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More beer on tap with Okanagan Spring expansion

Stefan Tobler, Okanagan Spring brewmaster, spoke at a press conference Tuesday announcing a major expansion at the facility.
July 09, 2014 - 8:52 AM

VERNON - More beer will soon flow from the Okanagan Spring facility in Vernon.

Sleeman Breweries is investing $4.4 million to expand the facility and increase capacity by around 20 per cent annually.

“Thirty years later, Okanagan Spring is still brewed in Vernon where it was first founded,” Sleeman spokesperson Dave Klaassen said at a press conference this week in Vernon. “From humble beginnings it’s become one of B.C.’s most popular craft beers and is now extending nationally as well, with increased distribution in Ontario and Quebec.”

Construction involving new tanks, refrigeration upgrades, and increased brewhouse capacity will launch in November and is expected to wrap up by April to accommodate the summer rush. The expansion will be accomplished within the building’s current footprint.

The facility, which is owned by Sapporo, currently churns out 45 million litres of beer a year and employes around 140 people, a number that is expected to grow with the expansion.

“(The success) is amazing, it’s great. I was here from the first day. When I stared I didn’t know anything about beer — just know how to drink it, I was 19,” says Stefan Tobler, whose family established the brewery in 1985. “I went back to Germany to study brewing and that’s how I ended up being the brewmaster.”

The Okanagan Spring repertoire includes favourites such as Okanagan Spring Pale Ale,  the 1516 Bavarian Lager, the Porter and the Apricot Summer Weizen, and a recent addition, the Cloudy Amber Ale.

“It’s good beer, good quality, it’s the flavour everybody likes,” Tobler says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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