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Bloomington distillery making hand sanitizer for the community, first responders and hospitals



INDIANAPOLIS – Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington typically runs a tasting room and restaurant but that changed this week when Governor Eric Holcomb directed bars and restaurants to close for in-person dining. State officials hope this move will help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Production is still up and running at the distillery so they can sell bottles. On Saturday, the staff also decided to make hand sanitizer for the community.

“When we heard there was a shortage of hand sanitizers, we thought ‘hey, we’ve got high proof and we have got the other ingredients, we can probably put these together,’” said Jeff Wuslich, co-founder of Cardinal Spirits.

Staff members have been making batches of hand sanitizer every day since Saturday. They use a formula from the FDA and the distillery said it also received guidance from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

The distillery uses one of their high proof spirits with an alcohol content of 96 percent.

On Wednesday, they distributed 25 gallons of hand sanitizer.

“We have had everybody from individuals that are concerned for their safety and family to large organizations like police, fire departments, local hospitals,” Wuslich said.

They are not charging anyone for the hand sanitizer. Instead, Wuslich asks patrons to donate money to their employees who rely on tips.

Amanda McKinley heard about this on Facebook. She works at a hearing aid center, Help U Hear, in Bloomington.

She quickly stopped by Cardinal Spirits to stock up for work so her coworkers and patients can stay healthy.

“I am really grateful they are giving us hand sanitizer,” she said. “We are about out and we can’t find it anywhere.”

Cardinal Spirits expects this closure will significantly impact sales. They distribute in 12 other states.

Even so, the team is working hard to help their community. They plan to keep making hand sanitizer until there is no longer a need for the extra supply.

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