Okanagan distillery moving forward
Locavores with a taste for whisky will be pleased that a would-be distillery in the South Okanagan has cleared another regulatory hurdle.
An application to rezone a property near Gallagher Lake to make way for the Dubh Glas Distillery was approved last Thursday by the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. With that clearance in hand, Grant Stevely and his partner Raymond Cyr can now apply to the B.C. government for a liquor manufacturing licence.
There are still plenty of other things to do before the first sip is swallowed, like actually build the distillery on the site, which fronts Highway 97 and was previously zoned, but never used, for a campground. Construction, though, is on hold while the partners wait for water and sewer connections.
The site is well-placed to take advantage of wine tourists already in the area who may be thirsty for something new, and is also removed from distilleries in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton, said Stevely. Highway traffic outside the future front door is also seen as a plus.
“Because distribution is so difficult in British Columbia, it was important we had the ability to sell out of the distillery,” said Stevely, who spent the past 18 years as a supervisor at a Banff ski resort.
Dubh Glas, pronounced douglas, is Scottish Gaelic and means “from the dark water,” Stevely explained. The distillery will focus on single malt whisky, but also produce gin and fruit spirits.
The location in the heart of wine country also provides easy access to wine barrels in which the whisky can be aged, and which should make for a brighter taste than traditional whisky.
“What consumers really like is lighter, fruitier spirits that are tasty,” Stevely said. Not something that’s “mean and angry and peaty and smoky like our grandfathers used to drink.”
Stevely, who received distillery training in Arizona, hopes to have Dubh Glas up and running within a year.