then fill the barrels with their single malt, “but we get it with an Okanagan-style finish.” Okanagan Spirits works with local farmers to grow rye for their rye whisky and corn for their BRBN bourbon-style corn whisky. In addition to their three staple whiskies — rye, corn, and single malt — they also produce about 10 barrels per year of experimental beer-style whiskies. Their “Final Proof Master Distiller Series Whisky” line includes distilled IPAs, porters, and other beer styles that they make in-house, and they release them seasonally.
ADVICE to OTHER DISTILLERS In addition to his work at Okanagan Spirits, Dyck also serves as president of The Craft Distillers Guild of BC. In that role, he offers a lot of advice to other distillers, and one of the most common things he advises distillers to do is put their own stamp on their spirits. “Try to make something that’s terroir-specific, that speaks to the regionality, or something that’s unique to your region or your story as to why you’re making that product,” tells Dyck. If distillers do that well and their products are well-received, they may run into the same challenge that Okanagan Spirits did: growing to meet demand. Dyck has some advice there, too. Okanagan Spirits built their new distillery for the future, with enough room to continue to grow their production and barrel storage. Their experience has also taught them to choose equipment that can be scaled easily. They bought fermenters and stills with volumes that are easy to double, that way they can use one fermenter for some batches and two fermenters for larger batches. If possible, Dyck says it’s best to plan for this scaling across the board, that way one equipment bottleneck doesn’t slow the whole process down. If he could change one thing, Dyck says he would have put down more whisky. Okanagan Spirits is working hard to make more whisky now, and so are many other Canadian craft distillers. At a private tasting, Dyck and several other distillers got together to share samples of their aging whiskies which had yet to reach the three-year mark. What he smelled and tasted gave him great hope for the future. “They had very different flavor profiles and characteristics, and you could tell that there’s going to be a real difference in the flavor selection for the public moving forward,” Dyck says. “We’ve all seen that in craft brewing with how different everyone’s beers are. I think we’re going to see the same in whisky profiles moving forward.”
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is located in Vernon and Kelowna, Bristish Columbia, Canada. For more information visit www.okanaganspirits.com or call (888) 292-5270. 68
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