A Hearst company stepped up to help protect workers from COVID-19 earlier this year. Rheault Distillery that’s best known for its vodka in the region was asked to help at the height of the pandemic in March. Owner Marcel Rheault says making the sanitizer was something he felt the company needed to do to help the mining industry in the region stay open and stay safe.

“To be able to bring underground so people could sanitize their hands,” he said. “You know to keep it open otherwise the mines and everything would have had to close down. So the mining companies we’re really happy we did this.”

Rheault says the call came at a perfect time just after production had concluded.

“And if we wanted to keep the companies going in our area, we had to produce some hand sanitizer for them so that’s when we said okay lets step up to the plate and do the job we were meant to do and we did,” he said.

Rheault Distillery was given the judges award from Northern Ontario Business for their efforts. The company is looking at expanding its business to Thunder Bay in the coming months by building a whiskey and cider distillery. Rheault says Northwestern Ontario has always been good to his business and felt it was an easy decision and location to grow the company.