Okanagan distillery’s hand sanitizer nearly ready for public

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery prepares to release locally-produced product amid COVID-19

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is expecting to have its “Flatten the Curve” hand-surface sanitizer available to the public by Wednesday, March 25.

But this product wouldn’t have been possible without the support the distillery received from other businesses that donated essential components to aid in the production and distribution — Universal Packaging, Peller Estates, Univar Solutions, Speedpro Signs Vernon and Wayside Press.

“We couldn’t do it alone without their generous support,” the distilling team said.

“We are not usually in the hand-surface sanitizer business, but these are extraordinary times.”

Staff said they have been overwhelmed with trying to maintain production and distribution to hundreds of emergency medical workers, care homes, homeless shelters and other essential service sectors ranging from ambulance to public utilities and social outreach workers.

“Our plan is to focus directly on these as Phase 1, then, by Wednesday this week, we will be in a position to open this up to other sectors and also directly to the public,” staff said in an update.

Okanagan Spirits isn’t charging anything for the personal-sized hand sanitizers when they do become available to the public, but the Vernon-based distillery is aiming to “pat it forward to create an even bigger social impact.”

The distillery is asking members of the public to only take the amount of hand sanitizer they require to keep themselves and loved ones safe, and reach out to other essential service workers who may require sanitizer.

“Please call ahead if possible to check on supply as daily volumes fluctuate,” Okanagan Spirits said. “Please be understanding that we are trying to our best and a little patience might be necessary.”

Individuals who are feeling unwell are asked to stay away, but send in someone healthy to pick up a bottle of cleaner.

“If our family and staff get sick, we will not be able to continue producing.”

In the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19, social distancing and self-isolation are key, regular hand washing is a must and cleaning surfaces and killing germs with sanitizer is important.

“This is where we come in,” the distillery said. “The main ingredient in hand and surface sanitizer that kills viruses and germs in alcohol, and since we’re distillers, we love to make alcohol.”

The distillery’s 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.

”We would much prefer to put this alcohol into barrels and make world-class whiskies and gins, but we’ve decided, for now, to do battle against COVID-19.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Online roundtable sessions to help North Okanagan businesses

READ MORE: Vernon School District offers parents tips on managing kids’ stress anxiety


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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