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Balcones Distillery hands out free hand sanitizer in Waco

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 23:03:46-04

WACO, Texas — Balcones Distillery in Waco handed out thousands of free bottles of hand sanitizer to help combat COVID-19.

A line of cars more than 15 blocks long waited hours to get one of the 100mL bottles.

Balcones offered anyone who showed up to its downtown distillery up to two free bottles of hand sanitizer.

They could also purchase up to two more. In addition, they offered gallon-sized jugs for $40.

The distillery began making sanitizer about a month ago.

Originally, the company had planned to donate it all to first responders, but the owners quickly realized the product was in high demand across Central Texas.

"It's a huge blessing that we're able to have a company out here that is able to provide that to the community, especially a product that a lot of us need right now," said Doroli Sanchez, who waited in line more than an hour to get her sanitizer.

Balcones announced they were planning to give away sanitizer just one day ago in the hopes that it would limit the number of people driving from Austin or Dallas to get some.

"We didn't want this to be a giant event," Balcones Director of Retail Operations Eric Kukla said. "We really wanted to make this hyper-local and give back to the Waco community that supported us all these years."

The community responded by showing up early to get in line. The company did not open its gates until 12 p.m., but several cars arrived nearly four hours early.

"It's great and it's sad at the same time," Kukla said. "It's sad that this product isn't readily available, that people do have to line up four hours before you open for 6.8 ounces of free hand sanitizer."

Balcones plans to take the money they made selling extra sanitizer to invest in the raw products to make more.

"Doing this does not mean that we are done donating to first responders, so all this money will be poured right back into sanitization and sourcing materials and bottles and 55-gallon drums to give to first responders," Kukla said.