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Reps. Boyle and Scanlon work with State Senators Hughes and Kearney to Convert PA Distilleries into Hand Sanitizer Production Facilities

March 24, 2020
Press Release

Philadelphia, PA – Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), along with State Senators Vincent Hughes and Tim Kearney, successfully implemented statewide regulatory changes to allow over 130 small craft distilleries in Pennsylvania to produce scarce medical supplies, like hand sanitizers, in response to COVID-19. 

Specifically, the federal and state lawmakers worked together with Rob Cassell, a Philadelphia based distillery owner an operator, to remove regulatory restrictions from the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of the Treasury. They also helped secure start-up capital to convert these facilities and supply the necessary ingredients and packaging materials. Initial start-up capital for this project was secured through the generosity of private investors, including: David Adelman, CEO of Campus Apartments and Darco Capital, LP; Osagie Imasogie, Senior Managing Partner, PIPV Capital; and Todd Strine, CFO and Owner of Keystone Quality Transport.

“This COVID-19 crisis demands the quick disabling of barriers at all governmental levels that currently stand in the way of assisting the American people,” said Congressman Boyle. “By acting quickly and decisively, and in a bipartisan way on both the Federal and State level, we will help ‘flatten the curve’ of the Coronavirus. It is encouraging to see the speed and efficiency with which this outcome was achieved through tandem efforts from the public and private spheres. I applaud Mr. Cassell for providing his vision and leadership in the private business arena to make this effort successful and I thank the Pennsylvania State Senate members who joined the effort and made this a priority.”

“In the absence of leadership from the White House to coordinate production of critical supplies to fight the pandemic, local business owners and officials have been stepping up to fill the gaps,” said Congresswoman Scanlon. “We were able to work together to cut the red tape for these folks on the ground who want to do their part to help stem the tide of this unprecedented public health crisis. Mr. Cassell’s energy and leadership on this project has been nothing short of inspiring. He represents the very best of who we are as Americans — coming up with creative solutions and getting things done to help our community.”

“When I learned of the proposal Rob and others had, my team and I immediately began contacting our network for assistance. We are grateful for the folks who have stepped up to make this partnership possible at a moment’s notice,” said State Senator Hughes. “This exemplifies the best of us as Pennsylvanians. We have leaders, businesses and investors working together to keep businesses open and employees working, all to produce products to help keep our people safe. This partnership is a great testament to the power of working collectively to solve a major problem for the benefit of all of our communities. There will be more opportunities to replicate this level of commitment. We hope others follow this important example.”

“In times of crisis, we rediscover the creativity and resilience that make us who we are,” said State Senator Kearney. “Thanks to the partnership we forged between the public and private sectors, we can unleash the innovation and ingenuity of Pennsylvania’s vibrant distilling industry. Now more than ever, we must come together to turn our challenges into opportunities.”

“We are faced with an unbelievable health challenge in Pennsylvania and we must do our part to support our communities and first responders during a time of great need,” said Mr. Cassell. “I am grateful to Representatives Scanlon and Boyle for their leadership on the federal level and to Senators Hughes and Kearney for coordinating efforts to secure the start-up capital needed to get this project off the ground.”