On-foot brewery tours in Okanagan give ‘beer runs’ a new dimension

Brew Crew Kelowna celebrated its kick-off year this summer

Brew Crew Kelowna added itself to the brewery tour options in Okanagan this summer.

Though the on-foot tours are simple, owner and tour guide Heather Leslie has found that in the first year, the relaxing, casual and intimate style tours have been exactly what some people were looking for.

“I find that people are into taking it slow, hanging out and not being in a rush,” Leslie said.

“It gives them time to take a deep breath and enjoy the Kelowna views for the afternoon as they walk through the city. People are able to get a feel for the city and come back next time feeling like a local.”

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Though Brew Crew offers the jogging tour, that option doesn’t seem to be as popular as the walking tour.

The tour takes beer-enthusiasts through Kelowna’s downtown brewery district with stops at five locations: Craft Beer Market, BNA, Tree Brewing, Red Bird Brewing and Kettle River Brewing.

Leslie is a Kelowna teacher and wanted to work outside of an office during the summer time-off. With some friends in the brewing industry the whole plan and business kind of fell into place as beer and summer are well-liked by both locals and tourists.

“Everyone’s pretty pumped on beer,” Leslie said. “And the brewery scene here is super explosive. B.C. has made a name for itself with craft beer and Kelowna is already an awesome place in the summer.”

A majority of the Brew Crew customers are from out of town; beer-lovers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Vancouver and over-seas fill 80 per cent of the crews.

The tour guide team joins and directs the Kelowna new-comers through the best tactics for each different stop as well as a small discount for all customers.

“We take the ‘guessing game’ of it for a fun thing to do in the city. People get to find some places they might not have touched before and they get to find things out about Kelowna, the beer and the history of the Okanagan,” Leslie said.

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Brew Crew Kelowna has amassed nine 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor since it started at the beginning of summer.

Though the Brew Crew tours were mostly a summer attraction, Leslie hopes to continue offering tours on weekends through the fall. She said that she plans to make next year’s tours bigger and better and hopes to expand into the rest of the Okanagan.

More information at brewcrewkelowna.com.

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