The Firehall Brewery on Main Street in Oliver, British Columbia has doubled its cold storage capacity this November to keep up with demand. Aging tanks were ordered & picked-up from Interior Stainless, a tank manufacturer in Summerland, BC. Firehall Brewery’s “Stoked Ember Ale” continually sold out during the summer of 2012, triggering the investment into more storage tanks. A new beer label is being developed, utilizing the increased capacity and adding more variety to the microbrewery’s product offerings. The new beer will be a blonde ale called “Backdraft”.
The addition of new tanks is very exciting for the town of Oliver because it exemplifies the growth of the community’s first and only brewery. Not only does the brewery compliment the current agritourism in the region (wineries, fruit stands, tomato festival, grape festival, et cetera), but has begun to attract additional visitors seeking craft beer. The beer products have been promoted in town with the Back Alley Concert Series at the brewery’s beverage garden, tying music and community involvement into the core of the Firehall Brewery brand. The Firehall Brewery has attended beer festivals as far as Victoria, BC, and has gained televised exposure for itself and the Town of Oliver across the province. The craft beer industry has begun to boom in British Columbia during the last few years, coming a long way since the market was created only a few decades ago. The “Craft Beer Revolution” is not just growing in BC, but has been sweeping the globe, as beer drinkers are becoming educated about the brewing process and the beverage’s long history.
After 15 months of planning and construction, the Firehall Brewery released its first batch of beer, the “Stoked Ember Ale”, in late March of this year, shortly followed by the release of the “Holy Smoke Stout”. The third beer to be released, the “Backdraft” blonde ale, is scheduled to finish recipe development and cellaring just before the end of 2012. It will be a light session beer with a golden colour and a crisp finish.
The Firehall Brewery is a small family-owned operation, managed by a father-son team, Jim & Sid Ruhland. Sid Ruhland is an Okanagan School of Business alumnus, now applying business theory to his home-brewing skills learned in the college dorms. The brewery is “draught-only”, meaning the beer is packaged solely into kegs for local distribution to restaurants, bars and pubs. There are no current plans to invest into canning or bottling equipment. 1.89L (1/2 US Gallon) refillable jugs called “growlers” can be brought to or bought from the Firehall Brewery tasting room to be filled with draught beer to-go. Tours are available by appointment.