Marion County distillers give out homemade hand sanitizer

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- As essentials like hand sanitizer fly off the shelves, two Marion County distilleries are working to fill the gap until stores can restock their shelves.

At Fish Hawk Spirits, distillers normally produce alcohol like rum and whiskey, but with concerns over the Coronavirus growing, they've also started to make their own hand sanitizer.

"If your neighbor's house is on fire, aren't you going to go lend a hand? One of our basic fundamental philosophies is we do business with our neighbors,” Owner of Fish Hawk Spirits, Matthew Bagdanovich said.

Bagdanovich has set up shop to make and package homemade hand sanitizer.

He expects his team can produce around 7,500 bottles per week, with much of that supply to be donated.

"You'd have to be a jerk not to lend a hand if you've got the ability to lend a hand,” Bagdanovich added.

But Fish Hawk Spirits isn't the only distillery in Marion County to brew up an idea like this.

James Two Brothers Distillers are also making their own hand sanitizer and offering it free to the public.

“It’s a natural fit. The alcohol that comes out of the still is perfect for hand sanitizing, in fact, we use it for sanitation of a lot of things,” Owner of James Two Brothers Distillers, Paul James said.

James said the first bottle will be free to residents, but every bottle after that will have a fee so the distillery can keep making more.

"We're thankful to be able to be a part of a solution. As long as this pandemic is in force, we'll keep the free option there,” James said.

At the end of the day, these distillers emphasize the importance of remaining calm and respectful of one another.

Bagdanovich will be packing up his supply this week. It’s expected the bottles will be delivered to Intec on NW 27th Ave about a block north of SR 40.

Bagdanovich will confirm delivery on the Fish Hawk Spirits Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Fishhawkspiritsllc/

James can be reached at 352-291-0585. More information on the hand sanitizer he is making can be found here: http://www.2brothersdistillers.com/sanitizer/