Hiram Walker & Sons to produce, donate hand sanitizer 'where needed' in Windsor

The Hiram Walker & Sons waterfront distillery will be adding hand sanitizer to its production line as a way of fighting the spread of COVID-19.

Hand sanitizer will also be donated to the TTC in Toronto

The company which manages the Hiram Walker & Sons waterfront distillery says it will donate hand sanitizer 'where needed' in Windsor and to the TTC in Toronto. (CBC News)

The Hiram Walker and Sons waterfront distillery will be adding hand sanitizer to its production line as a way of fighting the spread of COVID-19.

"In coordination with local and senior levels of government, we are utilizing our production capacity and Windsor distillery to help provide hand sanitizer to areas where it is in need," said Corby Spirit and Wine, the company which manages the Hiram Walker distillery, in a statement on Thursday.

The hand sanitizer will be produced in conjunction with Hiram Walker's regular products, according to the distillery's manufacturing manager Han Ha — and will be donated "where needed" in Windsor, as well as to the TTC in Toronto.

According to Ha, the team at Hiram Walker met with officials at Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens' office to identify where bottles of hand sanitizer would be most needed, including police and fire stations, hospitals and the Canadian Border Services Agency office.

Han Ha, manufacturing manager for Hiram Walker & Sons, says the distillery is currently sourcing out other ingredients that are needed to produce hand sanitizer. (Submitted by Han Ha)

"We do have the luxury ... that we have the main ingredient in making hand sanitizer — and that is our alcohol. We just have to source out some other ingredients and we will do it in our facility," said Ha.

He added operations at the distillery "have been busy," because ingredients like peroxide and gelling materials are in short supply.

"A lot of these ingredients out there are in demand. So we are trying our best to secure as much as we can and turn this around as quickly as we can," said Ha.

"The packaging itself is one of the challenges that we have right now. We're not sure how we're going to distribute this. But what we do have is the capabilities of making it. We have the equipment to make it."

The Hiram Walker distillery is a local landmark — but not everyone gets to venture inside. This is the massive fermentation hall, home to 39 tanks.

For his part, Dilkens said he expressed great support for Hiram Walker's decision to produce hand sanitizer.

"When they called me and said, 'We want to talk about making hand sanitizer in this distillery, how much could you use?' I said, 'How much could you make?'" Dilkens explained. 

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said while the transit service is currently "well-stocked" on hand sanitizer, the company was happy to take up Corby on its offer — since some transit employees have been supplying their own personal bottles of sanitizer.

"It sounds like they're producing quite a bit and they're prepared to give us a good portion," said Green. "If we can supply our customers or our employees with more hand sanitizer, that would be great in terms of that supply."

It's not clear how the hand sanitizer will be distributed between customers and employees, Green said, but that is currently being assessed.

Hiram Walker and Sons is expected to make its hand sanitizer available by the end of next week.

With files from Jacob Barker


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?