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Kawartha Ethanol

Corn and high-grade alcohol based pure ethanol production facility

Investing in new opportunities far from being a ‘fuelish’ approach

Kawartha Ethanol began operations in 2010, bringing corn to its Havelock plant, fermenting it and then distilling its final product in the form of pure ethanol destined to be blended with vehicle fuel as part of a huge push for more environmentally friendly emissions. There things sat until, aided by an interest-free loan from the Province and technology imported from an India-based provider, Kawartha Ethanol made a $37.5 million investment in the production of high-grade alcohol-based pure ethanol for use in a host of products, including high-in-demand hand sanitizer and disinfectants.

“This was not a minor little tweak; it was very much a redesign of our plant,” recalls plant manager Steve tenDoeschate, adding “Rather than have a couple of customers, we’ll potentially have 100.”

He explains that during the pandemic years, margins were “very tight,” prompting the manufacturer to search for “the most sustainable use of the plant” before making the decision to convert it to largely a distillery operation. One of the new customers that been brought on as a result is Peterborough-based Charlotte Products Limited but Kawartha Ethanol ships its product across Ontario, and has done some business in Europe.

Located at 6830 Highway 7, Kawartha Ethanol has some 40 employees, each benefitting from their employment with a company that is backed by the solid reputation of its president and 2017 Business Hall of Fame inductee Darrell Drain.

“It’s no secret that Darrell has operated much of his business on a handshake,” notes tenDoeschate. “When you have that level of trust with local producers, it allows you to more confidently expand your business or expand more aggressively than you would if you were uncertain about those relationships.”

To learn more about Kawartha Ethanol, visit