For the Minhas Micro Brewery, it is back to bottling booze as sanitizer sales cool off

New beginnings: CO-OP Spiced Rum being bottled at Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary, on Sept 25. Minhas has restarted making alcohol in the distillery which was used to make hand sanitizer for the last 4 months. (Photo by Gurnoor Deo/The Press)

After becoming one of the biggest suppliers of hand sanitizers in Canada, Minhas Micro Brewery has gone back to making alcohol as sales of sanitizer drop.

Back in March, Minhas paused all of its distillery operations to produce hand sanitizer for organizations like Walmart, Co-op, Safeway, Fresh-Co, and Sobeys to help in the fight against COVID.

But now that COVID is not a new thing and plenty of sanitizer options are available in the market, Minhas has again started making vodka and spiced rum.

“We made tons of hand sanitizer when COVID had just hit the world and we are still making it as we have huge orders from Walmart. But the sales have definitely gone down if we compare it with the sales in April,” said Manjit Minhas, owner of Minhas Micro Brewery.

“We are all set for restarting our distillery for making alcohol. We have already got new orders for our vodka and the staff is working on manufacturing it,” Minhas added.

Minhas expects that their sales for the alcoholic products would increase as the brewery has become an even bigger name after making sanitizer. She is working hard to promote their alcoholic products.

“I definitely believe that we have become more famous after making sanitizer,  therefore, this will have an impact on our overall sales. Apart from that, we are spending a lot of money on promoting our business on social media and other platforms,” Minhas added.

She is quickly adapting to the changes and is planning to launch a series of new products to keep the production up. They are currently waiting for some final touches and approvals.

“We are quite versatile and we seem to adapt to the market quickly,” said Trent Green, distillery supervisor at Minhas Micro Brewery.

“I am not worried about us not being busy. We have a couple of new products coming out right now, and it looks like they are going to be successful and it will keep us busy for a while,” Green added.

In April this year, Minhas hired more than 40 new staff members to make sanitizer and they produced hand sanitizer at its three locations in North America.

They gave a raise to all their staff members who worked during the tough times and hired the new staff at a higher pay rate.

Apart from selling hand sanitizer to other organizations Minhas also sold hand sanitizer at its retail store, Pizza Brew, located at the Minhas Micro Brewery. According to Minhas, when it comes to sales of alcohol, the retail store, is doing pretty well.

“We sold thousands of bottles of hand sanitizers. The sales of the hand sanitizers have gone slow but there was a time when there was a long queue of around 500 people standing outside the store, just to buy the sanitizer,” said Lauren Telva, manager at Pizza Brew.

“Currently, we are concentrating on the alcoholic products and the sales are better than what it used to be last year,” Telva added.

Minhas is hoping for a bright future in the field of alcohol business as sales of hand sanitizer drop. When asked how long they will continue to produce the hand sanitizer, Manjit told “as long as it is necessary and needed.”

Helpful supervisor: Trent Green, supervisor at Minhas Distillery, picking up a box of caps at Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary Sept. 25. He has been working with Minhas since May, 2019. (Photo by Gurnoor Deo/The Press)