UPDATED: Vandalized Kelowna distillery says if you want to help — have a drink | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATED: Vandalized Kelowna distillery says if you want to help — have a drink

A vandal caused thousands of dollars in damages to Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery today, Aug. 14, 2019
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan Spirits
August 14, 2019 - 12:04 PM

KELOWNA - A local distillery is putting a lighthearted and positive spin on its second bout of vandalism over the summer.

“If you want to help our family cover the cost of the broken windows and merchandise, why not indulge yourself with an extra bottle or two of our hand crafted farm-to-flask spirits,” states a post on the Okanagan Sprits Craft Distillery Facebook page.

But, it’s no laughing matter for the owners of the Kelowna distillery that has operated on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna since 2010 but has only seen an increase in problems in the last three years since a Tim Hortons franchise opened nearby, CEO Tyler Dyck told iNFOnews.ca.

A few weeks ago, a woman who was frustrated following an incident in the Tim Hortons picked up a potted plant and heaved it through the front window of Okanagan Spirits.

“Fortunately, the people sitting just inside having a cocktail had just left so they didn’t have glass or a potted plant fly through them,” Dyck said. “Luckily no one was hurt.

That happened in the middle of the day.

About 12:30 this morning, a drunk “15-year old kid” smashed the front windows and door, hammered a chair against the custom-built glass counter, broke a dozen bottles filled with spirits and damaged the back door.

“He was just drunk and decided to come in and do some damage,” Dyck said. “It looked like his buddies were out front cheering him on while he was smashing it.”

That triggered loud alarms and police arrived to arrest him within a matter of minutes but not before he did thousands of dollars worth of damage. Dyck doesn’t know the total cost yet. The counter alone cost $15,000 and may have to be replaced. But, it’s likely only worth making an insurance claim if the damage is more than $10,000.

While he doesn’t blame Tim Hortons itself for increased problems on the street, a low-priced fast-food outlet is an attraction to sometimes destructive street people, Dyck said.

The incident, however, has increased the company's awareness about possibly moving out of downtown Kelowna.

"If you're making elegant, high end spirits and you’ve got a circus show in front, its kind of sending two different messages," Dyck said. "Maybe, just right now, we’re feeling a bit jaded, but it (relocating) has been on our list over the last year."

They do have a lease until the end of the year and, as a business owner, "you always look at what if," he said

The main distillery is in Vernon so they could simply do all their business there but have also looked at other locations.

Still, he’s putting a positive spin on the expensive incident.

“If you want to support local distillers, come in and have a drink and hear the story of how it happened first hand,” he said. “If you like the good story there, if you want to indulge yourself with an extra bottle of 100 per cent farm to flask, then we can help you with that indulgence.”

 - This story was updated Aug. 14, 2019 at 4:50 p.m. to add in comments about possibly relocating the business.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro 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 © iNFOnews, 2019

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