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Hampton Roads distilleries making hand sanitizer

Several distilleries are making money by producing hand sanitizer to keep employees working.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — COVID-19 has changed the way distilleries operate. Instead of alcohol, they are producing hand sanitizer.

Hampton Roads distilleries and companies from across the state have produced bottles of hand sanitizer for the public and first responders.

There are gallons being made in Hampton Roads.

"For example this morning we had probably 20 people lined up at the front door and I got here packaging as fast as I could. We kept up with days demand but we will be short for tomorrow," said The Vanguard Distillery owner Randy Thomas. 

Thomas is a Navy veteran and owner of the Vanguard Distillery in Hampton.  

Thomas started passing bottles of hand sanitizer out to Virginia hospitals and military bases. Then he started selling it to the public.

"It’s not an ideal situation for us but it is actually helping me get through a very tough time. It’s allowing me to pay my employees. I’m here everyday helping them make it. I’m fortunate to be able to do it," said Thomas.

Thomas said a small bottle of hand sanitizer can go a long way. 

"A 2.7-ounce bottle... I’ve been driving around with it in my truck for about 4 or 5 days. I would say an average family can go through and use a 10-ounce bottle for the whole week.”

In Virginia Beach, about 30 bottles of hand sanitizer have been passed out to law enforcement. 

“They’re having just a hard time getting some of these things just as the rest of the citizens are except they're really out there on the front lines," said 1st Virginia Public Safety Training Academy Lt. Michael Tynan. 

Tynan was sent 30 bottles from a distillery in Afton, Virginia.

“Silverback distilleries were actually donating this. We’re not paying for it we’re providing it for us for our brothers and sisters in public safety. We’re just passing it on. Since we don’t have an immediate need we want to make sure the people that do actually have them on hand." said Tynan. 

Virginia Beach Police and even a FedEx truck driver already received their bottles.

Thomas tells us they are using the World Health Organization's formula to make the hand sanitizer and got permission from the state to make it.

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