Hand sanitizer free to public at Okanagan Spirits - InfoNews

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Hand sanitizer free to public at Okanagan Spirits

Bottles of hand sanitizer are scene being filled at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. The bottles pictured were distributed to front-line health care workers. The bottles for the public will be in smaller spray bottles.
Image Credit: Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
March 23, 2020 - 11:00 AM

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery will be distributing hand sanitizer to the public for free starting Wednesday, March 25 at both Kelowna and Vernon locations.

So far, Okanagan Spirits has been prioritizing the distribution of the hand sanitizer it is producing to front-line medical workers and essential workers most at risk, according to a media release. Now the company is ready to distribute sanitizer to the public, with a limit of one bottle per person.

"We are providing this 100 per cent free of charge to the collective pandemic response effort and are trying our best to help as many as possible, please be patient as we try to focus on those that are most urgently affected and most at risk," stated Okanagan Spirits in the release. 

The sanitizer does not have any thickening agents, and will be dispensed in spray bottles. It is safe for use on skin but not for consumption, as  it is made with ethyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and a natural denaturing agent.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has made changes to policy to temporarily authorize distilleries in B.C. to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Distilleries have been approaching us asking how they can help, and this new policy directive will mean they are authorized to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizer," said David Eby, Attorney General, in a media release.

Previously, distilleries would have required discretionary authorization from the general manager of regulation branch to produce alternative products. However in light of the current pandemic, this policy has been changed.

Currently there are about 12 distilleries in the province that have begun to distribute their own hand sanitizer. 

"By the end of this week, I'd imagine half if not more will have begun the process… and are supplying to their local facilities," said Tyler Dyck, CEO of Okanagan Spirits.

The sanitizer is made from the first part of alcohol that comes off the still. This portion is non-drinkable methyl alcohol, and is typically collected and disposed of.

Okanagan Spirits is encouraging everyone to call ahead to ensure that supply is available, as daily volumes fluctuate.

In Kelowna, the store is located at 267 Bernard Avenue, and at 5204 24 Street in Vernon.  

"This is not by donation, this is our donation to you," said Dyck. "We're just asking people to pay it forward with kindness. If they want to donate somewhere else, great."

They also encourage those who are sick to not come to the distillery, and those who do to practice social distancing.

Go here for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's guide to hand hygiene.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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