Hamilton, Bermuda-based Bacardi Ltd. Announced a shift in products at the its Cataño, Puerto Rico-based premium rum distillery to help supply ethanol required to produce the much needed hand sanitizers that are in high demand as a result of COVID-19.

The Bacardi Corp. distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, where more than 80 percent of the company’s rums are produced, has partnered with Puerto Rico-based manufacturer Olein Refinery to provide raw materials that will enable the production of more than 1.7 million units of 10-ounce hand sanitizer. At 70 percent alcohol, these products are in line with the recommendations by the World Health Organization for containing the spread of the virus.

More than half a million of the 10-ounce hand sanitizer units produced in partnership with Bacardi will be donated to local communities. Bacardi also has begun distribution of the free hand sanitizers, made with the ethanol provided by Bacardi distillery, along with disinfectants produced by Olein, to USPS workers, firefighters and police. The company plans to expand distribution next week to nonprofit organizations including Fondos Unidos (United Way). Bacardi employees and contractors also received the free product.

“This is a family owned business and we know what it means to take care of a community in need,” said Jose Class, vice president of supply chain and manufacturing for Bacardi Latin America and the Caribbean, in a statement. “In the 158 years of Bacardi, we’ve endured our share of challenging times and have learned that resilience, optimism and community are what will help us come out stronger.”

The temporary shift in production began March 17 and will continue as needed. This emergency action will not disrupt the production or supply of BACARDÍ rum.

“We are extremely grateful to Bacardi for adjusting its production to provide us with raw material so that we may ramp up production of the disinfectants we need to help keep the people of Puerto Rico safe,” said Jorge González, president of Olein Refinery, in a statement.