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New Kelowna brewery deemed popular with 'slammed' soft opening

"A doctor, a teacher, and a church worker walked into a barn . . . and the rest is history." That is the origin story for one of Kelowna's newest microbreweries: Barn Owl Brewing.

Barn Owl is the product of the "building a pub with your friends" dream, which can often make its way into conversation during a night out with close friends. Gary Brucker, the church worker and one of the founders of the Barn Owl, said that this dream has been in the making since August of last year alongside Tim Kramer (the doctor) and Steve Van Dam (the teacher).

"We've been craft brew lovers, each of us, for decades and have joked about having our own craft beer place one day . . . then when 'the doctor' walked down the neighbourhood street and saw that the barn was available he texted us and said 'I think we've found our brewery' and we laughed. But he was not joking," Brucker said.

"We came down and took a peek and we had a meeting on Aug. 22 of last year and the rest is history."

Barn Owl announced Friday via social media that they would be hosting their soft opening on Saturday in their new building — a heritage barn from the 1920s — and says that while they were slammed with an unexpected amount of customers, they were not overwhelmed.

"A quiet Instagram and Facebook post last evening was the only news that we let out. We were not expecting it to be quite this bad — or good! It's good. Quite a heavy flow of traffic down here today," Brucker laughed.

"In terms of training our staff, we wanted them all here today anyway. We were going to give them all a chance to see it in action and work. They're handling the pressure great, but it has been full! . . . It's a good problem to have and the people outside have been patient, so that's great," Brucker said about the lineup waiting to enter the new brewery.

Barn Owl has nine beers on tap, seven of which of their own developed by Kelowna brewmaster Colin Pistawka, as well as a red wine, white wine and a cider on tap.

Their beers, though, are built to fit every palette, they say. "[Pistawka] wanted to have a beer for wherever your palette was and that's what he's done. He's created a very wide palette of beers on our production line . . . there's something for everybody"

While it's tough to say which of their seven brews on tap will be the favourite, Brucker said that their Bohemian Red Pilsner and Raspberry Wheat Ale were constantly being poured today.

Board meeting.

A post shared by Barn Owl Brewing Co. Kelowna (@barnowlbrew) on

Alongside their beers are baked goods from the bakery next door, called It's a Bakery, as well as board games and a shuffle board that will be brought in next week, says Brucker.

Due to the Barn Owl's licensing, food can also be brought in from outside the brewery, including homemade lunches or grub from nearby vendors.

Barn Owl is now open at 4629 Lakeshore Road from noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday, and 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday before they begin their regular hours on Thursday. They plan to host a grand opening in August.



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