OTTAWA -- The Dairy Distillery is shifting production from vodka to sanitizer to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Almonte-based distillery produces “Vodkow”, using milk byproducts to make vodka.

When the COVID-19 virus started to spread across Canada last week, the Dairy Distillery began looking for ways to help the community, including making free surface sanitizer available.

Founder Omid McDonald tells CTV News Ottawa the Dairy Distillery started looking at how they can help the community after being contacted by several local groups who were out of sanitizer. The Dairy Distillery quickly stopped production of Vodkow and the new Vodkow Cream, and switched to sanitizer.

To make Vodkow, the Dairy Distillery distills alcohol to 95 per cent purity and then dilutes it to 40 per cent for drinking. McDonald says to make sanitizer, they take the pure alcohol and dilute it to 65 per cent, then add a chemical to denature it and make it non-drinkable.

The Dairy Distillery plans to make two products: a surface sanitizer that can be sprayed and a hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer will be ready next week to distribute. 

McDonald says they can produce about 1,500 litres of hand sanitizer a week.

The first batch of 1,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be given to the Shepherds of Good Hope in Ottawa, who will then distribute it across their network.