Calvin Reid from Reid’s Distillery in Toronto described the foundation of the distillery at the beginning of the pandemic and its near-death collapse of marketing opportunities to its current thriving business.  Along the way Reid’s created a community-oriented hand sanitizer product they gave away to community members, hospitals, and first responders.  The product was made from waste byproducts of the gin distilling process.
The business started when the family realized there was an opportunity for flavoured gins beyond the typical products offered in the LCBO.  With a  background in craft brewing, the Reids took a gamble and set up a gin distilling business in East Toronto.  Just as they started the pandemic hit and they felt their business was doomed.  Unable to market through the LCBO and limited by the pandemics impact on their retail store, they saw no way forward.  In desperation and looking for a way to get rid of some of the distilling byproduct they created hand sanitizer which was in short supply and subject to panic buying in the early days of the pandemic.  Since they could not sell the alcohol-based product, they gave it away.  The give away program gained media attention and gave their brand name some customer awareness, they started making gin again and needed a way to get the product out in the market.
Blocked from normal distribution channels and unable to make presentations to the LCBO because of covid restrictions, this family-owned business set up its own distribution channel by providing a home delivery service with no minimum order quantity.  In addition to gin the Reids provided mix to customers to go with gin and developed a new outlet for their business as a cocktail ingredient supplier and on line cocktail creation instructor. Word of mouth and promotional activities resulted in a thriving business once the pandemic restrictions eased.  Their products are now available through the LCBO.
Calvin’s prestation is a tribute to small business and the ability of entrepreneur’s pivot quickly when an opportunity presents itself.