The new coronavirus pandemic may be hurting businesses, but it is also providing a chance for some entrepreneurs to show their charitable spirits.
When news of a shortage of disinfectant first came out, Raoul Masangcay, owner of Elias Wicked Ale and Spirits in Quezon City, Metro Manila, first thought of making sanitizers for his workers and customers.
When the scope of the new coronavirus pandemic because clear and a liquor ban was declared with the lockdown, Raoul began looking beyond merely providing another product. This situation, he realized, had given him and his team an opportunity to help stop the spread of the disease.
“All of us will be affected if no one lends a hand,” he told LiCAS.news.
With his brewpub left empty and a lot of barely intended for craft beers left in stock, Raoul and his team decided to turn the staple into 70 percent ethanol.
Raoul said his sanitizer “is guaranteed to be effective”, even if it is made from barley and sugar.
But Raoul and his team are not just dispensing their hygienic wares. They are also sending “prayers along with the bottles” of alcohol labeled “Spray for Manila,” a portmanteau of “spray” and “pray.”
“In times of crisis, we need to help each other, but much more, we need to pray for Manila as well,” said Raoul.
“Praying makes us stronger together, and with faith, this too must pass,” he said.
After two weeks of fermentation and distillation, Raoul’s team was able to make 1,600 bottles of alcohol, which were donated to five hospitals across the capital.
“Liquor is one of the products that are perceived to put zest in people’s lives … now we can see that in this crisis, it can also save people’s lives,” said Raoul, the first beer sommelier in the country.
While helping, Raoul has also had time to rethink how he’ll handle his business down the line, including expanding into the delivery of food and beer.
“I also thought of expanding our production of root beer, which has a wider consumer base, or including sanitizer alcohol in our product line,” he said.
For now, Raoul said he wants to focus on how else he can help, especially since the initiative also requires funds for ingredients, like barley.
The first batch of alcohol was funded by Raoul himself, while the second was supported by family and friends.
“It feels good to help others in such challenging times, but we are just a small business,” he said. “So, we might have to sell half of it just to help fund and sustain this initiative,” added Raoul.
“Hopefully more people can help so we can give them all for free. Who knows?” he said.
With the growing demand for alcohol, Raoul and his team are in the process of brewing their third batch of Spray for Manila.
Hopefully, their prayers for the country will be answered sooner rather than later.