Susi Foerg, owner of Kelowna’s Rustic Reel Brewing Company, never thought she would be opening a brewery of her own. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

Rustic Reel to serve up human connection soon in Okanagan

‘Kelowna girl’ Susi Foerg has poured her heart and soul into new brewery

Susi Foerg never thought she’d end up opening a brewery, but that’s what she is doing.

The German-born, Kelowna-raised lover of all things outdoorsy has spent the majority of her career working for Valley First Credit Union as a teller and administrator. And, although she liked beer, she never imagined she would be at the helm of her own craft brewery.

“I loved my job because I got to spend all day having five- to 10-minute conversations with credit union members who came in,” she said. “I got to really know everyone coming in. I’m all about that human connection.”

During a trip to the Sunshine Coast, Foerg visited Persephone Brewing Company—a farm craft brewery—and she instantly fell in love.

READ MORE: New craft brewery location chosen in Kelowna

“It was sunny and they had picnic tables in the grass and there were families and kids and dogs and I was like, ‘oh my gosh!’” she said. “I didn’t really know what the craft beer world was like and I thought, ‘Holy! This is the dream.’ Then I wanted to try doing that here.

“The whole thing is, I get to create this company where I get to have all these conversations with people all day.”

Foerg’s vision for her brewery, comprised of meticulous details and feminine touches, is not only to serve a tasty cold one but also offer a relaxed atmosphere that concentrates on bringing the outside in. And every square inch of the brewery has Foerg’s personality shining through.

“This project has been three years in the making and all my heart is in it. I thought about a lot of the specifics of what I want where and why and how,” she said. “There is a purpose and reason for every aspect in the place and I’m so pumped for people to come in when it’s done.”

The taproom, open, dog-friendly patio and private party room will offer plenty of space for new conversations and connections.

READ MORE: Okanagan Fest of Ale hosts record number of breweries

One thing you won’t find a lot of, though, is televisions.

“That’s not the shtick here,” she said, noting “the guys” weren’t particularly fond of the idea. “That’s the thing about breweries, you sit at a communal table next to some random person and you start chatting over the beer and all of a sudden you’ve made a friend.

“Or, at the very least, you’ve made human contact.”

Foerg did say the TVs would be hung during major sports events.

Her brewery, located in a totally redesigned truck warehouse on Vaughan Avenue, will make a perfect addition to the growing craft beer scene in Kelowna and Foerg said she has been welcomed so far.

“We need more (breweries) in this area because the whole culture is going from one to another and trying different beers,” she said. “A culture doesn’t happen without multiples of the same thing or similar things.”

Rustic Reel Brewing Co. and its “good vibes” are coming soon as Foerg hopes to open this summer.

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