Urban Distilleries is a small batch micro-distillery, and Kelowna’s largest and oldest distillery at that. Located at No. 6 – 325 Bay Avenue in Kelowna, it’s just a stone’s throw from downtown, and worth the venture.
Owner-Operator (& Master Distiller) Mike Urban runs the operation, and greeted us as we walked in.
As you walk in, it’s a broad open space. A casual couch in the corner makes the space feel homey and welcome. There is no clutter, no unnecessary displays or ads. Everything seemed pretty precise, which I enjoyed.
We walked around to take everything in, chattering with each other and with Mike Urban. He was happy to answer any and all questions we had, even if we ended up asking them two or three times.
Neatly tucked away in a hallway were some aging barrels, already purchased for over $4,500. The contents of which could fill over 100 bottles. If I had $4,500 handy, I would probably buy myself a newer car, but if you have money to spend, why not spend it. #NotBitter
You may receive a complimentary tasting of an individual spirit, or opt to pay a $5 fee to be able to sample all of the spirits in the line up. We opted to try them all, for science! The lineup went from light to dark to flavoured items. So vodka, gin, whiskey, and then into the flavoured vodkas. I am not generally a fan of vodka, but the clouds have lifted and I could definitely be swayed to have it again if it were the Spirit Bear Vodka. Served warm, it was easy and smooth – no bite at all. It could only get better if chilled. The gin was equally as delicious. The single malt whiskey had a long lasting finish.
In the flavoured line up was a vanilla vodka. Best flavoured vodka. It has a whole Tahitian vanilla bean in the bottle, and it is so subtle and not overwhelming. It was not like anything else I have sampled currently on the market. Espresso vodka was next; this tasted like coffee infused vodka. Pretty straightforward and while it was not my favourite, my partner did thoroughly enjoy it himself. Lastly, we had a hot pepper vodka. The exact name of which I cannot recall. It smelled normal, but it packed quite a punch. I like spice, and this is definitely something I would use in Caesars to have some extra kick!
We had a quick tour in the back where we got to peruse and talk with Mike about the distilling processes, and simple questions like how long do you keep these barrels filled? Around four years. Where are they from? Tennesse – Used from Jack Daniels.
I’m curious as to how the brass stays so shiny!
Mike explained that the smaller kettle is used only for gin. The reason behind this is that gin has to be infused with botanics, and that flavour is difficult to remove from the main kettle. If there weren’t two kettles, the spirits would all have that taste.
We ended up bringing a bottle of gin and a pack of Fentimans imported tonic water home with us for a nice memory… or just for a delicious G&T.
Urban Distilleries is well worth the visit, and just steps away from downtown Kelowna. a lovely addition to part of your weekend, and your liquor cabinet.