Distillery Design: The Architecture of Kelowna's Spirit Makers

a bunch of copper pipes that are in a glass case in a room with a clock on the side of the wall
Forbidden Spirits Distilling Corp.


In Kelowna, distilleries are canvases where architectural artistry meets the alchemy of distillation. Each distillery weaves a unique story, reflecting its brand and distilling process through its structure and design. From rustic farm settings to modern boutique spaces, these distilleries offer a visual feast as rich and varied as the spirits they produce.

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Vernon Distillery

Entering the Vernon Distillery of Okanagan Spirits Craft is like stepping into a living museum of distilling. Here, North America's tallest copper pot still stretches towards the ceiling, a gleaming pillar of craft distilling. The 16,000 sq. ft. production facility doesn't just function as a distillery; it's a homage to the Okanagan’s rich tree-fruit heritage. Vintage elements blend seamlessly with modern distilling technology. Visitors are greeted by a wall-sized photograph from 1918, depicting apple picking at the Coldstream ranch, setting a tone of historical reverence. The distillery's moonshiner shack motif, built with reclaimed beams from a demolished Fruit Union packinghouse, further connects the space to its local roots.

Kelowna Distillery

The Kelowna branch of Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is a stark contrast, embracing the secretive allure of the Prohibition era. Located in downtown Kelowna, this boutique distillery is a time capsule of the 1920s. Its design is a nod to the clandestine distilling that flourished under the Prohibition’s shadow. The distillery uses materials that speak to its commitment to sustainability and historical preservation. Reclaimed wood from local fruit packing houses and a recycled spirits glass countertop catch the eye, blending eco-consciousness with historical tribute.

Forbidden Spirits

Forbidden Spirits Distillery stands as a symbol of innovation and local flavour, a mere 15 minutes from downtown Kelowna. It’s a place where the humble apple is transformed into sophisticated spirits. The distillery’s architecture, although less detailed in available resources, is known for its intimate setting, with a small tasting room that offers a window into the world of apple-based spirits. Plans for expansion include a 34-person lounge and a spacious 68-person patio, indicating a future where the distillery's physical space matches its ambitious spirit. This expansion suggests an evolution from a quaint tasting room to a lively hub for spirit enthusiasts.

Indigenous World Spirits

Indigenous World Spirits, an extension of the Indigenous World Winery, carries the unique distinction of being 100% Indigenous-owned. While specific architectural details are elusive, the distillery’s connection to the land and its heritage is profound. Owned by descendants of the syilx people, it symbolizes a bridge between ancient traditions and modern craft. The spirits produced here are not just beverages; they are stories in a bottle, infused with the history and culture of the syilx people. The architecture, though not detailed in this piece, is expected to be a reflection of this rich heritage and connection to the land.


Each distillery in Kelowna tells a different story through its architecture, from the historical echoes in Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery to the quaint charm of Forbidden Spirits. These spaces are more than just functional structures; they are embodiments of the spirit and history that infuse the drinks they produce. In Kelowna, the architecture of distilleries is as diverse and nuanced as the spirits themselves, offering a visual and sensory journey into spirit-making.