The Makings of a Distillery
The Building of Vernon
The roof is off, the walls extended. Flooring is being cut up for a drain system as we now need sprinklers due to our new size of 16,000 square feet.
A fair requirement for a distillery that will be hosting several stills and high percentages of alcohol, after all safety always comes first at Okanagan Spirits.
Needless to say that this new distillery is going to outsize our other locations by quite a margin which means more playing room with our spirits-making. Exciting.Week 14
In come some goodies, a couple of fermentation tanks arrive along with a steam generator and kettles.
We are curious to what exactly our senior distiller Peter von Hahn is going to do with all the extra machinery. Hearsay at Okanagan Spirits depicts an imminent expansion of the portfolio.
What could be joining our selection of spirits on the display shelf in 2015? Only time, and Peter von Hahn can tell.Week 15
Cementing Our Future
A busy two weeks of construction has flown by under the burning hot Okanagan sun.
Old footings were broken down to make way for the new as the cement pumper truck rolled in. New footings were set in expectation of hosting columns that will support the ceiling. We’re thinking wood or steel, maybe both?
Discussions were conversed on the design of the distilleries exterior, entrance way, signage and patio. That's right, you read it correct, finally - a patio. We are thankful for the change in the B.C. liquor laws.Week 16 & 17
Please Don't Rain
Enter Fall, three weeks have passed and our roof completion is finally in sight. The roof trusses are being lifted into place and the decking is coming together. A slight deterrence in building spurned from a change in the weather but if all bodes well our roof should be up by the end of the month.
Talks are ongoing with endless possibilities of what to do with all the extra space, a dedicated whisky tasting lounge seems to be inevitable.Week 18
Wheeling in the Steel
After a major setback of having no power for almost two months - building Vernon has resumed with all pistons firing.
The ramps are being framed to bridge the gap between the warehouses and production areas while the front wall is being framed with a planned finish of clad brick akin to old British distilleries.
Our new fermentation tanks, mash tun and lauter tun are getting acquainted with one another and to mimic our rustic Kelowna distillery, wooden glulam beams from a 1940s school building are being refurbished to decorate the interior.Week 19
The stills arrive
The 'Show Stopper' has arrived. For weeks now we have been patiently waiting the arrival of our new 50 plate Still. The apple in our distillers eye. Made by Adrian from Germany, the 50 plates are accompanied by a 2000 and 1500 litre pot plus a handful of holding tanks.
Distiller Peter, Owner Tony and CEO Tyler, set about putting this beauty together and in little over two days have the Still almost completed. With the instructions being in German and none of the three being fluent, this provided considerably more entertainment than it should have.
The Still stands at little over 25ft and requires a footprint of about 800sqft. With the columns being so high, a 10ft high hole was required to be cut into the roof to accommodate. It is affectionately known now as the 'Dog House'
We are much closer to the completion of this fantastic project, but there is still lots to be done. The concrete floors are getting sanded, internal walls are being put up and work has started on our 27ft tasting bar.Week 22
Goodbye Catch Buckets
Things are moving rapidly at the new Vernon distillery as we near our anticipated opening in March. Our primary distilling area is nearly finished, with finishing touches of a three column condenser being attached to our new copper pot stills and large steel tanks getting secured to collect the distilled goods. There will be no need for catch buckets with these bad boys.
The 27ft tasting bar is expected to be painted and finished by the end of the week and the wooden beams we acquired from the old Vernon Fruit Union building have been refurbished.Week 55
The beams from the 1913 Vernon Fruit Union building hold a lot of fruit history, as do many of the materials that we choose for our buildings. They were sawed down by Rouck Sawmills in Lumby to remove their old white paint and the plan is to place them above the bar as a base for wooden slats.
The 27ft tasting bar is expected to be painted and finished by the end of the week and the wooden beams we acquired from the old Vernon Fruit Union building have been refurbished.Week 56
The Dyck's got to work with refining the wooden elements of the distillery from sawing wood to cutting pipe to be used as table legs and shelving support. The week concluded with creating our 90ft heritage wraparound counter - a striking separator between the retail and production area.Week 57
A Hands on Affair
The Dyck men have been experimenting with blow torches to create a worn out look on the metal for our distillery's 'Moonshiner's Shack' theme. Once complete they will serve as the slats for our tasting bar roof.
Previous Dyck projects included aging old metal rods to create a 'weathered' look for the interior of the distillery, and CEO Tyler has just recently finished converting windows from a century old house in Coldstream to mirrors for the public washrooms. Apparently Tony's backyard has become a playground for projects.Week 58 & 59