Toronto gin distilleries are producing hand sanitizer

Spirit Of York and Reid's Distillery are among the local alcohol producers joining a global movement to combat COVID-19


Local gin distillers like Spirit Of York, Dillon’s Distillery and Reid’s Distillery are producing hand sanitizer and disinfectants to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Companies like Dillon’s Distillery are showing the Ontario spirit we hold so dear,” said Doug Ford during a Wednesday press conference. “They’re shifting their production of gin to making hand sanitizer and disinfectant and providing it for free to health care workers.”

This initiative among distilleries, which attempts to fill a demand that Purell and other hand sanitizer producers can’t keep up with, is taking hold across the globe. Distillers like Old Fourth in Atlanta, BrewDog in Scotland and Ironworks Distillery in Nova Scotia are using their in-house alcohol, mixing it with aloe vera, and giving the resulting hand sanitizer away for free – or selling it and donating the proceeds.

On Friday, Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Beamsville started making hand sanitizer with store-bought aloe. According to CBC, the distillery is distributing the 3000 bottles to police officers, front-line health-care workers, Meals on Wheels and Hamilton paramedics.

After he ran out of aloe, owner Geoff Dillon started bottling 65% alcohol to be used as a disinfectant. The company has since run dry, but is producing more.

Toronto-based gin producer Reid’s Distillery is giving away hand sanitizer in spray bottles for anyone willing to stop by their location at 32 Logan (limit one per visitor). “We, along with the entire distilling community, want to do what we can to help during this time,” the company wrote in an Instagram post.

Beginning Thursday, Spirit Of York will be selling their housemade hand sanitizer for $2.95 (limit two per customer), or giving it away for free to those who can’t afford it. Proceeds from the sale will go to local food banks, according to the company’s Instagram.

“Our sanitizer has been carefully crafted on-site at our production facility, following the strict guidelines of the World Health Organization.”

UPDATE (March 19): Corby Spirit and Wine Limited have joined the effort to produce hand sanitizer. In a statement, the company announced that their historic Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery on the Detroit River banks in Windsor will provide sanitizer to the TTC and more.

“Corby is proud to support the efforts of the Canadian and Ontario governments and communities across the country in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Patrick O’Driscoll, Chief Executive Officer of Corby. “In coordination with local and senior levels of government, we are utilizing our production capacity and Windsor distillery to help provide hand sanitizer to areas where it is in need.”

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Hand sanitizer from Toronto stores and brands

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