Kelowna’s Best: BNA Brewing

BNA Brewing named Best Nightlife venue in the annual contest

Chandeliers dangle from the ceiling in-between wooden beams.

A moose head hangs on the wall.

That’s part of the customer experience when patrons stop in for a pint at BNA Brewing Co. on Ellis Street in downtown Kelowna.

The company celebrated its two-year anniversary on June 1 with a special batch of beer.

Called Cordova, the beer is made with rose petals and hops and stored in red wine barrels. The beer has a special meaning for co-owner Kyle Nixon, who dedicated it in honour of his late mother.

“It’s his mother’s maiden name,” said marketing director Jill Jarrett.

The brewery began with a vision and a team of solid workers.

Nixon’s family used to own the Hotel Eldorado and when the hotel sold, the people stayed with the family in their new venture.

“When his family sold the hotel, it just seemed to fall into place,” said Jarrett, who started working at the hotel wiping down tables as a bus-girl at 15. She then moved into hostessing and serving, before taking an interest in the social media and direction of marketing with the opening of the brewery.

Owners Kyle and Carolyn Nixon, both born and raised in Kelowna, created the brewery after the Eldorado, keeping some of the close members and taking a year to prepare for the opening.

“We all worked together previously and knew we could do it,” said Jarrett. “We didn’t all necessarily have the experience on paper but Kyle and Carolyn knew that we understood the vision and we cared a lot about BNA and what we were trying to do in Kelowna. You can learn the skills, but the passion, the teamwork he knew we had, you can’t necessarily teach that.”

BNA opened June 1, 2015 with approximately eight original members from Eldorado, said Jarrett.

The design of the brewery came from Carolyn’s vision. Before the brewery opened the owners collected chairs and odd furniture in the garage, so much so they couldn’t park their cars in it.

With the popularity of wine, the team wanted to do something different in Kelowna.

“We just wanted to expose people to what beer can be,” said Jarrett.

Their missing puzzle piece was brewmaster Liam McCormack who came from Vancouver. None of the Eldorado team could brew beer, but with a new brewmaster who constantly came up with new ideas, the BNA was ready.

Their next step will be moving into canning.

A canned version of the 76 Wolverine lager, which got its name from a previous address at Big White, will be available this summer.

“Kyle’s brother in law has a place at Big White and it used to be a place (for people stay and hang out at),” she said, the idea of it came from the spirit of the party house.

And they’re also experimenting with the hours of their tasting room.

Check out their beer in the tasting room from Sunday to Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 7 or from Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Find out more on their website by visiting bnabrewing.com.

 

Owner Kyle Nixon is celebrating BNA Brewing Co.’s second anniversary with a special batch of beer. - Photo Contributed