Booze used to make hand sanitizer is free from taxes under the coronavirus stimulus package, as breweries and distillers ditch beer and vodka for sanitizing gels

The vodka maker Tito’s is among alcohol producers that have started making hand sanitizer. Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Companies that are using alcohol to produce hand sanitizer in the US could become temporarily exempt from paying excise taxes on that alcohol, per a section in the $US2 trillion stimulus package that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday.

A section of the package, which is meant to stabilise the American economy during the coronavirus outbreak, states that alcohol companies that are making hand sanitizer do not have to pay excise taxes on that alcohol between December 31, 2019, and January 1, 2021.

The exemption applies to hand sanitizer that is “produced and distributed in a manner consistent with any guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration that is related to the outbreak of virus SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Hand sanitizer has been selling out in stores nationwide for the past month. In response, various breweries and distilleries have shifted their focus from booze to sanitizer.

The vodka maker Tito’s recently announced plans to make an initial 24 tons of its own hand sanitizer that it would give away. The announcement came after the brand issued a warning several weeks ago that its consumer vodka could not be used as a disinfectant.