Bad Tattoo Brewing inks downtown deal

Co-owner Martin Lewis holds up an artist’s drawing of what the new Bad Tattoo Brewing Company will look like when construction of the restaurant and brewery is completed, later this spring. The business will be located on Estabrook Avenue, just off of Winnipeg Street.  - Mark Brett/Western News
Co-owner Martin Lewis holds up an artist’s drawing of what the new Bad Tattoo Brewing Company will look like when construction of the restaurant and brewery is completed, later this spring. The business will be located on Estabrook Avenue, just off of Winnipeg Street.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

You’ve spent the day at Okanagan Beach, frolicking in the water and tanning on the beach, what better way to finish up the day than a short walk into downtown Penticton for a beer and a slice of pizza at the city’s newest craft brewery.

That’s one of the scenarios envisioned by Martin Lewis, manager of Kettle Valley Station pub and his partner Robin Agur, for Bad Tattoo Brewing, set to open in May with their first brews.

“That is our goal, in early May, to be producing beer,” said Lewis, who describes the location of Bad Tattoo as “a block from the Peach and a block from Landmark Cinema.”

Along with the brewery, the design incorporates a pizzeria-style restaurant and outdoor patio.

The building permit for the lot on the corner of Martin Street and Estabrooke Avenue was issued in late December, according to Anthony Haddad, director of development services.

“They have done a great job on that patio on the corner, obviously to attract people from the beach and down on Winnipeg and Martin Streets where we are doing the street improvements,” said Haddad, adding that the brewery is a perfect fit with the city’s investment in revitalizing the downtown.

“We are seeing a number of private developments coming into downtown right now, which is a  sign the economy is on the up,” said Haddad.

Lewis isn’t ready to give out specifics of the beers yet, but said they are planning four main beers, along with eight seasonals. The choices will run the gamut, including North American and European style lagers, ales and pilsners.

“Once we get into seasonals, there is no set format. It will be all over the place,” said Lewis. The concept is to stay as local as possible, including the labels for the brews.

“All of our label designs were commissioned from local tattoo artists. and we already have the artwork for those in process,” said Lewis, adding that they have three artists already working on designs.

Neither Lewis nor Agur have tattoos themselves, good or bad.

The name Bad Tattoo comes out of wanting a name that both had marketing potential, and that they could have fun with.

“We thought, here’s a concept that is not out there yet in the beer world and we could leverage in our marketing plans.” said Lewis.

“It’s not supposed to be taken in a negative connotation. We will certainly spin that to be a positive name choice, so bad means good in this case.”

One the food side of the development, Lewis said they are installing a wood-fired pizza oven.

“It’s a really simple restaurant concept. The food will be designed to enhance the flavours of the beer and we’ll have unique pizzas that match well with the beers,” said Lewis.

“We are not going to be a full service restaurant, we are going to be a pizzeria inside the brewery.”

The idea, he said, is to keep the concept simple, something that fits the lifestyle around the beach in the summertime, and that can easily be scaled back in the winter season.

Along with their beers, Lewis said they will feature a local winery along with some non-alcoholic choices.

“We are also planning to make a couple of sodas for children and people that don’t drink, so we are going to make a brewed root beer and an apple soda as well as beer,” he said.

Lewis is hoping to have the bad tattoo beers available at Kettle Valley Station Pub as well.  Previously brew pubs could only serve their products on site, but Agur and Lewis have applied for an exemption under revised provincial regulations.

Lewis is a strong proponent of craft brewing, saying it is the only sector of the liquor industry that is growing  at an exponential rate.

And there is plenty of room in Penticton for another craft brewery, alongside the Cannery Brewing Company, the Tin Whistle Brewing Company and Barley Mill Brew Pub.

“Craft is a very collaborative industry. The guys at the Cannery were very aware of what we were doing. They were the first  people we talked to and they are very positive about it as well,” said Lewis.


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