Locally produced vodka coming to Kamloops as beer company expands horizons | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Locally produced vodka coming to Kamloops as beer company expands horizons

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January 23, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - While rum and vodka are more commonly associated with Cuba and Russia, both will soon be produced in Kamloops.

The B.C. Brewing Company has purchased a 40 acre lot in Dallas to locate their brewery. Joey Bedard, co-owner, says that while the brewery is the first piece of the plan, the company is looking at a variety of new ventures.

“Everything we do we want to make sure we can grow it commercially,” he says. “Anything we can grow and we can make into a final product and makes sense.”

That includes distilling rum and vodka, a 50,000 square foot greenhouse, a brewhouse and a malting facility. While some plans are more long term than others, he expects locals will see locally produced vodka on shelves by mid-February.

“We are doing our first batch on Friday,” he says. “The goal would be the vodka and rum done similarly.”

The first batch will be a spiced vodka made from local potatoes. Part of the process will be done here, while the final distilling will be in Kelowna with another company, Bedard says, as the local property isn’t properly licensed. A spiced rum using sugar beets will eventually follow.

The brewery portion is expected to open in the summer, with an onsite brewhouse half the size of Red Collar Brewery's location. A 4,000 square foot building already on the property will house the first version. A second, 10,000 sq. ft. building will follow to house a larger version of the brewery. The company is already producing some beer, working with the same company in Kelowna as is helping with distilling.

By 2020, Bedard says they want to have a malting plant on site. Initial plans with Lafarge didn’t materialize he says, but the brewing company’s property is near the shuttered cement plant and they will likely to use the train stop. The company already has barley grown in northern B.C., but it needs to be malted by a third party currently.

Once the malting facility is constructed it will be essentially a fully vertically integrated brewery, from hops farm to canning facility.

The long term plan for a greenhouse means locally produced winter vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers; the heat from the brewing facility would be used to warm the greenhouse.

Bedard estimates the facility could employ dozens of locals producing products normally imported from outside of the city.

“Give us to 10 years, I think this could be at 100-plus employees,” he says. “With the money staying in the community.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 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 © iNFOnews, 2017

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