Another brewery has joined the Central Okanagan with the goal to give people more options.
Grey Fox Brewing opened on Friday, Dec. 17, becoming Lake Country’s first brewery. The newest brewery is notable for two reasons, including that it’s the Okanagan’s first fully gluten-free brewery.
“I was diagnosed with celiac disease 20 years ago,” said Grey Fox Brewing Owner, Founder, and Brewmaster Chris Neufeld. “The whole gluten-free scene has changed a lot in 20 years but beer is a void, there’s really no good gluten-free beer in British Columbia.”
Neufeld told Capital News the idea of opening a brewery started in the fall of 2019.
“It’s been a long road,” said Neufeld. “In a lot of ways, it was a relief to finally cross that line and be open, but then reality set in that we’re really only getting started. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
Neufeld and his team had troubles early on as the pandemic started, but then got possession of their Lake Country location in October 2021.
They also received help to open their brewery by starting a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $20,000 from 112 people.
When it comes to gluten-free beer, the procedures can be more complex than regular beer, because it is based from millet and rice instead of barley.
“The process is a lot more complicated than brewing regular beer,” said Neufeld. “We have a much more complicated mashing process. Historically, there’s been the challenge with gluten-free beer.”
The second reason why Grey Fox is notable for the Central Okanagan is that it’s not a pub. They are manufacturing their beer at their facility to distribute to other breweries around the Okanagan.
“You can come here and buy beer but you can’t come here and have a beer,” said Neufeld. “Our plan is we’re going to be available in the other breweries around town and [they’re] very receptive of that. The concept is that me, as a celiac, I can go to my friend’s favourite brewery and share a beer with them even though I’m gluten-free.”
Neufeld also said that since the pandemic, it’s been harder to find gluten-free beers in liquor stores.
Grey Fox is the Central Okanagan’s 19th brewery, and people have been excited about having another option that opens up to more people.
“When we opened, we got absolutely slammed, we’ve been pumping beer out of there like crazy,” said Neufeld. “It’s a combination of people coming in who said they haven’t been able to drink beer in years and are super happy to have an option to the beer geeks that want to try out the newest brewery all the time. We’ve had a really good cross-section of people and really interesting conversations.”
Grey Fox Brewing is located at 105-310 Hiram Walker Court.