Things happen in Almonte” stated Omid McDonald, founder and CEO of Dairy Distillery. Aug. 25, 2020 from left to right, Minister Merrillee Fullerton of Kanata-Carleton, Jeremy Roberts, MPP Ottawa West-Nepean, Goldie Ghamari, MPP Carleton, Christa Lowry, Mayor of Mississippi Mills, and Minister Vic Fedeli attended the tour of the Dairy Distillery and the announcement of $455,000 to increase the operating capacity of hand sanitizer. Vogel photo

ALMONTE – When Omid McDonald, founder and CEO of Dairy Distillery was asked why he chose Almonte to build his dream he confidently responded that “Things happen in Almonte! You need to have the support of the community and the workforce.  If we were in Ottawa, we would be at least a year behind.”

Working with the University of Ottawa, a student there discovered a yeast that will ferment lactose. This was accomplished in a year and a half. “We are at the forefront of fermenting lactose”, said Omid. Using this technology, Omid connected with Parmalat in Winchester. Milk is collected from the dairy farmers and sent to Parmalat in Winchester. The fat is skimmed off the milk to be made into butter and other products. The skim milk is then pressed through a membrane, leaving milk permeate. This by product was being shipped by tanker loads to bio-digesters, “which are not great for the environment,” stated Omid. “We are now having deliveries every Friday from Winchester with 20,000 litres a week of milk permeate.” Another great stride in this process is after three years of negotiations with the Canadian Dairy, that did not want to have wholesome dairy connected to alcohol, Omid has received confirmation that they can now use the coveted blue cow on their products. 

Dairy Distillery started selling Vodkow through the LCBO in Ottawa last summer.  The response was so great that the LCBO is allowing Vodkow to be sold throughout Ontario. “It is very rare for a facility to sell outside of their own area”, stated Omid. 

When Covid-19 hit, and the shortage of hand sanitizer became a crisis, Omid and his team took one of their tanks and reprocessed the product to make hand sanitizer.  Dairy Distillery, donated over 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to local groups.  

Minister Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced the Ontario government is investing $455,000 from the Ontario Together Fund into the Dairy Distillery. 

This will allow Dairy Distillery to expand their current operation to more than triple the production of food-grade ethanol. Minister Fideli, proudly boasted that “Ontario now makes their own hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, N95 masks, and gowns – all pieces of the PPE are now made in Ontario.”

During the tour of the facility, Omid announced that they are now starting to make a gel version of their hand sanitizer.

Minister Fullerton asked that every one make a conscious effort to buy local and to support local Ontario businesses. Thanking Mayor Lawry for the conversations that she had with the ministers and their colleagues to bring to their attention the great value of the efforts of Dairy Distillery.

Congratulations to Dairy Distillery who will celebrate their second anniversary in November 2020.  Supporting local businesses and donating to your local community has proven to be a strength in the Almonte area.