Okanagan Craft Beer is Crushing it, both literally and figuratively. It takes me back a decade-or-so ago when I went to a party where a hipster type came in nearly juggling four huge, different beers. During that time I would see a 26 of liquor or a 6 pack of Canadian walking through the door. I recall aggressively rolling my eyes every time he asked another party goer if they had tried this particular beer from a brewery nobody had ever heard of. It seemed to me then that the reasons to drink craft beer were twofold: to prove to everyone how cool/unique you are, and to have a party prop that would allow you to display that superiority to everyone in the room. Now that’s a pretty judgmental position from someone who pre-drank passion fruit Malibu and OJ around that same time, but I digress. Then I got over myself and tried craft beer, and while it hasn’t radically changed my life, it’s certainly changed how I drink for the better.
Ten years out from that anecdote, drinking craft beer doesn’t make you cool/unique, but there are a lot of great reasons to drink craft beer. It used to be hard to get craft beer – you would have to go TO the brewery, and there weren’t a lot of them. Now, not only do liquor stores sell an impressive variety of craft beer, on top of the eight breweries already open in Kelowna alone, the city is looking forward to seeing six new breweries open in 2019! Penticton is the Okanagan’s powerhouse for craft beer, winning the #2 spot on Expedia’s “Best Beer Towns in Canada 2018” list, recognized for the number of taps in town, the number of awards won, and the creative spirit of the brewers and beer. Craft beer is more accessible and tastier than it has ever been!
Craft beer is an adventure in a bottle, and Okanagan breweries are hard at working brewing brews to suit every palate. They’re repopularizing old styles of brewing, pushing the boundaries of form, challenging us to try something we’ve never tried before, and the thirsty people are here for it. The market share of craft brews versus multi-national brands keeps increasing – even the 65+ crowd which was always considered to be much more brand loyal saw a marked uptick in craft beer consumption in 2018. Just like with ice cream or leafy greens, the more options we have in flavour and type the better, and the more we drink craft beer, the more options we’ll have, which ultimately means MORE ADVENTURES for all of us.
Craft is a word that means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to us at Discover Okanagan Tours, craft means community. We belong to a community of craft beer drinkers that always have a new recommendation for a fresh brew to check out and a strong opinion about IPAs – and are always ready to welcome newcomers to the scene with none of the snobbery I imagined ten years ago. We belong to a community of Okanagan residents passionate about local flavours and products and working hard to share those with our friends from the valley and those from away (Tin Whistle’s Peach Cream Ale, anyone?). We know that money we spend at a local business supports the local economy much more than money we spend on a Stella or Hoegaarden – different studies come up with slightly different numbers, but every dollar spent at a local retailer is of roughly THREE TIMES greater local economic benefit than one spent at a chain retailer. We know that in addition to creating good local jobs, craft breweries are supporting local non-profits, funding sport and culture in the region, and putting on events for the whole community to enjoy like the Okanagan Fest of Ale. We know that we feel good and oh so refreshed drinking a cold beer on a hot day that was brewed and bottled or poured by a team of our neighbours.
Discover Okanagan Tours is always looking for ways to lower our environmental footprint, and we’re stoked to share that buying local beer is a great way to do so! The shorter distance your beer has to travel from its fermentation to your mouth, the less fossil fuels are burned in its transportation. Whether you’re new to craft beer and are looking for a tasty and informative introduction, or you want to have an epic adventure seeing what’s new on the scene in the Okanagan, DOT has a tour for you. Craft beer is: sooo delicious, more widely available by the week, an adventure, and a fantastic way to support your local economy and community – it’s a win whichever way you pour it. Come spend a day with us and put some hop in your Okanagan lifestyle step!
Join one of our Brewery, Cidery and Distillery Tours to find your favourite brew!