Purchasing and renovating a property in Naramata that used to be a doctor’s office for the new Legend Distilling Smalltown Spirits was fitting for owners Dawn and Doug Lennie. Local lore has it that during prohibition Naramata doctors and dentists regularly prescribed alcohol for folks feeling under the weather. Accordingly, Legend’s gin is affectionately dubbed “Doctor’s Orders”.

With a similar nod to another Okanagan legend, the Lennies named the premium vodka “Shadow in the Lake” playfully referring to Ogopogo – Canada’s best-known lake monster. In the tasting room, which opened in July, you’ll find colourful references to these stories on the bottles and in signs that decorate the attractive building overlooking orchards, vineyards, Okanagan Lake and Giant’s Head Mountain beyond.

Deeply rooted in the community, the couple decided it was time to design a business together. Previously, Doug ran a successful construction company while Dawn had a popular artisan market and eatery. Now they’ve combined their skills in a funky new craft distillery which will use BC-produced grains and blending items such as juniper berries, cherries and other produce sometimes sourced on site. Initially, vodka and gin is offered and ultimately, whiskey after it is barrel-aged for three years or more. Their timing is perfect given recent changes in liquor laws: Craft distilleries that use 100% BC raw ingredients can now sell from the distillery directly to consumers and through private liquor stores and restaurants.

~ Roslyne Buchanan