There is an ancient Celtic saying that states, ‘good people drink good beer.’
The same can be said for those who brew it.
A trio of Okanagan women is looking to provide that good beer when they open the doors to Three Lakes Brewing later this year. Melanie Raby, her daughter Tara (Raby), and friend and business partner Cathy van Kesteren, came up with the idea two years ago.
“Let’s give it a go and see what happens,” said Raby.
“Everything just fell into place. The beer community is just so friendly, so much awesome support.”
Raby adds that as far as she knows, the group is unique in the Okanagan beer brewing industry.
“We’ve talked to people in the brewing industry and that’s what they all say. There are women that own, but not 100 per cent.”
After spending some time looking for a location, including one deal that fell through, the group found space currently under construction in the Airport Business Park on Matrix Crescent.
“That little area there, it’s amazing how much that’s developing,” says Raby. “What a perfect spot.”
She adds that Three Lakes will have an intensely local focus, including buying hops and grains from farms in Barriere and Armstrong and fruit from orchards in Oyama.
Their beers will include fruit and wheat ales, an IPA, a pilsner and a sour.
Raby says they’ll also have a signature brew.
“A lot of people haven’t heard of it, which we kind of like, it’s called barley wine, similar to a dark amber ale. We’re going to put a twist on it and call it Barley’s Angel Ale.”
Daughter Tara, who has been winemaking for the past few years, is the brewmaster of the trio.
“She has the commercial, big tank level experience,” explains Raby. In addition to buying local, Raby says they will also feature local artisans.
“You can display your booth and sell your product. Kind of like our own little farmer’s market.”
As construction on their Matrix Cres. nears completion, Raby says they’ve been searching classified ads looking for tables, chairs, and other items to decorate the space.
“Little trinkets from all over the Okanagan. It’s nice to look around and see someone’s story.”
Raby says they’re creating a rustic, outdoor camping vibe. “Our labels are actually camping pictures, and you’ll see those pictures when you come in as well.”
Three Lakes Brewing will also offer the story behind the beer it makes, similar to tastings that are part of a winery tour.
“You don’t have to have that, but sometimes we go to breweries and wish we knew a little more about what we’re tasting.”
Raby says they are aiming to open their doors by summer.
“I would love a Canada Day opening, that’s the goal. We will be ready, but it’s just the (liquor) licensing. It does take time.”