One of the hottest commodities right now — other than toilet paper — is hand sanitizer. Because of this, two Calgary breweries have changed their business plans and have begun mass producing hand sanitizer. The companies hope that by doing this, they will be able to save their businesses while simultaneously helping with the seemingly universal shortage of hand sanitizer.
In times of hardship, you can tell a lot about a community based on how they react. In Alberta, the community is coming together to help others by making and distributing their own hand sanitizer.
Euan Thomson of Raft Beer Labs began this project with Andrew Bullied, founder of Annex Ale Project.
Altogether, the initiative involves Annex Ale Project, Raft Beer Labs, Two River Distillery, and Confluence Distillery in addition to a growing number of other breweries and distilleries throughout Alberta.
By working as one, the companies are hoping to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer by providing it for both residents and health institutions.
After scrambling to stay afloat amid the crash in sales due to the spread of COVID-19, the partners were looking for ways to keep staff working. That is when they noticed a unique market amongst the chaos.
This is when the mass production of hand sanitizer in a brewery was born. As of now, the partners have made trial batches.
The goal of the brewers is to make around 6,000 cans of hand sanitizer per week out of the Annex facility alone. But by working with partners, this could increase.
If all goes well, the product should be on grocery store shelves by next week.
Bullied and Thomson are working closely to ensure that this project is a success. Together, they are following a recipe protocol that was released by the World Health Organization.
The WHO website states the mixture contains hydrogen peroxide, glycerol, and 80% ethanol.
It starts off as a wash that then has the ethanol removed, to create the base of the hand sanitizer.
To the untrained eye, this recipe may seem daunting, but to two brewmasters, it’s no big deal.
Bullied told the Calgary Herald that they would be using their very own commercial-grade stainless steel vat to make the product.
Once made in the vat, the sanitizer would be canned. This would mean that once purchased in stores, customers would need to transfer it into a different sealed container to ensure the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
As of now, the team has told Narcity that they have not halted any beer production but they are prepared to do so should the demand not be met.
The dynamic duo has been friends for years and while they never pictured themselves mass-producing hand sanitizer, they “have grown used to surprises over the years.”
These breweries are not the only Alberta companies doing their part to help others.
Food companies in Edmonton have created a YEG Survival Kit that is full of all-local goodies. They will even deliver it right to your home.
Even the Calgary Zoo is helping to beat your boredom by live-streaming their pandas. If you have yet to see them, you’re missing out.