Mar. 18, 2020

Help Needed: Halifax distillery wants to give away hand sanitizer. The catch? It needs bottles


Article by Nicole Munro, The Chronicle Herald


HALIFAX, N.S. — A north-end Halifax distillery looking for small bottles to put hand sanitizer in is hoping someone can steer them in the right direction. 

Recently, Compass Distillers started to follow the World Health Organization's guide to make hand sanitizer. 

“We feel like this is the smart thing to do in a situation like this, where we are facing shortages of hand sanitizer," along with an unprecedented crisis, distiller Alex Wrathell said. 

But the company is having difficulties finding small containers to put the product in. 

“We’ve talked to some of the producers that we normally talk to for bottles and there’s a shortage everywhere,” Renae Perry, sales, event and marketing manager of Compass Distillers, said Tuesday. 

“It’s been extremely difficult.” 

Perry made a plea for help on the distillery’s social media page Monday night. 

“We had a lot of responses from people saying, oh, I have Gatorade bottles or extra bottles laying around, but unfortunately it has to be a new bottle,” she said.

Wrathell said the company was initially looking for 50-100 millilitre plastic bottles for the hand sanitizer, but is now looking at other options. 

“If we can’t find something, we’ll use our own small sample bottles, which are 50 millilitres in size and are glass, so they’re not super ideal but we can use them if necessary,” Wrathell said. 

Although making hand sanitizer “comes at a fairly high cost” for Compass Distillers, which has already closed its bar, the company will be providing it for free.

“Part of being a small business and part of being part of the city is supporting the community that supports you,” Wrathell said.

“People are super stressed out about not being able to find hand sanitizer, so if we can help just a little bit to get this into people’s hands, then that’s what we want to do,” Perry added. 

Compass Distillers has been granted permission to make hand sanitizer for free by Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming and is waiting for approval from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

Wrathell predicted the first batches of hand sanitizer will be available by early next week. 

“I’m going to try as a starting point to make about 400 to 500 bottles worth and see where we go from there,” Wrathell said. 

Compass Distillers will set up an email list with those interested and likely have scheduled pickups to allow for social distancing and organization. 

Anyone who has or knows of new small bottles Compass Distillers may use is asked to email Perry at renae@compassdistillers.ca