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Northland Steps Up: Furloughed Vikre employees volunteer to give out distillery’s hand sanitizer

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DULUTH, MN -- Three weeks ago, we showed you the sudden transformation made by Vikre Distillery in Canal Park.

Ordered to close, they went from making and selling alcoholic beverages to making and giving away hand sanitizer.

Demand was high and they quickly ran out, but after getting a new batch of ingredients, they got back to work.

Friday, Vikre started giving away hundreds more gallons of one of the nation's most in-demand products.

The line for sanitizer ran from Vikre to the blue bridge, and featured plenty of social distancing.

"It's kind of a necessity really," said Green Mill delivery driver Griffin Thorne.

Thorne wants the product to not only keep himself and his customers safe, but also his family.

"I deliver to quite a few people a week," said Thorne. "You can only wear so many gloves and you can only protect yourself so much, and hand sanitizer is one of the best ways to do that."

Long lines of folks getting sanitizer, but also several people working for free to make sure they get it.

"Technically I was already furloughed about 2 weeks ago," said David Moreira.

David Moreira is normally managing Vikre's cocktail room.

That changed when the pandemic began.

"We were at about 25 employees and now we're down to about three employees," said Moreira.

Even though he is not one of those three, loyalty to community and a desire to get out of the house led to a day of hard work for no money.

"A little bored at home being stuck there. I've been isolated there for already the last 2 weeks without a job, and now I'm just trying to help make sure we contribute the best we can for the community," said Moreira.

In all, Vikre will go through more than a thousand gallons of hand sanitizer in the next week.

Stepping up to help keep the Twin Ports stay healthy.

"It just shows Duluth and the community, how many people are out to help each other in the community. It's pretty awesome," said Thorne.

People also had the option to buy a pre-made gallon jug of hand sanitizer for $25.

Vikre will be open next week until the sanitizer is gone.

They plan to announce hours online this weekend.

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Dan Wolfe

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