Almonte distillery gets $455K to produce hand sanitizer made from milk sugar

An Almonte-based startup that makes vodka, cream liquors and other spirits from milk byproducts has received $455,000 from the provincial government to beef up its production of hand sanitizer in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Dairy Distillery pivoted to making hand sanitizer early in the pandemic, and so far the company has donated more than 30,000 bottles of the alcohol-based, germ-fighting product to local groups in need. 

The new funding will allow the distillery to more than triple its output of ethanol made from milk sugar, which used to go to waste but is now being used to produce hand sanitizer, the province said Tuesday.

“As we continue on the path to economic recovery, projects like this will ensure that Ontario is ready with solutions when and where they are needed,” Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, said in a statement.

Dairy Distillery plans to buy new equipment and expand its production facility to meet growing demand for its products.

“This funding will allow us to make 220,000 litres a year of sustainable alcohol for hand sanitizer,” Omid McDonald, the founder and CEO of Dairy Distillery, said. “It will save two million litres of sugar from being wasted each year, helping the environment and Ontario dairy farmers.”

McDonald said the company hopes to have the additional facilities up and running by the end of the year.