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Ontario distillery crafts homemade sanitizer for frontline workers

Their supply of more than 5,000 bottles was exhausted in days, however wineries and importers from across the region have stepped up to help.
By: Madeleine Hall
March 21, 2020
Photo: @dillonsdistills (Instagram)
Photo: @dillonsdistills (Instagram)

Dillon’s Distillery in Beamsville, ON is best known for their innovative lineup of small batch liquors, including Rose Gin and Absinthe, to which they can now proudly add “Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer”. Though not potable, their sanitizer is made of high proof alcohol distilled on site and aloe vera. Conventional hand sanitizer has become a scarce commodity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already a socially conscious company, their spent rye is given to local farmers to use as animal feed according to their website, Dillon’s is offering their free sanitizer to those who need it most: hospitals, shelters, long term care facilities, EMS teams, police departments, and other essential services.

In an Instagram post, the distillery shared that although their supply of more than 5000 bottles was exhausted in just a few days, wineries and importers from across the region have stepped up to help, offering supplies like bottles and alcohol. Dillon’s initial tweet announcing the product has been favourited over 10,000 times.

View this post on Instagram

This has been a wild ride. Since Tuesday’s post we have had thousands of emails, phone calls, messages from every form of front line worker from all across the province. Hospitals, homeless shelters, EMS, police, fire, nursing homes, dr.’s offices, friends, new friends, family and so many more. We have shed more than a few tears here hearing the stories and are trying our absolute best to help. More than 5,000 bottles have gone to keep these people at least somewhat safer in what they do. Currently we have exhausted stockpiles of aloe for hand sanitizer but we have scaled up our disinfectant with the unbelievable generosity of some of our industry friends donations of bottles, caps and alcohol @vinelandestates @andrewpellerimports @tawsewinery @timmydwilson We have more and are continuing for essential services. If we haven’t gotten back to you we are sorry. If you are an essential service and need a disinfectant please email us (info@dillons.ca) and we will schedule a pick up. All phone lines have been tied up for two days and there’s nobody left to answer them. We are exhausted but are doing our best and will continue. We have received thousands of messages of support (which also made us cry) so thank you to every one of you for pushing us to keep going. Once again, we have not, are not and will not charge for this. If you’d like to support us, buying our spirits from our online store or lcbo really makes a difference to a small company like us. This is non-potable and made to be used as a disinfectant for surfaces. You can not drink this. It can be used in a spray bottle on hands (no moisturizing aloe though so may want to moisturizer afterwards), tables, keyboards, ambulances, any surface.

A post shared by @ dillonsdistills on

The heartwarming tale even made it past the desk of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who tweeted calling the act: “...the heart of Ontario spirit.”

Dillon’s encourages those keen to support the initiative to purchase their regular products from either their online store or the LCBO.

Sources: CBC, Twitter, Instagram

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