Hand sanitizer sold by a distillery is only one example of the ways businesses in Penticton have been pivoting their focus during COVID-19.
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Many businesses in Penticton have faced extreme challenges in the face of COVID-19. Instead of giving up, business owners have become creative and found ways to pivot and adapt while also giving back to the community.
Maple Leaf Spirits owner Jorg Engel never imagined he would be making hand sanitizer at his Naramata Bench distillery.
“I distill fruit usually but here we were in the middle of March during a world pandemic,” said Engel. “With the first batch of hand sanitizer I made 400 litres. I thought it would last forever.”
He sold out in four days.
Best known for his award-winning fruit liqueurs and grape brandy Lady of the Cask, which won Best in Canada last year, Maple Leaf is now becoming known for its quality hand sanitizer too.
“We make ours 80 per cent alcohol, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide. Most sanitizers will dry out your skin but ours actually rehydrates your hands.”
They are now offering 300 ml pump sanitizer in a blue bottle for $12.50.
“It’s a very beautiful bottle, we are pretty happy with how it turned out,” he added. Maple Leaf also offers other sizes of hand sanitizer.
“We have 4,000 litres of hand sanitizer available. A lot of retail stores are getting ready to re-open to the public so we have been quite busy selling to stores here and in Vancouver," Engel said.
“We sell cheaper than places like Walmart because it’s about helping the community, not making a profit.”
But Engel is worrying about the summer and what his business will be like if tasting rooms are not allowed to open.
“Our spirits aren’t in liquor stores so we rely on tourists and walk-in traffic,” he said. Engel hopes the community and loyal customers support them by doing curbside pick ups of their liqueurs and brandy. He also delivers if the purchase is over $50.