June 16, 2017 10:51 pm
Updated: June 16, 2017 11:39 pm

Penticton craft beer business booming

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The craft beer business is hopping in Penticton, where five independent micro-breweries are in operation.

Seventy-six-year-old Lorraine Nagy opened the first craft brewery in the south Okanagan more than two decades ago.

“I’m a risk taker,” she said.

She isn’t your average beer-maker, but her pride bubbles over like the beer she’s pouring.

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“People phone us, we want your beer,” she said, but it wasn’t always that way. “When we use to go into a pub or a restaurant they would say oh no, we don’t want your beer.”

A lot has changed since then as the craft beer industry explodes in British Columbia.

“Penticton has certainly been known for wine over the years, we have a fantastic industry there, now we’re starting to diversify our product and getting a different type of traveller that comes in,” said Thom Tischik, Executive Director of Travel Penticton.

It will now be easier for travellers to find those hidden gems.

Penticton has been added to the “BC Ale Trail,” a website that provides beer-lovers with self-guided tours of craft beer hot spots across the province.

The Cannery Brewing Company’s Kim Lawton was instrumental in the new marketing initiative, a partnership between Destination BC and industry representatives.

“We thought, ‘you know what? This is something we want for Penticton,’” she said.

Lawton added the popularity of the craft beer industry can be attributed to the “buy local” movement.

“This is a real community hub, you can go into your brewery, you can see who is making my beer, I can see they are making it, I can see the ingredients going into it,” she said.

It’s why John Kapusty opened Penticton’s newest brewery, “Highway 97.”

He said business has been fantastic. “I couldn’t hope for anything better.”

Kapusty said being a part of the BC Ale Trail will get more customers through the door.

“I think that we are positioning ourselves along with other ale trails and beer trails in North America as a must stop.”

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