BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After major backlash from the small-batch distilling community, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to waive a $14,000 fee it planned to impose on distilleries for the production of hand sanitizer.
The fee was originally announced on Tuesday and issued to all distilleries who make hand sanitizer, including several on the High Desert.
Those who did want to pay the fee in 2022 would have had to stop production on New Year's Eve, just two days after being notified.
"Which is very short time to plan on a large financial decision like that," said Brad Irwin, owns Oregon Spirit Distillers in Bend.
Irwin, who also heads the Oregon Distillers Guild, took aim at the fees when he was notified, saying that distilleries stepped up in an uncertain time to fill a need during the pandemic.
"It was a really stressful, high-energy, scary time," he recalled.
Irwin said despite the unknowns, many distillers we're proud to adapt and offer sanitizer to the public.
"Here at Oregon Spirit and a lot of other distilleries, if people came in with a container we would just fill it for free," he said.
To put simply: "It feels like a little bit of a slap in the face to receive a $14,000 fee."
After that interview Thursday, NewsChannel 21 was notified that the FDA was to reverse course on its decision, a move that had Irwin relieved.
"I'm thankful, as well as the 65 other distilleries in Oregon, that they made some sense out of it and decided not to negatively impact us with a $14,000 fee."