From blocking defensive lineman to blocking germs.
Former Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman Kevin Lefsrud is using his distillery near Viking, Alta. to make hand sanitizer.
“It’s been an amazing learning experience,” said Lefsrud, 43, who retired from the CFL in 2007. He’s since been working the family farm near Viking. About six years ago, they started making honey liquor.
“Neighbours got into honey. They had a lot of it,” recalled Lefsrud. “You can only put so much it on toast. Next thing you know, we were making alcohol. We were making good-tasting alcohol. People started wanting to buy it.”
Section 35 Farm Distillery is named after the land it sits on, as part of a 116-year-old Alberta farm. In 2019, it churned out 5000 bottles.
“What we do is very small batch, very unique flavour,” Lefsrud said.
In 2019, their Bad Teacher apple spiced honey liquor won Best in Class at the Alberta Beverage Awards. But as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sales slowed.
“March hit this year, and we had no real sales. We had a couple of sales in April. It’s pretty slow,” Lefsrud said.
“There was a lot of communication between all the distillers and brewers in Alberta. I was reluctant to get into it. I would rather wash my hands with dirt than alcohol. To me, that’s a waste of good alcohol,” joked Lefsrud.
“The need was so great, I think just about every distiller out there said yes.”
Bee Maid Honey donated the bottles and Section 35 started churning out sanitizer.
“We put glycerine in the alcohol. You put it on your hands and it’s a little oily. Then the alcohol evaporates, the oil goes into your hands, and you get a little kiss of honey at the end,” Lefsrud said.
They have a couple of contracts for the sanitizer. Other than those, Lefsrud said they’re supplying it to anyone who needs it.
“To make a product that people need and people want, it’s quite nice to know.”