NEW RICHMOND — Employees from New Richmond’s 45th Parallel Distillery logged big miles on their fitness trackers Monday morning jogging back and forth between customers and a large steel tank full of 250 gallons of homemade hand sanitizer.

Cars started lining up on Madison Ave. well before the 9 a.m. March 23 eventually wrapping around onto New Richmond Way.

Owner Paul Werni said he got the idea from a distillery in Oregon and decided he could do the same for residents and businesses in New Richmond and the surrounding area.

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“Two weeks ago, we started getting requests, people asking about it. It was happening in Oregon and out east. People were sending us links and asking, “Are you going to do this?” I decided yes, I guess we could do this. We have waste alcohol here that would work for that. We went to the World Health Organization website and got the recipe from them,” Werni. said

Werni brewed up his first batch, which he and his employees began distributing for free at the curbside this morning.

They were greeted by a succession of customers, many of whom had waited patiently for more than an hour, eager to get a fill-up and grateful to Werni for deciding to step up and use his facility and employees to help out his community.

Individuals were limited to one quart per, businesses to one gallon and everyone needed to provide their own containers.

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Werni plans to continue brewing more hand sanitizer as long as he can locate ingredients, although the overwhelming demand has gotten costly and donations are appreciated, he said.

If all goes as planned, Werni said he hopes to have another 250-500 gallons ready to distribute this Friday, March 27.

Check the website, https://45thparalleldistillery.com, and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/45thParallelDistillery, for the latest updates.

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