Things are starting to take shape for Hatchery Brewing, which will be opening in summer 2019.
The new brewery is setting up shop at 218 Martin St., formerly known at The Mule Night Club. Liam Peyton, one of Hatchery Brewing’s co-owners, said he and his wife, Kelsey, have been involved in the craft brewing industry for a number of years and the idea for Hatchery Brewing has been a while in the making.
“When I was working in Whistler five years ago for a large hospitality group, I was transitioning off of floor management and really took an interest in craft beer for a few years,” said Peyton. “So then I had the opportunity to launch the Whistler Village Beer Festival. Which then spanned into Kelowna reaching out, having the Great Okanagan Beer Festival, which I started for those guys in 2015.”
Peyton explained that he met Kelsey when they were both working for the hospitality group in Whistler. She currently works for Central City for Red Racer Brewing.
“In 2014 on a roadtrip, we decided we wanted to open our own brewery. But at the time we didn’t have the team, we didn’t have the expertise,” said Peyton. “We’ve now found our brewer (Chris Vandenberg), who has been working at Parallel 49 and then Postmark Brewery and Powell Brewery for the last seven years. And finally our finance guy (Jason Mathews), who was also at Postmark.”
Peyton said the brewery’s team all has a strong and diverse background in the craft beer industry, each focusing on either sales, finance, brewing, or operations and marketing.
“We’ve kind of got the perfect team,” said Peyton. “We chose Penticton because this is where Kelsey grew up. So our three founders are myself, my wife and her father, Doug Guerard, of Guerard’s Fine Furniture.”
Peyton said they’ve also garnered friendships with other local breweries such as the Cannery Brewing and Bad Tattoo, making Penticton an enticing choice for their business venture. The founders began looking for locations for the brewery around 18 months ago, unanimously opting for the Martin Street location when it was listed.
“The Mule’s previous owners are just the most fantastic, family people as well so they were a really great benefit who ended up staying on and invested,” said Peyton. “They believe in the team and they’re actually part of the next stage of The Mule building which is really cool, they’re really excited to see new life in the building that they owned for 18 years. It’s a new opportunity for a young team of people wanting to do something cool for the community.”
When The Mule announced it would be permanently closing after the Labour Day weekend this year, rumours almost immediately began to fly about what would be taking its place. Peyton said he and his wife had actually told some people at their wedding on Aug. 11, the same day management at The Mule told their staff.
“We kind of told everyone (at the wedding), and some people knew, and there were people from other businesses there so I think text messages started going,” laughed Peyton. “So we woke up the day after our wedding to all the ridiculous (Facebook) comments about The Mule closing. It was very entertaining.”
Now that they’ve been able to officially announce their new venture, Peyton said the team is focused on the renovation of the building and the perfection of their brews.
“It’s going to being open 10 hours a week for two nights, late nights, to seven day a week, family friendly,” said Peyton. “We’re putting a kitchen in, and we acquired the cafe that was on Martin Street as well so we’ve blown out all the walls now. All that really remains in the building right now is the main bar, the storage units behind it, and the mezzanine directly above it. Everything else is completely gutted and wide open.”
“Chris and I have been home brewing now since last September, so we’ve been fine-tuning a bunch of great recipes. The space is going to be a brew pub, so it will be open to all who want to enjoy good, local product,” said Peyton. “So we’ll have some core, year round beer like a German-style lager and an American-style pale ale and IPA.”
Peyton said they also hope to have Hatchery Brewing collaborating with locals in the wine industry “to a level that hasn’t really been done.” He said rather than just putting beer in a previously used wine barrel, they’ve already been working with wine makers to collaborate on the liquid that will be going into the oak, developing some “next level products.”
Hatchery Brewing has inherited The Mule’s liquor primary licence which allows it to remain open until 3 a.m., but Peyton said they don’t anticipate they’ll keep the brewery open that late. Instead, they want to focus on being open during community events such as the farmers’ market.
“We’re trying to use all of the bounty from the Okanagan, so the fruits, the vineyards, we’ve met with honey makers. There’s a lot of really cool things that we can do so people can expect some locally-inspired beers that the Okanagan can put its stamp on.”
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