Canadian Manufacturing

Ethisan launches plant-based, food-grade hand sanitizer

Ethisan's all-Canadian formula was crafted by Last Straw Distillery and approved by Health Canada in April 2020

February 19, 2021  by CM Staff

Ethisan offers a variety of products in different formats, from hand held gel dispensers, to liquid sprays and surface cleaners. (CNW Group/Ethisan)

VAUGHAN, Ont. — Ethisan, an all-Canadian plant-based hand sanitizer, has officially launched. Ethisan is made from a proprietary formula with just seven ingredients, including 70% USP wheat ethanol grown in the Canadian prairies.

“It’s the highest quality ethanol you can get,” said Fred Carroll, the general manager at Last Straw Labs, Ethisan’s parent company. “There’s no possible way we could spend more on base ingredients and that is why it is night and day when you compare it to other sanitizers on the market.”

Last Straw Labs, an offshoot of a small batch distillery in Vaughan, Ontario, began working on its hand sanitizer formula in early 2020 at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to government calls for small businesses to step up and address looming shortages, Last Straw Distillery immediately diversified and shifted from distilling spirits to manufacturing hand sanitizers around the clock.

Ethisan, the largest importer of ethanol in Canada, is continuing to ramp up production as it looks to keep pace with retail demand as well as the demand created through its private branding distribution and association with St. Regis Group, one of the largest suppliers of corporate giftware and retail brands in North America.

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Last Straw was the second distillery in the country to be granted approval from Health Canada, at which point Last Straw Labs began giving out its product free to healthcare workers and essential businesses.

Carroll maintains the guiding principle for creating the formula wasn’t so different than creating spirits: use high quality ingredients and keep it simple.

Last Straw Distillery’s longstanding relationships in the beverage industry has allowed it to procure a steady supply of USP food-grade ethanol, the same ethanol used in its spirits. The resultant sanitizers and cleaning products are not only eco-friendly and safe for children over two, but also gentle on the skin.

“What we know from spirits is that wheat-based alcohols are soft on the nose and palate,” Carroll said, recalling their initial experiments with Ethisan’s formula. “So we asked, ‘Why wouldn’t that translate to sanitizers?’ It needs to feel good and smell good. All while maintaining the highest purity available (USP Beverage grade)”


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