Behind the Barrel: Master Distillers of Kelowna

a row of glasses filled with liquor being poured into one of the glasses on a bar top with a row of liquor bottles in the background at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery in Kelowna.
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Kelowna's craft distilleries, with their master distillers at the helm, are transforming the Okanagan Valley's abundant fruits and grains into award-winning spirits. Travel through the lives and labs of these artisans, revealing the passion, philosophy, and precision behind Kelowna's finest liquors.

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

The Pioneering Spirits

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery, a trailblazer in Western Canada's distillery scene, owes its success to the Dyck family. Tony Dyck, the distillery's President, channels his unrelenting passion into every bottle, making Okanagan Spirits a household name in the world of craft distilleries. His son, Tyler Dyck, CEO and a vocal advocate for craft distilling, has been instrumental in promoting the industry's growth while maintaining the distillery's reputation on the global stage.

Chris Burke, the Senior Distiller, brings a wealth of knowledge from his brewing and distilling degree to expand the distillery's whisky portfolio. His innovative approach has been crucial in developing unique spirits that speak volumes of the distillery's commitment to excellence.

Crafting Excellence

With an array of awards, including the prestigious Artisanal Distillery of the Year at the 2022 Canadian Whisky Awards, Okanagan Spirits has firmly established itself as a leader in the craft distilling arena. Their commitment to using local ingredients is not just a business model; it's a tribute to the Okanagan Valley's rich terroir. The distillery prides itself on its farm-to-flask creations, ensuring that each bottle captures the essence of local flavour profiles. From whiskies to gins and vodkas, Okanagan Spirits' range is a testament to their dedication to crafting spirits that are as diverse as they are distinct.

Forbidden Spirits

The Orchard to Bottle Journey

Forbidden Spirits' Blair Wilson, Founder and CEO, embodies the spirit of innovation. His journey began in 2010 when he purchased an apple orchard in Southeast Kelowna. Wilson's vision was clear: to forge a deeper connection with customers by transforming apples into exceptional vodka. This ambition led to extensive research and collaboration with Kothe, a renowned German copper still manufacturer, culminating in a state-of-the-art distillery and tasting room amongst lush apple orchards.

A Unique Blend of Art and Science

At Forbidden Spirits, the art of distillation converges with a commitment to quality and community. Wilson's approach involves meticulously refining apples into spirits, a process that not only adds value to the local produce but also showcases the versatility of Kelowna's natural bounty. The distillery's products, including the 25 times distilled Rebel Vodka, are a celebration of the purity and flavour that can only be derived from the Okanagan.


The distilleries of Kelowna, each with their each with their unique stories and philosophies, exemplify the diverse and passionate spirit of Kelowna's craft distillation scene. From the pioneering vision of the Dycks at Okanagan Spirits to Blair Wilson's orchard-to-bottle journey at Forbidden Spirits, each distillery offers a distinct taste of the region. The Louies of Indigenous World Spirits further enrich this industry with their commitment to local ingredients and cultural heritage. These master distillers, with their dedication to craftsmanship and community, invite connoisseurs and novices alike to explore the depth and variety of Kelowna's spirits, each sip a testament to the artistry and science of distillation.