For the Madera stand
Riley’s Brewing owner Dan Riley presents the 2021 California Small Business of the Year award from California State Senator Anna Caballero. Riley’s production manager Jason Webb was also on hand for the awards show.
Over a year ago, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dan Riley of Riley’s Brewing shut down his alcohol production machines and turned them into hand sanitizer manufacturing machines to help the community.
âIn April of last year, when everything was on lockdown and COVID was rampant, we took over the south side of the brewery, which is a spirit zone,â Riley said. “We used this license as part of Trump’s emergency response and started creating a hand sanitizer.”
During the six-month period, between April and September, Riley’s produced two million bottles of hand sanitizer and donated hundreds of thousands more to first responders.
âWe had a whole bunch of volunteers to launch the product,â Riley said. âWe started getting ethanol from other places and we were making what we could. We just gave so much to the community.
For this commitment to the community, California State Senator Anna Caballero last week honored Dan Riley, who also owns Steel Structures, California’s Small Business of the Year 2021.
At first, Riley started making the disinfectant for his friends. These friends told their friends and it exploded from there.
âWe’re allowed to make disinfectant because of the shortage,â Riley said in an interview in April 2020. âWe’ve gone from filling a few dozen cases to helping, and now we’re brewing 200,000 bottles a week. “
However, the first people to receive the disinfectant are the frontline workers, the first responders who need it.
âWe give everything we can to the hospital, probation wherever we need to,â he said.
Riley started making a disinfectant to help people, but found it was more than that. He was able to employ some of his workers in closed restaurants, including his, Riley’s Brew Pub.
âWe did it to help people and now there is a demand,â he said. âEveryone wants it. We were able to apply ourselves and get our industry back on track.
Caballero first contacted Riley to tell him his company had been nominated for the award. He got a call a few weeks later that he won the award.
âIt was huge,â Riley said. “I had no idea. I didn’t even know it existed. It blew me away when we won. When Anna came over and we walked her around, I think that sealed the deal. She saw what happened and what we did. It was really humbling. “
âI was able to visit Dan, his sons and his staff at Madera and was very impressed with their values ââand work ethic. Congratulations, Riley’s Brewing Co., the recognition is well deserved, âCaballero said in a press release.
Riley didn’t start producing hand sanitizer to make money. He just did it to help the community.
âWhen we’re done, we have zeroed at best. We didn’t make any money, âRiley said. âWe moved a lot of things, paid for material, but when it was all said and done, we didn’t make any money.
Riley, who is the co-chair of Madera Sunrise Rotary, said it fits perfectly with the theme of Rotary – Service Above Self.
âI have had a lot of people congratulating me,â he said. âI didn’t know he existed and I wasn’t trying to win him. We were just trying to do the right thing and get back to work.
Now that the premises are more open to the public, Riley is having different issues.
âIn fact, we’re seeing more business now than before, but I can’t get enough raw materials or people,â he said. âI don’t have enough cans, I don’t have enough steel. Everything is delayed. Everything is difficult and there are shortages. We cannot find enough people and material. I’m just having trouble getting parts.
In addition to its hand sanitizer, Riley’s Brewing produced Fire Brigade beer, the product of which helps victims of wildfires.
âWe gave a check for $ 22,000 to volunteer firefighters to people who lost their homes,â he said. âIt was a big boom in the mountains. We always keep track of the receipts and every quarter write them a check to pass on to volunteer services to keep going. “
Riley is hoping things will get back to normal soon, but he’s gotten over other crises and won.
âWe finished dealing with the bullet train in 2018,â he said. âWe made a deal to work together and not bankrupt me, to finally start after that, then COVID hits. A few years ago, it was the recession. There is always something.