Chaos ensues when distillery in Kelowna, B.C., offers away free sanitizer

A Kelowna distillery known for making apple vodka is now making apple-based hand sanitizer.

Last Saturday, it decided to hold a massive giveaway of its new product. 


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“The federal and provincial governments have done some great things, assisting Canadians through this tough period,” said Blair Wilson, Forbidden Spirits Distilling Company’s owner. 

“I thought, well, the government has helped us, let’s turn around and help out the community.”

Forbidden Spirits Distilling Company’s sanitizer giveaway, however, did not go as planned.


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On Saturday, nearly 1,000 cars were lined up along the distillery’s street, causing major traffic delays and leading police to shut the giveaway down.

“Most of the people, 99 per cent were grateful and happy,” Wilson said. “Once the police were called they came and shut it down.”

The distillery is having another giveaway this weekend, but they’re adapting after the frenzy they saw last weekend.

“We are going to register people online through our website — $5 to buy a spot in line,” Wilson told Global News on Tuesday.

“The $5 will be donated to the Kelowna Food Bank.”


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Wilson says they will be pre-selling selling a maximum of 300 tickets, adding that those who purchase a ticket and line up should expect wait times of around an hour to receive the free sanitizer.

Kelowna RCMP sent Global News a statement regarding the distillery’s giveaway.

“Just after 2 p.m. on Saturday April 11, Kelowna RCMP frontline officers were called to the 4400-block of Wallace Hill Road, Kelowna for a traffic complaint,” the statement reads. 

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“When officers arrived they found there were hundreds of vehicles waiting for free hand sanitizer and blocking the roadway. The free giveaway was suspended in order to get traffic flowing.”

Currently, Wilson says the distillery is sitting on 20,000 litres of hand sanitizer and will continue to do weekly weekend giveaways.

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