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Local Distillery Making Hand Sanitizer Amid National Shortage

Adam Quirk Cardinal Spirits

Cardinal Spirits CEO Adam Quirk pours house-made hand sanitizer into a dispenser (Seth Tackett, WTIU/WFIU News)

With demand for cleaning supplies currently outpacing supply in Bloomington and across the U.S., a local distillery is taking matters into its own hands.

Cardinal Spirits on the city’s southwest side is making hand sanitizer for people free of charge.

“A couple days ago, I noticed that the shelves were out of hand sanitizer,” says Cardinal Spirits CEO Adam Quirk. “And a friend of mine sent me an article about a distillery in Portland that was mixing up its own hand sanitizer. So I quickly looked up the recipe online, found a few recommended recipes from the FDA and World Health Organization and mixed up a batch Saturday.”

Cardinal Spirits has made three five-gallon batches of sanitizer. Quirk says each batch essentially contains two ingredients: alcohol and an emollient, or skin softener; he used vodka and baby oil for the first batch and is now using glycerin.

Quirk asks people to bring their own bottles if they want to come get some of the sanitizer.  

“We have a dispenser here set up to refill your own bottles,” he says. “We do have a couple small bottles, but we don’t have many. So we ask that if you have your own, please bring those. I do have a couple thousand bottles coming in in a couple days from our packaging supplier, so we’ll be able to make more.”

Quirk says he’s gotten requests from a number of healthcare workers. A woman stopped by Monday to get a bucket of sanitizer for the Bloomington Police Department.

Quirk says not to expect the distillery to become Cardinal Spirits and Sanitizer anytime soon. He says they’ll only continue making it until regular production and distribution can get back on track.

“We’re not licensed to sell this stuff,” he says. “We’re just giving it away in this emergency.”

Cardinal Spirits is open from noon to 8 p.m.

This article has been updated to reflect Cardinal Spirits' new adjusted hours.

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