In light of recent events with the fast spread of COVID-19, British Columbia-based Victoria Distillers, home of Empress 1908 Gin, has team up with local company Nezza Naturals, to create a free, not-for-profit hand sanitizer with essential oils and the alcohol that is leftover from each distillation.

The Empress 1908 team had been considering how to use "heads" and "tails" from their distillations to make hand sanitizer, but credits Peter Hunt, president and master distiller, who approached Sasha Prior at Nezza Naturals to get the project rolling.

 “I wanted to partner with a company in Victoria that makes local products. We knew it would be important to help our community first,” Hunt said in a statement.

Victoria Distillers supplied Nezza Naturals with alcohol which was at 90 percent. The alcohol was blened with a little water, vegetable glycerin and sweet orange essential oil resulting in a finished hand sanitizer that contains 70 percent alcohol, higher than the standard 60 percent of other hand sanitizers, it says.

The hand sanitizer is free, with priority being given to those working in essential services, i.e., clinics, doctor's offices, care homes, hospice workers, food banks, shelters, grocery store staff, and more, in the hope that this small gesture, like many others, will make a difference during such a confusing time.

Victoria Distillers is prepared and prioritizing the production and donation of hand sanitizers for the next few months, or as long as they are needed.