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Lewisville distillery making hand cleaner for community during COVID-19 crisis

Hand sanitizer is hard to come by during the coronavirus outbreak. Bendt Distilling Co. is making hand cleaner and giving it to people for free.

LEWISVILLE, Texas — With coronavirus spreading, this week has been a change of pace for Natasha DeHart. She and her husband own Bendt Distilling Company in Lewisville. 

Over the weekend, they stopped the tasting hall, tours and events at the distillery. 

"Essentially half of our staff just became unemployed," said Natasha. "Yeah. We're all scared."

She's been doing everything she can to keep her shop clean, and noticed how hard it is to find hand sanitizer in stores. Natasha decided to make her own hand cleaner and give it to her staff.

She decided to make some for law enforcement, first responders, nearby businesses and even customers too.

"It's made with the first spirit that comes off the still, and it's not really suitable for consumption. It's very high proof," she said. 

Natasha dilutes it with water, xanthan gum and a drop of essential oil for smell. She said it contains 70 percent alcohol, more than the 60 percent minimum recommended by the CDC.

"It just became obvious that there was a bigger problem and so we started looking at ways that we might be able to fulfill that need," said Natasha.

Word spread about this project. In three days, her team handed out more than 1,500 free bottles of hand cleaner. 

She bought as many plastic 4-ounce bottles as she could find, but quickly ran out. On Wednesday, she resorted to mini liquor bottles as a way to keep going.

She said, "They don't have the convenient dispenser top, but we will do what we can. We will keep handing them out."

Even though her business is feeling the impact of the COVID-19, Natasha hopes the free hand cleaners will help the community through this crisis.

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