The pristine waterfront location for the new beer festival.

Fabulous news for beer lovers in the Okanagan as a new festival is in the works for Kelowna.

Planning is underway for the Great Okanagan Beer Festival, the ‘little sibling’ to the extremely successful Whistler Village Beer Festival.

If all goes according to plan, the event will take place from May 7th to 9th at Waterfront Park.

“It all sources back to mid-summer when we had an article about our Whistler Village Beer Festival published in BC Business Magazine, highlighting our local business engagement model and the fine folks at Tourism Kelowna reached out to us and asked if we would be interested in expanding our festival and program out of Whistler,” says GOBF Event Producer Liam Peyton.

Peyton says he was blown away with the scenery in Kelowna and feels it’s a good fit.

“Whistler is held at the Olympic Legacy Park and it has absolutely beautiful views of the mountains. To expand onto another beautiful lakescape just makes sense.”

This won’t be a strictly beer focused event. Peyton plans on “immersing with the local community” and making the festival a mix of beer plus a farmers’ and crafters’ market with lots of fabulous foods.

“Because there are really cool pathways through Waterfront Park in a street market format, we will have some fruit and food stands and some really nice artisans and crafters plus some beer all nicely spread out throughout the park.” He plans on having about 30 different breweries in attendance. “It’s not going to be trying to fit as many different breweries or types of beers as possible it will be a lot, though.”

Besides the venue that overlooks Okanagan Lake, Peyton says the event will stand out in another aspect and that’s to do with their local business engagement.

“We don’t just pop-up shop and get a bunch of people drinking beer and close up. We work with local bars, restaurants and hotels especially because we come from a resort town. We leverage this festival as a tourism driver (in Whistler).”

Peyton met with Kelowna city staff, Kelowna Tourism and members of the Outdoor Events Committee earlier this week and says they didn’t seem to have any preliminary concerns.

“They’re pretty happy with our site walkthrough. We addressed everything from security and diligence before they even got to ask us. We’ve done this a couple of times now with Whistler who likes to have everything done correctly. I don’t really foresee any issues moving forward. It’s only four ounce pours, it will be extremely well secured plus its 19 and over with great food and other experiences. The beer isn’t a huge focal point.”

Find our more on the Great Okanagan Beer Festival website for information on how breweries and artisans can apply to be part of the event and be sure to like the GOBF’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

Full Article posted December 17, 2014 by Wendy McLeod

Brittia Thompson