Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Beamsville has modified production and is creating special batches of hand sanitizer and disinfectant.
Geoff Dillon, the founder of the Beamsville company, started making the hand sanitizer last week using its own supply of alcohol and store-bought aloe.
He has since taken to bottling up 65 per cent alcohol that can be used as a disinfectant, noting that “there seems to be a need and we have a big building full of alcohol.”
Dillon adds that they are keeping it strong so that it’s “perfect for killing germs, bacteria and viruses.”
The free hand sanitizer has been made available to local police, hospitals, long-term care homes, municipalities and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hospitality Manager Whitney Rorison says they started out by making the free hand sanitizer available to “guests as they were coming in and including it in online orders as a little token.” It has since been made available to local police, hospitals, long-term care homes, municipalities and others on the front lines.
Dillon says they had distributed more than 3,000 bottles to front-line health-care workers and other essential services by Wednesday afternoon.
He adds that it’s been “mayhem” since they announced what they were going to be doing on social media Tuesday, and the plan is to keep producing it as long as there is demand.
Rorison says it all started Monday with a conversation and “feeling like we needed to contribute more and do more to help” during the current pandemic.
A number of other Ontario distilleries are doing their part to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Toronto’s Spirit of York Distillery has also re-dedicated its production facility towards producing hand sanitizer for local residents that meets World Health Organization standards.
Spirit of York’s hand sanitizer will be offered starting Thursday at it’s historic Toronto distillery district. Company founder Gerry Guitor says proceeds from the sale will be going to local food banks.
He adds that “using our facilities to produce hand sanitizer seemed like a perfect way to support the public while also giving back to more vulnerable communities.”
Meanwhile, a Guelph, Ont. distillery, known for its vodka and gin, is also making free hand sanitizer.
Dixon’s Distilled Spirits started production on the disinfectant this week out of their facility on Elmira Road with the priority to supply frontline workers, such as first responders, doctors and other healthcare workers.
“We have the ability to help out and we said why the hell not. We’re all in this together,” part-owner Chevy Patterson said over the phone on Tuesday.
“As a small business we’re very, very vulnerable with what’s coming in the next few months and things are going to get really tight, so we decided if we can do our part, the sooner we can get out of this.”
While they are supplying it at no charge, he admits costs will soon start to become an issue for the small company as they plan on still producing their gin and vodka.
“I’m hoping there’s gratitude at the end of the tunnel when people walk into an LCBO,” he said. “Maybe it’ll sway them to buy a bottle of Dixon’s Vodka instead of a Smirnoff because ‘hey, I remember those guys, they helped out when they could.’”
With files from Matt Carty
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