VANDALIA, Ill. (WAND) - A distillery in Fayette County is working to make more than just liquor.
Cindy Radliff, Co-Founder of Witness Distillery, says their priority has shifted from making alcohol to helping the community.
"It's apparent when you go to Walmart, that people are trying to make their own hand sanitizer, because some of the products we need are not available," Radliff says.
According to Radliff, distilleries actually produce the main ingredient found in hand sanitizer.
"Eighty percent of hand sanitizer is ethanol, which is what we produce here at our distillery," Radliff says. "You also add some distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin."
Craft distillers just recently received approval from the Federal Government to produce hand sanitizer that is in compliance with the World Heath Organization's standards.
"We were trying to come up with a way that we could help with this and when we got the recipe for the hand sanitizer, we figured this is something we could do," Radliff says.
For more than a year, Witness Distillery in Vandalia has been preparing for its grand opening in September.
"We have been producing and barreling, bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, 5-grain whiskey and some rum," Radliff says.
Now, the distilleries focus has shifted. Monday, Radliff says the distillery made more than 50 gallons of hand sanitizer to give to health care workers who are at the greatest risk of COVID-19 exposure.
"It only took us less than an hour to put it together but in making the ethanol, it has to ferment for five to six days," Radliff says.
According to Radliff, community is a core value of the business and she says it's all about offering a helping hand to friends, neighbors and future customers.
"We're a community focused business, and that's what we believed from the start. That was one of our goals," Radliff says. "Anything we can do to put a halt to COVID 19, that's what we need to do."
The hand sanitizer will be given to healthcare workers first. Once their needs are met, Radliff says the distillery will try to make additional quantities to give to the public. Businesses who are in need, can reach out to the distillery on their Facebook page.