In response to the question “Does Kelowna have any craft breweries or cideries", co-author Hugh Philip’s
research has turned up the following information on local craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
Wine is certainly the beverage that has put Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley on the map of very good wine growing regions of the world. But wine is not the only alcoholic beverage that is having a renaissance in Kelowna and other communities in the Okanagan. Many fine craft cideries, breweries and distilleries are available to quench the thirst of locals and visitors for their products made mainly from locally sourced fruit, hops and grains.
Let’s have a look at cider. Just what is cider? Basically it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples, occasionally from pears. Cider is brewed around the world. It starts out as apple juice to which is added a champagne yeast to change the sugars into alcohol. In North America cider is referred to as hard cider. It is especially popular in England where it has been brewed for 2000 years, if not more. The five Kelowna cideries listed below use only100% local apples or pears to produce ciders that vary in alcoholic content (4.5%-7% by volume) and flavour based on the varieties of apples or pears used.
- BC Tree Fruits Cider,1473 Vaughan Avenue (bctreefruitscider.com/our-story)
- Double Cross Cidery, 3363 Springfield Road (function-junction.ca/)
- East Kelowna Cider Co., 2960 McCulloch Road
- Scenic Road Cider Co., 770 Packinghouse Road (scenicroadcider.com/)
- Wards Hard Cider, 2287 Ward Road (www.wardshardcider.com/)
Cideries offer an alternative market to juicing the less than perfect fruit. The fruit must comply with national food safety standards just like fruit destined for the fresh market. Some ciders have hops, ginger, or cherries added to hopefully expand the appeal of the ciders. But beer enthusiasts, take heart. Kelowna is also blessed with some great craft breweries that, in our humble opinion, make as flavourful and as memorable craft beers as any other craft breweries around. Since 2010 the number of craft breweries has increased from 54 to 125 (January 2017) and Kelowna has seen part of that growth:
- BNA Brewing Co., 1250 Ellis Street (www.bnabrewing.com/)
- Boundary Brewing Company 2- 455 Neave Court (distillery near completion) (www.facebook.com/BoundaryBrewingCo/)
- Granville Island Brewing, 1125 Richter Street (www.facebook.com/pages/Grandville-Island-Brewing/418435501686825)
- Kettle River Brewing Co., 731 Baillie Avenue (www.kettleriverbrewing.ca/)
- Freddy’s Brew Pub, 124-948 McCurdy Road (www.mccurdybowl.com/)
- Red Bird Brewing Inc., 1086 Richter Street (www.facebook.com/redbirdbeer/)
- Tree Brewing Co., 1083 Richter Street (also has ciders) (www.treebeer.com/)
The breweries vary the selection of beers on tap throughout the year and are not always available for sale through regular retail outlets. Craft breweries source different varieties of hops and yeasts from the BC Interior, the U.S., Australia and Europe in order to brew many types of beer. The other essential ingredient, malt, is sourced in BC. Once the malt has completed the brewing process it is fed to local farm animals. Alcohol content varies between 4.0% and 6.7%. Some beers include local apples and cherries to create distinctive flavours. Local breweries participate every May in the annual 3-day Great Okanagan Beer Festival where over 40 breweries from across BC and some from Eastern Canada showcase their beers in Waterfront Park. For those of you interested in our local craft distillery products, you too will impressed with the quality and variety of local products.
- Forbidden Spirits Distilling Co., 4380 Wallace Hill Road (www.forbiddenvodka.ca/)
- Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery (oldest in Western Canada), 267 Bernard Avenue (okanaganspirits.com/products/)
- Urban Distillery & Winery, 6- 325 Bay Avenue (www.urbandistilleries.ca/)
All the distilleries use 100% local grains and fruit to produce the alcohol that goes through a distilling process before being infused with flavours to create their various products. Just like wineries, craft cideries, breweries and distilleries have tasting rooms where you can savour their various products which can be bought on-site.
So how does the BC craft alcoholic beverage industry stack up against the national and international
products sold in BC? According to an article published June 2016 in What’s Brewing Magazine, craft cideries have 2% of the total cider/cooler market, whereas craft beers have 22% of all beer sales in BC. The following table shows the value of alcoholic beverage sales (imported and domestic) sold in BC during the year ending March 31, 2015 (Statistics Canada, 2016, CANSIM table 183-0023.). As you can see the value of cider and cooler sales enjoyed the greatest % increase in sales of all categories.
Annual Sales of Alcoholic Beverages in BC (April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015)
$ million % change
Spirits 772.4 3.3
Wine 1,030.7 7.1
Beer 1,118.9 3.1
Ciders, coolers 170.5 16.6
Total 3,092.5 5.1
How do prices compare between craft ciders and beers? Cider costs more than beer, anywhere up to 100% more. All alcoholic beverage retail sales have 10% PST and 5% GST added on at point of sale as well as a refundable container deposit (if applicable). So if wine and its cousins are not your beverages of choice, you have a good selection of local craft beers, ciders and distilled spirits to enjoy with family and friends. And we would like to remind you – Always remember to drink responsibly.