For the first time, Penticton Ale Trail breweries partnered together to showcase Penticton to the craft beer scene. (Submitted photo)

Column: Taking the Penticton Ale Trail to Calgary

For the first time, our Penticton Ale Trail breweries partnered together to showcase our Penticton

A group of 13 of us just returned to Penticton from a five-day trip to Calgary for the Calgary International Beer Fest.

For the first time, our Penticton Ale Trail breweries partnered to showcase our Penticton craft beer scene and all there is to do in Penticton.

In addition to working together as the breweries of the Penticton Ale Trail, we partnered with Travel Penticton and Hoodoo Adventures to bring guests to the fest a real taste and experience of Penticton. We rented a tap trailer and poured eight craft beers from four of Penticton’s craft breweries.

READ MORE: Penticton breweries now live on the BC Ale Trail app

Guests had the opportunity to complete a passport by enjoying at least one different beer from each of our Penticton breweries, and then they entered their completed passport into a draw to win a Penticton Ale Trail craft beer lovers dream prize worth almost $1,000. Guests also played the Penticton channel float beer pong game with Travel Penticton for instant prizes and had a chance to learn more about the upcoming June 8 Penticton Beer Run offered by Hoodoo Adventures.

Feeling such an intense range of emotions from the experience, I pulled out my laptop at the Calgary airport to write this column while waiting to board my flight back to Penticton. As I write this, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of pride for what we all accomplished by working together. I’m actually a little weepy as I think about what we accomplished, although perhaps I’m weepy because I’m so exhausted. For months, we’ve been planning this trip and we worked together to showcase Penticton and the Penticton Ale Trail in Calgary.

READ MORE: Penticton named one of the best beer towns in Canada

Donny and the team from The Bumwrap in Penticton outfitted us in their signature Life is Better in Penticton t-shirts. The good folks from Sign Language, Minuteman Press, ECM Promotions, and The UPS Store Penticton helped us look our best with signage, flags, decals and print materials. A number of businesses contributed to the grand prize giveaway of a Penticton craft beer lovers getaway including the Penticton Lakeside Resort, Hoodoo Adventures, the Penticton Beer Run, Penticton Oktoberfest, Okanagan Fest of Ale, BC Ale Trail, The Bumwrap, plus our Penticton breweries.

It was like we picked up a few of our favourite things from Penticton and took them to Calgary for guests of the fest to enjoy. If only we could have taken the sunshine, as it snowed while we were there.

People often talk about how much camaraderie there is in the craft beer industry. This is not just something that is said. This is something that is lived, breathed and shown in action. As Penticton’s craft breweries, we get that together we create a much more compelling story with seven breweries, rather than just one. Each brewery is special and unique in their own way offering different experiences. Then pair our craft beer scene with some incredible support from both Travel Penticton and Hoodoo Adventures and we delivered a pretty amazing experience in Calgary.

We heard tremendous feedback from guests who hung out in our Penticton Ale Trail lounge, enjoying a number of our different beers, taking their turns at beer pong and chatting with all of us who love Penticton and the Okanagan so much. We talked to people who have a vacation property in Penticton, people who travel annually to Penticton, those who haven’t been to Penticton since they were kids and those who have a Penticton trip on their bucket list.

As we head into our key tourism season, these conversations at Calgary Beer Fest helped remind me of all of the reasons why I chose to move from Toronto to the Okanagan and why I love living here so much. Penticton. It’s a place to stay forever.

Kim Lawton is a craft beer fan, a long-time supporter of the craft beer movement, the marketing director at Cannery Brewing in Penticton, and President of CAMRA SO (Campaign for Real Ale South Okanagan).

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