The Science of Distillation: Educational Experiences in Kelowna's Distilleries

a group of people sitting outside of a building on a grassy area next to a road and a field at Forbidden Spirits Distilling Corp. in Kelowna
Forbidden Spirits Distilling Corp.


Embarking on a journey through Kelowna's distilleries is a sensory delight into the fascinating world of distillation science. Each distillery in this city is a has their own twist on the intricate blend of art and science in spirit making. From the selection of raw materials to the final nuanced flavour profile, the distilleries of Kelowna offer educational tours that unveil the complexities and craftsmanship behind every bottle of spirit.

The Science of Distillation

At its core, distillation is a marvel of chemistry and physics, transforming a fermented mash into a spirit with higher alcohol content. This process begins with the selection of raw materials - grains, fruits, or even sugar cane - which are processed to create a sugary liquid. Yeast is then introduced, converting sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The resulting mixture, now containing around 8-10% alcohol, sets the stage for the distillation process.

The art of distillation hinges on the differing boiling points of ethanol and water. As the mixture is heated, ethanol, with its lower boiling point, vaporizes first. This vapour, rich in ethanol, travels through the still, condensing back into liquid in a cooler environment. The resulting distillate is higher in alcohol content, but the process doesn't end there. Distillers skillfully separate the 'heart' - the most desirable part of the distillate - from the less desirable 'heads' and 'tails'. This heart, varying in proportion based on the spirit's desired quality, encapsulates the flavour profile of the final product.

Educational Tours in Kelowna's Distilleries

Kelowna’s distilleries offer an immersive experience into the science of distillation. Each tour is an opportunity to witness first-hand the meticulous process of spirit making.

  1. Okanagan Spirits: Okanagan Spirits stands out with its array of spirits and a strong commitment to locally sourced ingredients. The tours here go beyond mere tastings; they offer a comprehensive understanding of the distillation process, weaving in local history and the nuances of crafting spirits like their Laird of Fintry single malt whiskey.
  2. Forbidden Spirits: Forbidden Spirits, renowned for its apple-based spirits, offers a unique glimpse into the crafting of products like Rebel Vodka. The intimate tours here provide an in-depth look at their innovative techniques, capturing the terroir of the local orchards in each bottle.
  3. Urban Distilleries + Winery: Urban Distilleries, one of British Columbia's oldest craft distilleries, showcases an array of hand-crafted spirits. The tours here emphasize their small-batch approach, focusing on the quality and uniqueness of each product.


The distilleries of Kelowna offer a fascinating window into the world of distillation. Each tour is a journey through the science and art of spirit making, revealing the meticulous process behind each bottle. If you’re a spirit enthusiast or curious about the craft, these tours in Kelowna promise an enlightening and memorable experience, blending educational insights with the pleasure of tasting fine spirits.