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From spirits to sanitizer: Junction 35 distillery adapting to business changes

A Sevier County distillery is finding new ways to keep employees and serve the community.

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — Inside Junction 35 Spirits, a new product is hitting the distillery shelves.

"We are continuously making sanitizer all day," Summer Saylor said.

Saylor and her husband, Trey, had recently opened the doors to the Sevier County distillery.

"This was a bad time for everyone, but us being brand new and newly opened we really needed to find a way to be able to keep in business and keep employees working who needed to or wanted to in a safe environment... and help the community too," Saylor explained.

So after seeing a Portland, Oregon distillery swap from spirits to sanitizer, they decided to change gears as well.

"We had the means for it and need in our county for it, with ambulance services, hospitals, non-profits that needed hand sanitizer to run their businesses, so we felt the need," Trey Saylor said.

For the past few weeks, they've ramped up production using the resources they have.

"We use our actual ethanol which is how we make vodka, that we use to make hand sanitizer," Saylor explained.

"We started out just doing one size, putting sanitizer into our vodka bottles, we had to use what we had at the time, now we have evolved to a more elaborate sizing options."

The new venture allows them to keep employees working.

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"We aren't doing the jobs we were hired to do like serving food or doing marketing, but we are still getting to work," Saylor said. "Kind of crazy, but we are enjoying it. It's fulfilling because we are filling a need people have."

If you find yourself running out of sanitizer, Junction 35 Spirits is selling it every day. It's available online or via curbside pickup.

And if you stop by on Fridays, first come first served, the business is giving out a free meal to anyone who wants it.