he's Got the Edge
A light-hearted Q&A with the people who make the Okanagan work


Adam Semeniuk
Okanagan Edge Staff - Sep 04 - Got the Edge

Image: Facebook.

Name: Adam Semeniuk.

What business or organization are you involved with? Red Bird Brewing.

What is your role with that organization? Owner/operator.

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Okanagan? I love the tight-knit community we have, the outdoor culture, the amazing weather and the incredible growth we’re seeing in Kelowna. There’s a lot of opportunity here for anybody with a passion. Having grown up in Vernon originally, I can’t imagine myself living somewhere that doesn’t have a lake and mountains.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My grandfather, Frank Williamson. He passed away when I was only six years old so I have the most amazing memories of him. I would have loved to talk to him as an adult and tried to absorb as much knowledge from him as I could. He was one of those guys that was 50 years ahead of his time.

What’s your go-to happy place? There’s a bench in Dilworth Mountain Park that overlooks the city, it has the most amazing view. It’s where I like to go when I just need to calm my thoughts, gain some perspective and recharge. I feel like I could just sit there all day.

What are you most proud of? I have to say I’m really proud of the brewery, Red Bird. It has definitely been the most challenging project I’ve ever taken on in my life. I don’t have any partners in the venture so I had to fund it myself by selling almost everything I own and refinancing my apartment. There have been a lot of good friends that have helped me along the way, some loaned me money, some helped scrape glue off the floor, some stained wood or helped grab wood pallets from around town and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my dad’s help on all the construction labour. It’s been an incredibly long and hard road, but it’s starting to pay off by seeing the community come together and show their support. We’ve only been open about two weeks (as of this writing) and already there are a good number of “regulars.”

What are the top three things on your bucket list? This probably sounds odd, but I don’t think I have a bucket list. I hope to travel more as the brewery becomes more self sufficient, and I just like making things. Every day, all I want to do is hang out with great people and make things, basically anything. Right now those things are beer and wood products.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I spent a lot of time in the South American jungle, and you definitely come across some different food. My dad and I were working down there and we would often stay in a camp. The camp cook made something different each day and one day it was raw cow stomach. It would have been rude to not finish our meals, so we did our best. I’m not a picky eater at all, there’s almost nothing I won’t eat, but that was the hardest thing to eat while sitting around a bunch of other people and not show your distaste at all.

Latest movie or book: How to Brew by John J. Palmer is very well written and so is The Brewer’s Handbook by Ted Goldammer. I just can’t read fictional novels, my brain wanders endlessly. I haven’t really watched a movie in a long time; I have been tied up for an insane amount of hours everyday working on the brewery. I did manage to go out and see the latest Spider-Man movie, though, which I thought was a lot of fun.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? It’s hard to identify something that really stands out. I’m an incredibly practical person, so any gift that is something I really, actually need is an amazing gift. Recently, a friend of mine gave me his old car because he didn’t need it anymore and I couldn’t afford a car having spent everything on the brewery; that was something that blew my mind.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With a bunch of friends floating down a river on a hot sunny day with a beer in hand.

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