Hand sanitizer for sale at the Bulkley Valley Wholesale. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Brewery adapting to changing times

Smithers Brewing Co. now producing and distributing hand sanitizer

Smithers Brewing Co. is adapting to the changing times and is now producing hand sanitizer, along with its beer.

The tap room was closed for several weeks during the height of the pandemic and staff at the brewery decided to get creative on how to bring in income and decided to produce and distribute a hot commodity.

“We took a hit with COVID,” said co-owner Adin Bennett. “Even with our taproom open now, the revenue is at a fraction of what it was before. We are hoping this helps us keep the lights on. And when things go back to normal one day we’ll still be around.”

They started the process about a month ago when the government lifted restrictions on who could produce sanitizer, allowing the brewery to make it.

“The tricky part for us is we don’t actually have the distilling equipment,” said Bennett. “So even though the government gave us the green-light, we had to stickhandle around how we produced it. But we figured that part out. “

Instead of distilling a sugar wash, they’ve sourced out 95 percent ethanol and blend it from there with a specific recipe.

They are using their current infrastructure to bottle it.

“We fill our 473ml beer cans and change the labels. We added a sticker over the top that says do not drink so there is no confusion,” he added.

The sanitizer is available for purchase locally at the brewery and can be found at Bulkley Valley Wholesale, as well as a few other retail locations in town.

“It’s another local product that can be purchased here in our town and hopefully people choose to shop locally,” he said.

Smithers Brewing Co. also has plans to donate some to non-profit organizations and other people that need it and can’t afford it.

They also offer it in bulk for different enterprises such as hotels and are now sending it to businesses all around the province.

However, once the pandemic is over, they don’t have plans to keep making sanitizer.

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