Crews work with a crane operator to guide new equipment into place at Okanagan Spring Brewery along 25th Avenue earlier this week in Vernon.

Crews work with a crane operator to guide new equipment into place at Okanagan Spring Brewery along 25th Avenue earlier this week in Vernon.

Okanagan Spring undergoing $4.4M upgrade

Okanagan Spring Brewery expands operation with $4.4 million upgrade.

Okanagan Spring Brewery is in the midst of a $4.4 million upgrade.

Vernon residents may have noticed a temporary road closure on 25th Avenue as crews worked with a crane operator to install new equipment which, when complete, will increase the Sleeman-owned brewery’s capacity by 20 per cent.

Dave Klaassen, vice-president of operations and HR for Sleeman, based in Guelph, Ont., anticipates that by next May, the brewery will be able to produce 600,000 hectolitres annually, up from its current 500,000 hectolitre capacity.

“It (investment) is pretty significant for the brewery, and for Vernon,” said Klaasen.

Okanagan Spring started planning for the expansion this summer. Work began in November with an upgrade to the brewhouse. Klaasen said further work on the refrigeration system is also scheduled.

The brewery’s growth coincides with an increased marketing plan to promote its products in Eastern Canada. Klaasen noted they are already available in Ontario and Quebec.

Okanagan Spring produces its own line of beer, plus a range of other Canadian domestics. Klaasen said there are no plans to increase the product line.

“Same beers, just more of them,” he said. “It’s not really going to change other than it will change our capacity to make beer.

“I’d just like to tip my hat to the people that work there. The people have great entrepreneurial spirit and they’re why we’re able to make great craft beers there.”

 

Vernon Morning Star

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