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Buhl winery makes hand sanitizer

FILER — At Holesinsky Winery outside of Buhl, they have a new business plan thanks to the COVID-19 epidemic sweeping the nation.

The winery is closed to the public, but its clients can drive up, buy a bottle of fine wine, and hard-to-find hand sanitizer.

“People wait in their cars, we sanitize before and after each person, and then we just go to their cars, give them what they need to, take a debit card and away they go," said Caitlin Holesinsky of Holesinsky Winery.

End of story right? No! While the demand for wine is brisk, hand sanitizer is flying off the shelves and the winery can’t keep up with demand.

“See, you look up there, those are empty barrels of isopropyl alcohol; those are all empties we processed on Saturday,” said James Holesinsky.

Enter James Holesinsky, Caitlin's husband and the owner of Clear Lakes Products, an Ag support company producing farm chemicals used across Idaho that is now also producing hand sanitizer.

“Because we also produce a lot of other chemicals in bulk -- and as time went on we saw the epidemic go on -- we thought we should try and do something here," he said. "And then when we realized that there were shortages, we decided to venture into it and help out locally."

After a huge first run of sanitizer they started running out of supplies. Production is just a fraction of what it was.

“We will sell 90 percent of our stock, today,” Holesinsky said.

Clear Lakes Products Chief Financial Officer Cory McDonald is frustrated.

“It was super easy to get into and then we started running into snags, with all the isopropyl we’d been allocated and pulled from inventory and then the packaging," McDonald said. "We could do 3,000 to 5,000 gallons a day if we had the support to get the product and packaging."

As the price of isopropyl alcohol skyrockets and gets harder to find, production costs skyrocket, but Holesinsky and Clear Lakes will keep producing sanitizer, not for the money, but to help people who need it.