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Meet Susi. Susi is originally from Germany but has been living here in Kelowna for the majority of her life! Her favourite activity involves being outdoors whether it's hiking, running, snowshoeing or skiing followed by cooking a delicious meal at home and enjoying it with a local craft beer.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
I was born in Germany and immigrated with my family when I was 2 ½. I grew up in Kelowna, and other than a few years spent living in various places in BC and Alberta, have lived here all my life. I love it here!
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Hahaha, this is very silly to say – my dog Walter! He’s not a human but man he’s got a great personality. He’s completely ridiculous and he honestly brings joy to all those who meet him.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I don’t shop very much, so I’m going to go with a restaurant – Central Kitchen & Bar. It’s small, cozy, there’s a bar to sit at, and their burgers are mind-blowingly good. Plus it’s a short walk for me from the brewery when I’ve been painting all day and desperately need a beer and burger.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Hmmm. It’s a toss-up between Italy and Tofino. I absolutely love Italy – the culture, the food, the weather; it never gets old. Tofino, on the other hand, gives me a feeling of peace; I can beachcomb for hours, stare out at the waves, watch surfers.
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
It’s a tie between hiking and having nachos with friends on my patio.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Oh man. I don’t know if there’s just one. Perhaps the day I cycled to work but forgot to bring pants. I ended up spending the entire day in my tight biking capris paired with hot pink heels. Not the best look at a credit union.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
When I quit my job to learn about brewing in Vancouver, I placed an ad online to rent out my home fully furnished. By fluke, it was passed on through multiple people to a woman who was in a terrible bind. When we met at my home, she was overcome with confirmation that her recent decisions had put her on the right path in her life. When you make a choice and it positively affects someone else, you are exactly where you are meant to be.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Building forts in the woods across from our house, with my brother and the neighbourhood kids. We seemed to always be in the woods. That’s probably why I love going camping so much, and why nature is where I reenergize.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
My backyard or underneath my duvet cover!!!
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
I would love to see something like the Our Place shelter and My Place units that are being developed in Vernon.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I’m shy and am kind of a loner.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would end all animal cruelty, and put each person who’d committed cruelty behind bars.
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
What is the name of your business/organization?
Rustic Reel Brewing Company Ltd.
Why did you get into/start this business?
A few years ago I visited Persephone Brewing on the Sunshine Coast and loved how inviting, casual, and unpretentious it was; it felt like a big family, with kids and dogs playing on the grass... I wanted to create that kind of place here.
What is the goal of your business?
To create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfort, belonging, and wants to come back. I love connection; we’re all in this together, so let’s enjoy each other’s company and make new friends.
What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
In the past, my hair colour and silly personality have caused people to not take me seriously. It’s ok, we’re all guilty of making assumptions and having impressions that may not be the truth. I just end up digging in my heels a little deeper.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I would do everything the same. It’s been a really great journey so far, and while it’s taken me three long years to get to this point, I have grown so much as a person that I wouldn’t give up a single experience.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
By shopping local, you’re supporting those around you, which allows them to continue bringing amazing things to our town. All the little independent stores, restaurants, coffee shops, services, and items on shelves won’t be there if we don’t support them.
Give someone you think that deserves a shout out and explain why!
Miranda and Kirk Brooks, of Edge Apparel and Imprints Inc. in Vernon. They have gone above and beyond in every aspect, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them on all of Rustic Reel’s apparel. It’s been very hands-on and nice to deal with people who really care about their product.
My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Tara Reavie, of Tara Reavie Design. She’s my interior designer for the brewery and a long-time friend. She does amazing work while being a fantastic mom to two beautiful little girls. Kelowna really needs to get to know her!
Some general comments I would like to share are:
I would like to thank all those who have been there for me during this journey. From my friends and family here in Kelowna who have supported me by listening and by painting; the other craft breweries who have sit down with me to give me advice and welcome me to their neighborhood; to the wildly funny and talented team at Electric Bicycle Brewing in Vancouver, who allowed me to come work with them for six months, learning more than I ever expected. I've put every ounce of myself into Rustic Reel, and can’t wait to show everyone the end product in June!
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