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Ont. distilleries helping fight COVID-19

Ont. distilleries helping fight COVID-19

Multiple businesses are using alcohol to make hand sanitizer

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Members of Ontario’s agri-food sector are joining the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Multiple distilleries across the province have answered Premier Doug Ford’s call for industries, if possible, to shift production to manufacture items for healthcare workers and communities.

“If you can retool your business to make these products, if you can supply these essential items, we need to hear from you right now,” Premier Ford said on March 21. “If you need funding to make it happen, we’ll find a way to help you.”

Dairy Distillery in Almonte, Ont. is one business that has stopped its vodka production to make hand sanitizer for those individuals who need it most.

“We started getting calls just over a week ago from charity groups and the Ottawa Hospital to say they’re completely out of sanitizer and can’t get any for weeks,” Omid McDonald, founder and CEO of Dairy Distillery, told

“So, we decided to stop all vodka production because frontline people in hospitals and paramedics need sanitizer. It was a pretty straightforward decision for us to help out.”

McDonald’s operation can produce about 1,500 litres of sanitizer each week. In addition to the hand sanitizer, the distillery plans to make a surface sanitizer.

Dairy Distillery purchased all the ingredients and had suppliers pitch in with free shipping, he said.

McDonald thanked those individuals facing the coronavirus head on.

“We’re a small part of this,” he said. “The real heroes are the doctors, nurses and others who are caring for people affected by the virus.”

A distillery in Sudbury is also using its alcohol to make sanitizers.

Crosscut Distillery put some of its resources into making 100-ml bottles of the product.

“We made it available for two hours (on March 21) and went through 100 bottles,” Shane Prodan, owner of the distillery, told CTV News. “We obviously want to supply those who need it most, who are on the frontlines, so (distribution is) shifting. We don’t know that we’ll be able to keep it for the public at the rate we are going through it but for now we do make it available.”

The Ontario government has created a website, Ontario Together, for any businesses interested in making products available to frontline health care workers.

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