Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

NEW PRODUCT FOR ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL – Yukon Brewing’s new hand sanitizer is being made available to first responders and essential service workers.

Reaction ‘enthusiastic’ as local brewery makes hand sanitizer

Yukon Brewing has begun making hand sanitizer, and will be providing it to first responders and essential service workers free of charge.

By Gabrielle Plonka on March 23, 2020

Yukon Brewing has begun making hand sanitizer, and will be providing it to first responders and essential service workers free of charge.

“We certainly sit here, sometimes, feeling a little bit helpless watching what’s going on around us, so it’s nice to do something,” company president Bob Baxter told the Star this morning.

The Yukon Brewing team was already considering making hand sanitizer when an RCMP official made a request of the distillery, due to local shortages of the product.

“That connected the dots for us, that this is more than just a thought or a theory, that this is a real need,” Baxter said.

Distilleries making hand sanitizer is a growing trend in North America, because of their capacity to handle ethanol –– one of the main ingredients.

On Sunday, B.C.’s Attorney General, David Eby, officially authorized all B.C. distilleries to make and sell hand sanitizer amid “unprecedented times,” side-stepping the need for case-by-case authorization from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. A handful of B.C. distilleries were already making the product.

Yukon Brewing made its first 40-litre batch of sanitizer last week. The RCMP distributed the sanitizer among police officers and firefighters.

A second, larger batch of 600 litres is now being mixed and will be distributed to first responders, daycares and health centres. 

Baxter said the brewery has ordered the raw materials to make more, but it will be two to three weeks before those arrive. He’s also waiting on an order of plastic containers to bottle the sanitizer.

The first batch of sanitizer was given to the RCMP in pails, and the next batch will be bottled in the brewery’s 2019 Christmas growlers.

Baxter said his company has devised a “pecking order” to ensure that Yukoners who are most in need of the sanitizer will have access to it.

This means prioritizing first responders and essential service workers at daycares, grocery stores, drugstores and Air North.

“We want to keep those people safe,” Baxter said.

Once these individuals are provided for, he added, there is the possibility of selling sanitizer to the public.

While Baxter awaits the shipment of extra supplies, he is endeavouring to conserve the upcoming 600-litre batch, which he said “sounds like a lot” but is likely to be used quickly.

Yukon Brewing is making the sanitizer based on a recipe provided by the World Health Organization and is 75 per cent alcohol, then made undrinkable by hydrogen peroxide. 

The mixing of the sanitizer is not currently disrupting production at the brewery.

That will change if Baxter starts distilling the alcohol in-house, rather than buying it.

Baxter noted that distilling would tie up equipment and take time, but is a possibility if ethanol becomes unavailable on the market. The brewery is currently waiting on a shipment of ethanol.

Baxter said there has been a positive response to the effort so far.

“The reaction has been enthusiastic,” Baxter said.

“I thought we might get deluged with requests, but everyone’s been pretty respectful.”

Comments (7)

Up 2 Down 1

vlad on Mar 29, 2020 at 9:57 am

Looks like vodka, tastes, well, pretty close, and hopefully way cheaper.

Up 6 Down 14

Mad Trapper of Riverdale on Mar 27, 2020 at 7:11 am

So the RCMP approached Yukon Brewing to produce a small batch of hand sanitizer after most distilleries in Canada were already making it but somehow they are heroes. At least they found a use for all those Christmas growlers that didn’t sell.

Up 16 Down 22

Pierre on Mar 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm

Will we be able to tell the difference between the sanitizer and their Chilkoot Beer?

Up 27 Down 10

Anie on Mar 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Yukon Brewery is one of many excellent corporate citizens. The Yukon is fortunate.

Up 32 Down 9

Cindy on Mar 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm

So great to hear someone stepping up quietly just to help people. Bravo to you for helping out in a time of need

Up 18 Down 4

JC on Mar 23, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Great news. Congrats. Now could you produce some toilet paper? LOL

Up 51 Down 11

Fawn on Mar 23, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Bravo! This is wonderful!

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