Pandemic production slowing in Calgary as demand for masks, sanitizer drops

At one point in early 2020, Skunkworks Distillery paused their moonshine-making to pump out thousands of litres of hand sanitizer.

These days, the Calgary business keeps their leftover supply in a back room behind other seldom-used supplies.

Founder Marty Lastiwka dusted off the sanitizer box Saturday.

“Now, demand (is) basically zero,” he told CTV News. “I think the fear has subsided.”

It’s good news for the relatively new distillery, which has been on a rollercoaster ride since its inception.

“We opened, and then we lived and breathed hand sanitizer for the first few months of the pandemic,” Lastiwka said. “Now, this feels like it’s come full circle for us. Like that was the beginning of what the pandemic meant for us as a business, and now it’s the end of it.”

Skunkworks isn’t the only business slowing its pandemic production.

Masks – once a hot ticket item across the country – can now be found at a discount in most stores.

“(They) were the most sought after products in-store during the pandemic,” London Drugs Brentwood manager Benjamin Pullein said. “But the demand changes based on public health recommendations. Now, we’re not in any concern of running out quickly.”

You may be hard pressed to find anyone complaining, however.

Lastiwka is more than happy to churn out the product he originally opened his business to make – and he’s hoping the upcoming summer will be a profitable one. Especially because giving away homemade sanitizer wasn’t the most profitable venture.

“We have about 10 litres left, and they’re old containers,” he said. “If anyone wants some, they can come in and get one.”

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