Kim Lawton with her dog Porter named as a tribute to Cannery Brewing's Thornless Blackberry Porter. (John Arendt Black Press)

Women in Business: Elevating the Penticton beer scene since its beginnings

Kim Lawton manages Penticton’s Ale Trail, markets the Cannery Brewing and more

Included in the May 26th print edition is our Women in Business magazine where we highlight South Okanagan women who are making a difference in the community and in the business world. Here we highlight Kim Lawton who has been elevating Penticton’s beer scene from behind the scenes from its frothy beginnings.

Kim Lawton has been immersed in the Penticton beer scene since its beginning, helping to put this town’s craft breweries on the world stage.

She has been the marketing director at Cannery Brewing for the last 14 years. She also manages the Penticton Ale Trail, which is the collective of Penticton craft breweries. In addition, she is the president of CAMRA SO (Campaign for Real Ale South Okanagan).

The Penticton Ale Trail

“The craft brewing community is a tight-knit community. In Penticton, we decided early on to work together to form the Penticton Ale Trail, which is one of 19 trails along the BC Ale Trail,” said Lawton.

Penticton is now home to seven breweries with an eighth to open this fall (Abandoned Rail Brewing Company).

“Together, we realize we can have a bigger impact on showcasing all that we are doing here. It’s this collaboration that helped us build momentum and excitement for our craft beer scene including Penticton being named as Canada’s Craft Beer Capital by travel giant, the Lonely Planet in 2020. So here we are, in the heart of wine country, a dynamic and vibrant craft beer scene,” said Lawton.

Women in Beer

“While the traditional mass beer market tends to be more male-oriented, one of the things I love about the craft beer industry in general is that it’s all-inclusive,” she adds. “Many breweries are family-friendly. You’ll see all ages, all ethnicities, guys and girls, singles, couples, groups, and families, because craft breweries are a reflection of the local community.”

Lawton is proud of the number of women working in the industry.

“In Penticton, we are very lucky because we had two incredible women pioneers in this industry with Patt Dyck as co-owner at Cannery Brewing for over 20 years, and now-retired Lorraine Nagy from Tin Whistle Brewing for over 20 years,” said Lawton. “These hard-working and passionate women led the way and blazed the trail for other women in this industry.

Having organizations like the Pink Boots Society further helps showcase the beer industry as a career choice for women. Every year, Cannery Brewery gets all the female brew makers together to create a beer Ceres (named after the goddess of agriculture) with funds going to the Pink Boots Society.