VANCOUVER -- Breweries and distilleries around British Columbia have been making hand sanitizer for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon, a venerable member of the province's craft brewing scene will be stepping up its production by making sanitizer from stale beer collected from shuttered restaurants.

"The next phase for us is we've got so many pubs and restaurants have beer that is no longer fresh, so we're bringing that back and distilling that into hand sanitizer," said Phillips Brewing founder Matt Phillips on Sunday.

Phillips Brewing produced its first 2,000 litres of hand sanitizer last week. The company has also been making face shields using its 3D printer.

Matt Phillips said getting approval to make the hand sanitizer delayed the start of the process somewhat. It's also been a challenge to find the additional ingredients - besides alcohol - that go into the product. He attributed that to the fact that so many companies are looking to make sanitizer these days.

Right now, the brewery is only giving its hand sanitizer to frontline workers and community services.

"Everybody's in dire need of this stuff, so we've been kind of spreading it out as best we can to try and get it where it's needed."