When COVID-19 got declared a world pandemic we were definitely not in any way prepared for it. We monitored the news as it broke and made adjustments as fast as we could - upping our sanitizing and hand-washing game, closing the bar, guaranteeing our staff a month of salary after we closed, adjusting the process at the bottle shop (one person at a time, card only payments, building a dividing screen to protect the staff), launching our online delivery service, applying for government assistance due to our reduced revenues. We've had a lot of changes but one of the questions we keep getting is about sanitizer: are we making it? Are we distributing it? How can I get my hands on it?
The short answer initially was no - sanitizer is an alcohol product yes, but it is at a far higher concentration than anything we work with and requires a distilled alcohol product to make, which we were neither licensed to produce nor purchase. In researching this we connected with Last Straw Distillery to find out more and wound up working with them and the Kensington Market BIA to get sanitizer to those in the market (if you're a local still in need you can reach out to email@example.com for more on how to access that). We were also looking at providing basically strong beer to help them make the distillation process faster so they could produce more, but we couldn't work out a way for that to make sense for both sides. Instead we wound up getting a licence to purchase distilled alcohol, which allows us to now produce our own sanitizer.
We had a few priorities in doing this:
1. Could we do it cost effectively?
We're trying to protect the staff we have on board and hire back wherever possible as well as pay our rent and keep producing beer for the summer but we also don't want to price gouge those looking to stay healthy. We needed to know we could satisfy both sides of that equation to produce.
2. Could we help support something to do our part for the COVID-19 assistance?
We chose to work with Red Door Shelter. We reached out to some of our team for recommendations on places that they like to support and chose to go with Red Door. In a survey done by Statistics Canada 1 in 10 Canadian women surveyed said they were very or extremely worried about violence in the home during the stay at home mandate for COVID-19 and Red Door provides a safe space and emergency shelter for those who need it. We've decided that for every litre sold in our bottle shop or online we will donate $1 to Red Door to do our part.
On an off topic personal note if you're looking for a virtual Mother's Day present Red Door donations can go out with an e-greeting on Mother's Day and help support moms using the shelter's services - click here for details - I sent them to some of my favourite far away new Moms last year!
So how can you get some? For now we are waiting on shipments of bottles to be able to sell our products pre packaged but if you bring in your own container to the bottle shop we will pump it for you into your container of choice for $4.50/250ml container (250ml minimum purchase). If you are interested in large quantities you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The sanitizer we've produced follows WHO recommendations and is a liquid rather than gel format, meaning it can be sprayed on hands (it includes glycerine to make it more gentle) or used to disinfect surfaces. Please remember to follow normal safety protocols for sanitizing products - do not put in your eyes, do not ingest, keep away from open flame, keep out of reach of children.
Toronto East Rep/Marketer Jess posing nicely (because she lost at Paper Scissors Rock) with our new sanitizer and being careful not to put it in her mouth or eyes.
That's pretty much it!
Stay safe out there,
(we're trying to sign these posts now so you get a feel for the actual humans operating this thing)
TL;DR we sell sanitizer now!