From spirits to sanitizer: Retired prof's distillery shifts focus during pandemic

- May 5, 2020

Samples of Raging Crow's distilled hand sanitizer. (Provided photo)
Samples of Raging Crow's distilled hand sanitizer. (Provided photo)

A shift in focus has helped a local distiller to produce in excess of 2,000 litres of hand sanitizer at a time when hygiene products are in short supply.

A retired horticulture professor from the Faculty of Agriculture in Truro, Kris Pruski used to distill in his home country of Poland.

‘When I was teaching ‘Small Fruit Crops’ during one of the labs on the Ag Campus, we were making wine and I was often thinking why not to take it one step further and distill it,” he explained.  “When I retired, I got together with my friend and now business partner, Jill Linquist of North River and following a few discussions we decided to open the distillery.”

Raging Crow Distillery in North, River, named after the many crows around the area, produces several different spirits including vodka, rum, gin and variety of different liqueurs. With the current social distancing protocols in place because of the COVIC-19 pandemic, it has provided an opportunity for the distillery to branch out and produce hand sanitizer.

“It’s nice that in a time of difficulty, we’ve been able to shift our focus and help out society with a much-needed product,” says Dr. Pruski.

To date, Raging Crow has produced approximately 2,000 litres of hand sanitizer, some of which has been donated to fire departments, Truro Police Service and the VON. His biggest surprise has been the flexibility of the distilling system.

“The distilling system is very flexible, our biggest challenge has been the availability of adequate bottles and containers for the hand sanitizer," says Dr. Pruski.

Raging Crow’s best-selling product is now hand sanitizer followed by Dill Pickle Vodka, Potato Vodka and rum.

Officially opened in September 2018, Raging Crow Distillery has received national awards for two of its products in the fledgling company’s very first attempt in a blind, tasting competition. The awards were issued by the Artisans Distillers of Canada, a national organization focused on celebrating and highlighting artisan distilleries and spirits across Canada. The distillery was awarded a silver medal for its Spruce Tip Gin and a bronze medal for its Nazdrowka Vodka (potato vodka) a name which translates into “Cheers” in Polish.


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