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North Bay brewer switches to hand sanitizer to combat COVID-19

Hospitals, pharmacies, and grocers among beneficiaries of New Ontario Brewing efforts

A popular North Bay brewing company is retooling into a licensed distillery to help with the hand sanitizer shortage.

New Ontario Brewing Company will operate as PureNorth Medical and produce more than 100,000 litres of hand sanitizer in response to the federal government’s call for urgently needed supplies.

Orders will be delivered to area hospitals, pharmacies, and grocers, as well as donated to senior care facilities and first responders. Some sanitizers will be donated while some will be sold at cost. The sanitizer will be available for purchase in stores locally as soon as production allows.

Owners Michael Harrison and Christian Tremblay are working in partnership with NECO Community Futures Development Corporation to start this project and assist in the financing.

The project will result in the recall of 10 staff and the hiring of five new staff to operate two shifts around the clock to ensure production.

The project came together in just a few short days.

“It is very important that the public not come to the brewery at this time,” said Harrison.

His staff is maintaining strict isolation, since the risk of crew members becoming infected is too high and would jeopardize the operation.

Others are playing important roles in this initiative, including the administration and engineers at iCAMP/Canadore College, Rod’s Heating, Donald M Seguin Construction, G&P Welding, Kins Brae Packaging, Vaughan Paper, Sharkey’s Plumbing & Heating, and Brew Culture brewing supplies.

Many of these providers donated and continue to donate their efforts to making sure the distillery/sanitizer plant gets up and running as quickly as possible. 

NECO is one of 24 Community Futures Development Corporations located across Northern Ontario that are ready to assist small businesses face the current crisis.

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