Local craft distillery to represent Okanagan on world stage - InfoNews

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Local craft distillery to represent Okanagan on world stage

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery will be on the world stage next week for the third time since 2013.
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March 14, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Western Canada’s first craft distillery will be on the world stage for the third time next week.

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery has been nominated in eight different categories for the World Spirit Awards, to be held March 22, just outside of Frankfurt, Germany.

“It’s nice to even have one product considered,” Tyler Dyck, CEO of Okanagan Spirits and President of the Craft Distillers Guild of B.C. says. “It’s a cool thing to be amongst the best in the world.”

The eight products selected to compete are their single malt whiskey, taboo absinthe, aquavit (a Scandinavian gin), black currant liqueur, haskap liqueur, rhubarb liqueur, family reserve apple based vodka, and their old style gin.

“Liqueurs are usually made from berries, so when we put forward our rhubarb liqueur we didn’t expect anything to come from it, but I guess they liked it. They probably haven’t seen much like it before,” said Dyck.

Okanagan Spirits credits their absinthe as the first genuine North American absinthe.

“Traditional absinthe is made from cherries, but when it got banned in Western Europe, other countries took over the illicit production and didn’t know how to make it properly. It changed from fruit-based to grain-based, and then sugar was added,” Dyck says. “We’ve tried to emulate the original recipe and what it would have been at the turn of the century. It has this beautiful black liquorish flavor, without the sugar, leaving a light texture in the mouth.”

Dyck says he has to attribute part of his success to the Okanagan region, saying it’s one of the best growing regions in the world for grains and fruits.

“A large part of me believes we’re on the world stage because we’re able to get our products straight from the land - we make sure our spirits express the flavors of the Okanagan,” he says.

The international competition has a panel of super tasters who will blind taste each product, giving it a score out of 100, using fragrance, taste and harmony as criteria.

In 2015, Okanagan Spirits earned a double gold award (95.3  out of 100 points) for their kaskap liqueur, and won the highly coveted Distillery of the Year award both in 2013 and in 2015.

“We’re crossing our fingers. If not, it will be a fun beer drinking trip.”

Representing Okanagan Spirits in Germany will be Dyck, his twin sister Melissa, junior distiller Christopher Burke and Burke’s wife.

According to Burke the amount of craft distilleries in B.C. has grown from seven in 2013, to 51 currently.

He attributes the rise in craft distilleries to when the provincial government established two distillery categories, craft and commercial, in 2013. This change in designation made craft distilling a viable industry in the province, says Dyck.

Okanagan Spirits is based out of Vernon, with their boutique craft distillery located downtown Kelowna. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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