Penticton & South Okanagan News
Distillery dream almost a reality
A Naramata couple's dream to transform a former medical office into a distillery is moving closer to becoming a reality.
Dawn and Doug Lennie say their plans passed first and second readings by the RDOS board and were also well-received by the community at a public hearing in December in Naramata.
On Thursday, the third and final reading on the matter will take place at the RDOS board meeting.
"It was voted for unanimously through the first and second reading and supported at the public hearing, so we are optimistic," said Dawn Lennie, as she and her husband worked on building renovations on Wednesday.
The couple decided to bring a distillery to the former doctor's office, because they wanted a career change and to do something together.
Making their effort easier is the fact the provincial government changed a regulation last March whereby small distilleries using 100 percent BC raw ingredients could have farm gate sales and sell directly to restaurants and private liquor stores, like wineries do.
"Whereas, we couldn't even entertain doing something like this before, this made it a more viable business," said Dawn Lennie.
The couple hope to open Legend Distilling on Naramata Road in late May. It will initially offer vodka and gin and then a variety of whiskeys. Doug Lennie said he hopes to get a whiskey club going down the road.
RDOS Naramata director Karla Kozakevich said she is comfortable the plan will pass the third reading, because there hasn't been opposition from other directors and there is support from people who live near the building.
Although, some attending the December hearing expressed concerns about noise and disruption in the evening, they were assured the distillery would be a daytime operation.
"I see it as a great opportunity for the community and great for tourism," she said. "There are so many wineries. This offers an option to buy gin or vodka made from local products and will also supply some job opportunities."
The distillery will also be able to sell to local businesses, like the Naramata Heritage Inn and Spa, she added.
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