KANSAS CITY, Mo. — J. Rieger and Company started 2020 like so many businesses in the Kansas City metro, celebrating the Chiefs winning Super Bowl 54.
Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic came crashing in. Co-founder and vice president of sales and hospitality, Ryan Maybee, said they were determined to push through.
"Oh there was no other option," Maybee said. "There was never a question. You know, as soon as that happened, no chance we were just going to fold and give up. We were going to fight."
The distillery pivoted from spirits to hand sanitizer, making more than 100 thousand gallons so far. Donating to hospitals in New York at the height of the pandemic, and grocery stores now struggling to keep sanitizer stocked.
Nathan Perry is the head distiller at J. Rieger and Company. He told 41 Action News providing the sanitizer was something he'd never imagine doing.
"Being able to do that and do it well and get that out, and kind of fulfill a need that none of us thought was going to be able to happen," Perry said. "That was such a weird feeling but it was kind of this, I was just incredibly grateful that I was actually able to do something that was helpful."
Now, the Chiefs are running it back and providing some help to the companies that kept this community afloat for the past year.
"We've got a little bit of flash but at the heart of what we do we're gritty and we're tough and we're resilient and I think that kind of goes into not just the Chiefs but Kansas City as a whole," Maybee said. "That's how I would describe our town."