Written by the Symplicity team
Maritime Resilience is a series of stories on how local organizations are adapting to COVID-19.
Small distillery, big impact
Steinhart Distillery adapts to COVID-19 with care and creativity
With the pandemic lockdown, Steinhart Distillery’s sales dropped by 80 percent. Exports and sales in duty free stores declined drastically due to no travel or tourism. Owner Thomas Steinhart adapted quickly to produce hand sanitizer just as Canadians needed it most.
“We wanted our hand sanitizer to be extra effective and good for the skin. It had to reflect the same exceptional quality and attention to detail as we put into our gins and vodkas. I called a few of my dermatologist friends and they recommended adding oils to keep the hand sanitizer from drying out the skin. Most regular hand sanitizers just have alcohol and water and even with aloe vera it’s not as effective as oils would be.”
Steinhart tried coconut and olive oil and found the right combination within a week. After modifying some of the machinery, Steinhart became the first distillery in Nova Scotia to start producing hand sanitizer. The company made headlines and the phones rang non-stop with orders.
Steinhart Distillery has reopened and is offering a full experience for visitors during the summer and fall months. There is an on-site outdoor cafe called the Schnitzel Shack with lots of space for physical distancing and live music every Saturday. There are chalets for rent and boat trips for visitors.
The distillery itself has been set up to accommodate a limited number of customers. There are currently no tastings or tours, but customers can order drinks and take them outside to accompany their meal or purchase cans and bottles to go. Business has been steady so far this summer.
Steinhart has been tracking the virus and believes Nova Scotia will see a second wave. He is distilling more hand sanitizer with a more efficient process so he’ll be ready to meet the demand when it happens.