Getting Reel in Kelowna with Susi Foerg
Okayelowna’s craft beer scene started 24 years in the past with the debut of Tree Brewing Firm. Progress in brewery numbers remained quiet till 5 years in the past, when breweries started popping up everywhere in the metropolis. Now with 15 breweries and counting, it has become a true beer destination.
From the primary time I examine Susi Foerg again in 2017, I used to be I intrigued! The proprietor and operator of the now one-year previous Rustic Reel Brewing Co. appeared completely different, as did her strategy to opening a brewery. It was a girl’s strategy.
Susi actually comes throughout as a robust girl who has fastidiously thought out and deliberate her operation and can tackle as many roles as wanted to make her brewery succeed. I’ve but to fulfill her, however till I get that likelihood, right here is my digital meetup with Susi Foerg.
HOW MUCH OF “YOU” IS IN RUSTIC REEL?
All the things about Rustic Reel is me. While you go searching our house, the snug, old-school vibe, with the little female touches have been all put collectively and chosen by my designer, Tara Reavie, and myself.
WHY THE NAME?
The identify is meant to remind you of fishing off the dock along with your Dad or Grandpa; perhaps they gave you their previous rod and reel to make use of. In our Group Room, you’ll discover a wall with photographs of previous fishing journeys with household and buddies. That nostalgic feeling is what I hope individuals really feel once they come into our tasting room.
WHAT ROLE DID YOU PLAY IN THE CREATION OF RUSTIC REEL?
I acquired the thought of opening a brewery after visiting Persephone Brewing on the Sunshine Coast 5 years in the past. I used to be in banking previous to this endeavour, and I’m unsure what possessed me to determine on this enterprise, however I did. I labored on placing collectively a marketing strategy for over a yr, took on-line brewing programs, moved to Vancouver to work at a craft brewery, got here again and designed your entire house with my inside designer, then bodily labored on the positioning for the eight months that it took to place Rustic Reel collectively.
Since opening, I’ve spent numerous hours in all areas of the enterprise. I’ve labored within the tasting room behind the bar, working meals, taking orders and filling growlers; I’ve labored within the kitchen dishwashing and cooking; and when my brewer went again to the US after COVID-19 hit, I spent three months dealing with all issues brewery-related: brewing, cleansing, cellaring and kegging. I’m very comfortable and proud to say I’ve achieved each job in my enterprise!
YOU APPEAR TO HAVE A FOCUS ON WOMEN, FROM EVENTS TO PROMOTIONS AND MERCH? IS THAT PLANNED?
It partly was, sure. Being in a really male-dominated business, I used to be clear from the start on ensuring that ladies felt welcome and comfy in my house. I’m comfortable to say that with my designer’s assist we undoubtedly succeeded in creating that really feel. This has allowed me to carry occasions which can be centered on girls.
Nothing towards males! Love ‘em! However I’ve the chance to create superior occasions in an area that’s normally deemed masculine, and it feels nice!
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM THE MANY OTHER BREWERIES IN KELOWNA?
Mmmmm, that’s a query I’ve a tough time answering; I don’t prefer to sound as if I’m bragging or suppose we’re higher than anybody. I’ll say that we’re a lot bigger than our shut neighbours, and a ‘lighter’ vibe that’s relaxed but stylish.
I prefer to recommend individuals simply come go to and really feel the distinction; it’s actually cool. I don’t discover that any two breweries are alike, and I really like that!
HOW WERE YOU TRAINED?
I had initially deliberate on heading right down to Chicago’s Seibel Institute for his or her brewing program, nonetheless I made a decision to take the web model as a substitute and get some hands-on expertise at a brewery in Vancouver. I had met one of many companions of Electrical Bicycle Brewing again in 2017. Once I was seeking to get expertise, they have been of their remaining months earlier than opening and wanted somebody to do odd jobs. I used to be that lady!
I used to be in a position to spend time with their brewer, be a part of brew days, do some residence brewing, and likewise find out about all that goes in to getting a brewery open! It was an incredible expertise.
DO YOU FEEL RESPECTED IN YOUR PRESENT ROLE?
Sure. I really feel revered by my workers as a result of they’ve seen that I’ve achieved each job within the constructing and am by no means above doing any process. I’ve tried to ensure to create an area the place my workers can share with me, strategy me with points, and ask me for assist. I additionally typically don’t get mad about issues. Screw-ups occur, transfer on.
FAVOURITE FEMALE IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?
In truth, I’m a loner. 😊 I don’t know anybody within the business exterior of the Kelowna circle and Electrical Bicycle. I wasn’t within the business previous to this, and I’ve stored my head down working since, so I haven’t had a lot time for socializing.
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE? GOALS FOR YOURSELF?
My largest achievement is that I’m in a position to say that the entire beers at present on faucet have been brewed by me, and we get compliments on the beer on a regular basis! I used the recipes we had in place, nonetheless it’s an enormous accomplishment to have been in a position to provide my brewery with beer myself!
It was INCREDIBLY exhausting, particularly since I used to be doing this each whereas we have been shut down and after we had re-opened. I used to be working a enterprise whereas additionally doing very bodily work. I’m proud to say that I can deal with something life throws at me and nonetheless stay standing.
ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR WOMEN GETTING INTO THE INDUSTRY?
Don’t hearken to any voice aside from your individual. Focus, head down, work exhausting, and consider in your self!
Rustic Reel Brewing Co.
On The Scene
Taken throughout What’s Brewing’s visit to Kelowna in July 2020.