Okanagan Spirits Master Distiller Peter Von Hahn has been working on his days off to provide sanitizer to those most at risk in the community. (Contributed)

Okanagan Spirits Master Distiller Peter Von Hahn has been working on his days off to provide sanitizer to those most at risk in the community. (Contributed)

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery’s spirits that would have become whisky or gin is now being denatured to make hand sanitizer

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is stepping up to help those most at risk in the community, providing free hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of B.C.’s True Craft Distilleries, including Okanagan Spirits, have voluntarily converted part of its spirits operation into a hand-sanitizer production line in an effort to protect the community, as well as front line medical and essential services workers during this crisis.

“There is a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer and B.C.’s Craft Distilleries in the Craft Distiller’s Guild of B.C. were some of the first to jump into action to help flatten the curve,” said Tyler Dyck, president of Craft Distillers Guild of British Columbia.

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Okanagan Spirits has donated 7,000 bottles of sanitizer to hospitals, old-age homes, firefighters, paramedics, essential service workers as well as delivering to those in need in the community. Production is moving fast and Okanagan Spirits is filling any bottles they can in an effort to reach as many people as possible, using anything from one ounce to four-litre bottles.

Touring tasting host John McNamara along with his co-workers have been working hard, bottling roughly 3,000 litres since March 18.

“Our staff have done an excellent job at booking and staggering pickup times so one healthy representative from a qualifying front line medical or essential services group can pick up their order,” said Dyck.

“We have a staff member at the door and everyone has been spraying their hands and respecting the social distancing rules that we have in place. We feel we have done our best to ensure a safe environment for our guest and staff and people coming in for this much-needed sanitizer have been very grateful and respectful.”

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Master Distiller Peter Von Hahn has been going in on his days off to fill the much-needed bottles to help flatten the curve and while he and others are donating so much of their time, the distiller hasn’t asked for financial help until now.

Okanagan Distillers is asking for public support by purchasing its whiskies, gins, vodkas, genuine absinthe etc. The proceeds from each sale will help offset the costs and keep staff working on this crucial project.


Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
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