More than grapes and wine
It’s no secret the Okanagan is a great place to find delicious wines. The vastness of the Okanagan allows us to have multiple micro-climates stemming from Lake Country (cool) down to Oliver (warm). But did you know that we’re more than just grapes and wine? If there’s one thing to know about the Okanagan, it’s that it applauds the entrepreneurial spirit which has led fearless men and women to expand into other craft alcoholic beverages.
The craft beer scene has been bubbling up for a few years now, especially when you look at downtown Kelowna. With five breweries all within a kilometre of each other, two more within a five-minute walk down the road, and rumours of more opening up, you would have thought you’re strolling around Portland. Penticton has also been following suit with its fifth craft brewery recently opening, and Osoyoos has welcomed their first one. Being wino’s, we’re not sure what started this trend for breweries, but we do know the saying goes “it takes a lot of beer to make great wine” and the Okanagan isn’t short on that! When in Kelowna, make sure you visit Vice & Virtue, and Rustic Reel; in Penticton Slackwater Brewing, or their newest Neighbourhood Brewing; and in Osoyoos check out their brand new brewery North Basin Brewery.
Craft spirits have also been around in the Okanagan for quite some time, and these days many local restaurants are focusing on craft cocktails, most often including all local ingredients and experimenting with new flavours and combinations. Every great cocktail needs the perfect base and there is no shortage of local suppliers. Okanagan Spirits has been the pioneer since 2004, and because of their hard work, creating a space in the wine world for spirits, they have paved the way and allowed others to follow their spirit dreams.
Kelowna has recently welcomed two new distillers to the area, which includes our friends Wiseacre Farm Distilling. Not only is their gin and vodka top-notch, but they also tapped into the holiday spirit with a few flavoured liqueurs and peppermint vodka. Hello, Christmas cocktails! Legend Distilling is certainly a fan favourite when you’re visiting Naramata. With Gin, vodka, whisky and everything in between, their tasting room is a perfect stop between wineries on the Naramata Bench. In the summer, relax with a cocktail in hand on their patio while taking in some of the best views in the area.
When driving through the Okanagan Valley, it’s hard not to notice all of the orchards we’re blessed to have, causing a lack of surprise that we have quite the cider scene here as well. Since 1936, the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative has been promoting the amazing fruits that grow well in the Okanagan, so it seemed natural when a few years ago they created a new division and started to produce Broken Ladder Cider. Since then, more cideries are popping all over the Okanagan. Our favourites include NOMAD Cider in Summerland, Creek & Gully in Naramata, and Howling Moon in Oliver. Since cider is made the same way as wine (fermentation of fruit), we love this as a refreshing alternative when you want a sip of something different. Additionally, the apple base allows versatility when combined with other fruits to produce new flavours. There’s always something new to try in the cider world!
There you have it. The Okanagan is a multifaceted, craft region that has a little something for everyone.