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Candella micro-distillery finds success with hand sanitizer

“We went from working about an eight-hour day to about a 16-hour day,” said owner Bill Candella. His company has donated hand sanitizer in bulk to frontline workers.

[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]

BOARDMANCandella Micro-Distillery typically specializes in vodka, bourbon and other spirits.

To help meet the high demand for hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic, Candella switched its product line to produce hand sanitizer and face masks for retail and frontline workers 

Bill Candella started Candella Micro-Distillery seven years ago as Youngstown's only full-scale distillery. 

“There were already a bunch of wineries and breweries [in the Mahoning Valley] and there were only three or four distilleries in all of the state of Ohio, so we wanted to do something different,” he said. 

Candella said he’s always had two or three jobs since his teenage years, and when it came time to retire he just “couldn’t sit still.” He decided to give up retirement and start Candella Micro-Distillery in 2013. 

Candella’s Micro-Distillery is most known for its award-winning Y-Town Vodka and Boom Boom Bourbon, but it also sells a variety of brandy, gin, mead, moonshine, rum, rye, wine, wine-making supplies and honey locally sourced in Salem. 

According to Candella, with the sales of liquor and hand sanitizer, the micro-distillery has seen an increase in business since the start of the pandemic. 

“We went from working about an eight-hour day to about a 16-hour day,” he said. “This week is probably the slowest week we’ve had in over two months.” 

Candella Micro-Distillery has also donated hand sanitizer in bulk to frontline workers, including Meridian Healthcare, Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership, Howland Township Fire Department and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning County. 

“[We’ve donated to] police and fire departments from Cleveland all along down the [Pennsylvania] border all the way down to Steubenville. So we donate to the hospitals for free, the police department for free, fire department for free and the first responders,” Candella said. 

The hand sanitizers can be purchased at Candella Micro-Distillery, 4440 Market St., Boardman, the Candella Micro-Distillery kiosk inside the Eastwood Mall Complex or online at https://candella-distillery.com/. 

Prices include: 

  • 4-ounce bottle is $2
  • 8-ounce bottle is $5
  • 16-ounce bottle is $10
  • 24-ounce bottle is $15
  • 1-gallon bottle is $35
  • 3.5-gallon bottle is $100
  • 5-gallon bottle is $175 

But when the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic start to decrease, will Candella Micro-Distillery continue to make hand sanitizer? 

“That's the magic question,” Candella said. “We're just trying to help out during the pandemic and trying to do our part. The first responders have a tough job to do.”