Handcrafted in Kelowna: Small-Batch Distillery Innovations

three bottles of single malt vodka sit on a counter top in front of a sink in a kitchen
Wiseacre Farm Distillery

With a delightful fusion of traditional craft and innovative spirit-making, Kelowna's small-batch distilleries aren't just producing spirits; they're crafting experiences one bottle at a time. Let's explore the unique techniques, diverse spirit varieties, and the passionate artisans who bring them to life.

The Artisans and Their Craft

Okanagan Spirits displays the pioneering spirit of Western Canada’s craft distillery movement. With a repertoire of over 30 internationally-awarded spirits, this family-owned distillery has carved a niche with creations like the Taboo Absinthe and the colour-changing Evolve Gin. Their commitment to using 100% locally-grown fruits and grains adds an authentic touch to each spirit.

In contrast, Forbidden Spirits resonates with the allure of the forbidden fruit. They craft small-batch spirits, including the 25-times distilled Rebel Vodka, using apples grown in their orchard. This local distillery has become synonymous with innovation, blending traditional methods with modern techniques to create spirits that are both unique and deeply rooted in Kelowna’s soil.

Indigenous World Spirits is a unique fusion of traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary distillation. Their spirits, like the Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin White Whiskey, tell a story of cultural heritage and modern innovation. This 100% Indigenous-owned distillery epitomizes cultural preservation through the art of spirit making.

Finally, Urban Distilleries offers a glimpse into industrial innovation blended with artisanal flair. Their diverse range, from BC's first single malt whisky to their Spirit Bear line, showcases their commitment to creativity and quality. With each spirit, they manage to capture a piece of Kelowna's spirit.

Innovative Techniques and Unique Spirits

Okanagan Spirits has earned accolades for its innovative use of local ingredients. Their whiskies, like the BRBN Bourbon-Style and the Black Laird Single-Malt, exemplify their skill in creating smooth, sippable spirits that have garnered national and international recognition. The distillery's use of local grains and fruits not only adds a distinctive flavour but also reflects their commitment to the Okanagan Valley's terroir.

Urban Distilleries, with its hands-on approach, has made a mark with its single malt whisky and mead honey wine. Their innovative bottling technique, which includes a piece of French oak barrel, imparts a unique flavour and colour to the spirits. This approach underscores their dedication to craftsmanship and innovation.

Forbidden Spirits, with its scenic orchard setting, focuses on apple-based spirits. Their methods, combining traditional distilling with modern techniques, result in spirits that are both familiar and refreshingly new. Their commitment to innovation is evident in every bottle of their apple-infused spirits.

Community Impact

These distilleries contribute significantly to the community and environment. Okanagan Spirits has donated over 40,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to frontline medical staff, highlighting their commitment to the community during challenging times. Forbidden Spirits has also played a pivotal role, hosting events like 'Sanitizer Saturday' to support local organizations, including the Kelowna SPCA and Food Bank. These initiatives reflect the distilleries' dedication to giving back to the community that nurtures them.

Visiting Kelowna’s Distilleries

Visiting these distilleries offers more than just a tasting experience; it's a journey into Kelowna's spirit-making tradition. With guided tours and intimate tasting sessions, visitors get an immersive experience into the world of distillation. These tours showcase the art of spirit making and also emphasize the importance of supporting local artisans and businesses.

Kelowna's small-batch distilleries are custodians of a rich tradition, blending innovation with craftsmanship. Each bottle tells a story of dedication, creativity, and community spirit. As you explore these local artisans, you're not just tasting spirits; you're experiencing Kelowna itself.