SASKATOON -- Two Saskatoon distilleries are putting their expertise and ingredients to good use amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They're manufacturing and distributing personal hand sanitizer to all emergency and frontline workers in Saskatoon free of charge.

"We're trying to get it into the hands of the people that need it the most, the frontline workers, people who are out there putting themselves at risk trying to help everyone out," said Craig Holland, owner of Stumbletown Distllery.

Last week when there was concerns over cleaning product and sanitizer shortages, Holland said he started to think about how his business could fill this void. He quickly got in touch with Lucky Bastard president Michael Goldney to strike a partnership.

A week later at Lucky Bastard Distillery, Goldney and Holland are creating and bottling a high-alcohol sanitizer using a recipe recommended by the World Health Organization.

"It's something that's not a consumable product but works great for sanitizing," Holland said. "It has a high-enough alcohol content that it kills the virus and bacteria and everything associated with it. "There's a pretty big shortage throughout the world for sanitizer."

Goldney said he was approached by Saskatchewan Blue Cross, who agreed to cover the labelling costs for the sanitizers. Paramedics have picked up an order and police officers and firefighters will also soon have some.

"I think everybody is very grateful and I don't think anyone anticipated the panic buying and short supply," Goldney said.

As a former physician, Goldney urges people to continue to practice social distancing and thorough handwashing.

"Stay calm, hand sanitizer isn't a magic elixir that's going to protect you from the virus," he said. "The COVID-19 virus has a lipid envelope, it's very infectious and potentially deadly and we should take it seriously - but it's not the toughest virus out there. This is really easy to destroy with soap and water."

He added the priority is to delivery this sanitizer to frontline and emergency workers as well as healthcare employees with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.