes place, followed three years later when he P.O. BOX 893 opened the Mount Defiance Cider Barn on the east side of town which normally MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 hosts weddings and events in its expansive hillside building. Some components of the distiller-produced sanitizer are hard to come by and also include glycerine, hydrogen peroxide and, crucially, a denaturing ingredient. www.middleburg-pt.com Denaturing produces an awful taste, ensuring that no one tries to drink it. The latter ingredient is not generally easy to acquire, Ahlf said, and their first batch was made using isopropyl alcohol, itself a denaturing agent, that was donated by his and Marc’s neighbors in Washington D.C. and Arlington, who responded to appeals to local distilleries. Recently Ahlf has moved to Denatonium Benzoate as the preferred denaturing ingredient, which is more readily available. * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Distillers, including Mount Defiance, are heavily regulated by the Food and Drug * Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Administration (FDA), which oversees manufacturing, American BoardBoard of Physical Therapy Specialties Board of Physical Therapy Specialties packaging and labeling, American of Physical Therapy Specialties American and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which collects alcoholgenerated tax. In an unusual but welcome move, the TTB has relaxed its demand for tax on ethanol used in hand sanitizer, making its production more affordable. Today, both Mt. Defiance venues are closed to events and on-site consumption, but open to carryout. They’ve been furiously making enough sanitizer to donate significant quantities to police, fire and rescue and hospitals. They also supply the Windy Hill affordable housing community and its affiliated Levis Hill House for elderly residents. Chretien is not in the hand-sanitizer business to make money. He sees it as an opportunity to do something for a community that welcomed him and his vision, and to give back in a time of need, helping ensure the safety of the wider populace.

540-687-6565

Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One DELDEL WILSON, P.T.,P.T., O.C.S.* WILSON, O.C.S.*

MARY WILSON, P.T.,P.T., O.C.S.* MARY WILSON, O.C.S.* 106 E. Washington St. P.o. Box 163 Middleburg, VA 20118 540-687-5400 FAX 540-687-3727 204204 E. FEDERAL ST. ST. E. FEDERAL 4125 Rectortown Rd P.O. Box 111 P.O.P.O. BOXBOX 893893 Marshall, VA 20116 MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118 540-364-1731

204 E. FEDERAL ST. P.O. BOX 893 MIDDLEBURG, VA 20118

www.middleburg-pt.com www.middleburg-pt.com WWW.ROYSTONFH.COM

www.middleburg-pt.com

540-687-6565 540-687-6565

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DEL WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.* MARY WILSON, P.T., O.C.S.*

540-687-6565

Mount Defiance Cidery & Distillery is located at 207 W. Washington St. Middleburg. Visitors can pick up a free bottle of sanitizer, or purchase four-ounce and 16-ounce bottles for $5 and $16 respectively while stocks last.

Go Green Middleburg | Summer 2020

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