Okanagan Spirits has donated close to 6,000 bottles of hand sanitizer as of March 27, 2020, to help fill COVID-induced shortages (Contributed)

Okanagan distillery hands out thousands of sanitizer bottles, needs help in COVID-19 fight

Okanagan Spirits is donating hand sanitizer to help fill COVID-induced shortages

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery has delivered thousands of hand sanitizer bottles to facilities running in short supply amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but says it will need help to meet an ever increasing demand.

The Vernon and Kelowna distillery has tasked itself with turning whiskey into its “Flatten the Curve” sanitizer to help fill the high demand in care homes, medical facilities and the homes of residents. As of Friday afternoon, March 27, the Okanagan Spirits have donated and delivered 6,000 to those in need in the region.

But like most other businesses, Okanagan Spirits has been hit by financial pressures due to the novel coronavirus, and as it pays out of pocket for the production cost of the sanitizer, it asks customers to continue purchasing products online.

“Every time you tell a friend about our products or give us a shout out on social media and it translates into a sale, that money helps keep us going,” Okanagan Spirits said Friday.

“This COVID-19 mess is not going away any time soon and we hope to keep making and producing the sanitizer free of charge for as long as needed.”

Okanagan Spirits is offering door-to-door delivery and assisted curbside pickup, and the distillery doors are open for those who are healthy and able to follow social distancing protocol.

READ MORE: Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Donating the alcoholic sanitizer costs the distillery $24.37 per litre, and Okanagan Spirits said the federal government still charges $12.37 excise tax on each litre donated. The distillery is petitioning for the government to waive the tax.

Not included in those totals is the cost of bottles. Okanagan Spirits purchased 4,000 bulk plastic bottles Saturday.

“Please contact us if you have bulk new plastic (preferably spay) bottles available for purchase or donation,” the distillery said.

The distillery is giving first priority to health care workers, care homes and other essential service providers before providing sanitizer to the general public.

Okanagan Spirits’ hand-surface sanitizer follows the World Health Organization’s guidelines and is made of 70 per cent denatured alcohol with added volumes of hydrogen peroxide.

The distillery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Vernon and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Kelowna. Products can be purchased online at www.okanaganspirits.com.

READ MORE: ‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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