Did you know Kelowna is home to several craft distilleries? Experience the best of the Okanagan with the unique selection of flavourful and award-winning spirits made from local fruits and grains.
Okanagan Spirits: The Pioneer
Western Canada's original craft distillery has more than 15 years of experience under their belt, creating some of the most delicious craft spirits at their Okanagan distilleries. Using only 100% locally-grown fruits and grains, Okanagan Spirits now has over 30 internationally-awarded spirits and was named Distillery of the Year and World-Class Distillery for 2020 at the World-Spirit Awards in Austria.
Head to the downtown Kelowna tasting room, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to try some of the distillery's handcrafted spirits like Taboo Absinthe, Rhubarb Liqueur, or colour-changing Evolve Gin, proceeds from which are donated to local organizations supporting gender equality. This family-owned distillery has also been making premium, additive-free hand sanitizer during COVID-19 and, to date, has donated more than 40,000 bottles to front-line medical staff in the Okanagan.
Forbidden Spirits: The Up-and-Comer
You know the story of the forbidden fruit, that apple plucked from the tree too delicious to resist? Now, take that apple, along with a whole bunch of other apples, mash it, put it in a still, and see what magic comes out at Forbidden Spirits, so named from the story of Adam and Eve. This local distillery crafts small-batch spirits—including their Rebel Vodka, which is distilled 25 times in an artisan copper still, one batch at a time—using apples grown right next door to the distillery.
Throughout the spring, Forbidden Spirits hosted 'Sanitizer Saturday' events to get their Serpent hand / surface sanitizer in the hands of people who needed it—all proceeds from the events were then donated to a variety of local organizations like the Kelowna SPCA and the Kelowna Food Bank. Forbidden Spirits is currently open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wiseacre Farm Distillery: The Micro Distillery
Take a heritage farm and home in the countryside forest with fields of grains nearby and plop a tiny distillery on-site, that's Wiseacre Farm Distillery. Farm is in the name because it's literally a farm with chickens, cows, donkeys, and a bunch of vintage tractors. The grains are grown onsite (and up the street) and are then fermented, distilled, and bottled right on the farm—it's hard to get more local than that. What do you get when making handcrafted spirits from seed to flask? Well, you get one tired family, but also some of the purest, most delicious, and limited spirits you can get your hands on.
This small, family operation also used its equipment to produce hand sanitizer, which was donated to first responders and front line / essential service workers. Tastings can be booked by appointment online.
Indigenous World Spirits: The New Kid on the Block
Indigenous World Winery is BC's only 100% Indigenous-owned winery. Owners, Robert and Bernice Louie, are descendants of the syilx people, who have lived on these lands for over 10,000 years, and are connected to the land and its rich history. Already established with their award-winning wines, the family is now getting their hands into the world of spirits. Currently, only the Indigenous World Spirit Vodka—which was just awarded the Spirit Bronze 2020 at the International Wine & Spirit Competition—is available, but there is some whiskey resting in barrels, waiting to be bottled, so stay tuned for more to come from this local newcomer.
*Always plan a safe ride! If you’re not exploring the distilleries, breweries, and wineries in our region with a licensed tour operator, have a designated driver to get you where you need to go safely.*