Being named Canada's craft beer capital in the Lonely Planet travel guide gives Penticton breweries a feather to put in their caps, but it remains to be seen whether it will bring in customers.
“We definitely see a lot of people who come here for the wineries and then they get sick of the wineries and come to hang out at breweries,” Mike Nagy, co-owner of Tin Whistle Brewing Co said, adding that's how they've been noticed in the summertime.
But with smoky skies and wildfires that have impacted the Okanagan in the past few years, he said it will likely take time for the industry’s numbers to return.
The Lonely Planet article said the city is “one of Canada’s best kept secrets.”
Owner Lee Agur of Bad Tattoo Brewing said every article and feature adds up to bringing more publicity to Penticton's brewing scene.
“I think people are starting coming more for breweries and for brewery tours and experiences,” he said.
In 2019, more restaurants have opening around Bad Tattoo Brewing and within six blocks of it, Agur said. Slack Water Brewing also opened in 2019 and Neighbourhood Brewing is expected to open this year.
Writer Geoff Nudelman says Penticton was onto craft brewing “long before that became a badge of honour for outdoorsy towns from Asheville, North Carolina to Vancouver, B.C.”
The article points to Penticton’s seven craft breweries as proof of “one of the foamiest cities in the provinces, with one brewery per 4,857 people,” comparing Penticton to Calgary, where there is an estimated one brewery for every 29,411 people.
Penticton’s annual Okanagan Fest of Ale may be one of the reasons for the growth of the craft beer industry, where the whole community gets involved over the weekend, according to festival event manager Sarah Taylor.
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