Kelowna is further staking its claim as a craft beer destination with the recent opening of Boundary Brewing Co., one of six breweries and brewpubs now serving up craft beer within the city limits.
Started by former farmer and rugby-enthusiast Oliver Glaser with the help (and money) of his teammates in the Kelowna Crows rugby club, Boundary Brewing promises a wide variety of German-inspired old world beer styles. It’s a modest operation, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in character.
I spoke with Glaser about what he has brewing, and why Kelowna is great town for craft beer.
First off, congrats on opening! Tell me a bit about the process that led you to where you are now.
Thank you. I’m pretty happy and excited as we get going. The process was crazy… pure insanity. I think one should only do this if one is insane, and I am. Where we are is open! Selling and having fun!
When did you open?
I guess we officially (soft opened) on Jan. 4, but that wasn’t the first time beers where consumed here. Now to plan a grand opening! Hmmm…
Why beer? What got you interested in craft beer enough to open your own brewery?
Is there any drink you prefer? Me neither. I loved drinking it, loved making it. I made lots of shitty beer as I learnt and I got better, and having always been an entrepreneur, I decided that it would be a good business to get into and got to it… and convinced a bunch of rugby friends to invest. They are mostly as nuts as me.
Kelowna is quickly becoming a craft beer destination. What makes it a good place to brew?
There is lots of room for growth in the beer scene here, a great food and (obviously) wine and spirits scene, close to suppliers of the malt and hops that I use and it’s a fun place to live, so it made sense. Plus, it’s where my kids are, so that’s the main reason personally. I think good products marketed properly can sell anywhere.
How has the local response been so far?
So far the response has been amazing! It’s growing quickly. In a matter of a couple of weeks, I have gotten tap space at some of the best places to eat and drink in the city. It’s nice to get messages from not only the craft beer connoisseurs out on the town but also other brewers congratulating me and complimenting the brews on tap. It’s validation for me and my vision. Re-orders and people coming to the brewery to fill growlers are the best compliments though! We are fast getting regulars, which is cool.
How big is your operation? What size batches are you brewing?
We are super tiny, nano-size but extremely scale-able due to the system that I built. We currently use two electric single-vessel 140L systems, that, as demand increases, can be run several times a day. But I am already thinking to the future about the next system I’ll build in here. Probably a 5 hectolitre (500L) version of what I have now. We always have about 20-30HL of beer in the fermenters, though. Major pro of the small system is the variety of beers I can experiment making.
Is there a tasting room onsite? Will your beers be available outside of the Okanagan?
We have a “cozy” (see, “small”) tasting room onsite, which stays pretty busy through the week. For the time being, we will be focusing on the Okanagan and a couple spots in the Kootenays, but eventually we’ll be looking for a few taps around the coast. One step at a time…
What beers will you be offering?
I make beers that I like to drink, but primarily (due to my heritage and connection to my family) I have been focusing on German styles (of which there are hundreds!). Balanced, if not more malt-forward beers. Mainstays like our Altbier and KRC Crows Kolsch, Weizen and Dunkelweizenbier, Jewel Creek Pilsner, as well as seasonal offerings like our Double Baltic Porter, Lil’ Tart Orchardweisse, Juniper Gruit, Gos-eh, Vienna Lager, Roggenbier, Spruce tip Ale and many, many more. There is always something new to try.
What makes Boundary Brewing Co. unique?
We experiment. Our system is small. Our taste is big and our varieties are many. I guess it’s just how small and passionate we are about making tasty beer that makes people happy. What makes anyone unique? I guess it’s just our take on classic styles.
Anything else you want to share?
My beer! With as many people as want to consume it!