THE FIREHALL BREWERY HISTORY

Firehall Brewery - Sid Ruhland - Brewmaster

Sid Ruhland, Brew Chief

The Brew Chief

While I studied at the Okanagan School of Business in Kelowna, BC, it was the evening’s self-guided beer education that taught me how to brew. I was fresh out of high school, so my friends and I were not quite old enough to buy beer yet, forcing us to brew our own in my dorm room. The humility has remained since those modest first batches, but the thirst for quality has grown.

The Old Firehall

The Old Firehall was built for Oliver’s Volunteer Fire Department in 1948. The firefighers built themselves a new fire station, and the Old Firehall was purchased and renovated in 2003, becoming the Wine Country Welcome Centre and Toasted Oak Wine Bar & Grill. Pappa’s Firehall Bistro now resides in the restaurant space, serving house-made recipes, craft beer, and local wine. Visit their website for upcoming special events.

Firehall Brewery - Oliver, BC
Firehall Brewery Staff- Danielle

Brewing a Brewery

The idea to put a microbrewery in Oliver’s ‘Old Firehall’ was born of father and son, Jim and Sid Ruhland. Planning for the Firehall Brewery launch began in early 2011, and equipment installation began in July later that year. We heard a local bootlegger was selling his brewing system, and soon enough we were busy piping it into the Old Firehall’s cavernous bunker with the help of friends & family. For an inside look at the whole process, check out ‘Brewing a Brewery‘. The first batch was released at the end of March 2012, and since then we’ve been pumping out unfiltered, unpasteurized, & uncompromised artisan ales, again with much help from friends and family. Our ales are available in limited quantities at a few fine locations in our region (see ‘Where’s the Beer?‘). Look for the red fire hydrant tap handle!

Crowdfunding the Beer Shop & Social

Through tremendous contributions from essential family members, friends, and contractors (including contracted office administrators), the Firehall Brewery has evolved from a single-employee production facility, managed by Sid, to the multi-faceted enterprise it is today. The organization has conjured a momentum of its own, fuelled in the spring of 2016 by a successful crowdfunding campaign. The campaign and community generosity funded the creation of the Beer Shop & Social, now located beside the brewery on the lower level of the Old Firehall.

Firehall Brewery Staff
Firehall Brewery Staff

New Partners

In August 2016, we were very excited to announce the addition of two new active partners to our business team. Danielle & Dermott Hutton relocated with their young family to the South Okanagan, to work in the brewery as co-owners and assist in our growth. These days, Dermott may be seen through the steamed-up brewery window, helping Head-Brewer Joe Whyte stirring the barley mash, or welcoming guests with with Danielle in the Beer Shop (when they’re not at home with their three children). Dermott and Danielle exude a natural passion for craft, culture, and family, so their addition to the Brewery fits perfectly with those passions already existent in our brewery culture.

Brewery Bios

Firehall Brewery Staff- Danielle

Danielle Hutton

Chief Visionary Officer

Danielle grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC. She got her first hospitality job at the Hard Rock Cafe in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia. After coming back to Canada, she went to Simon Fraser University to attain a double major in Philosophy and Criminology. During that time, she found her true passion in the hospitality industry. She worked at Earls in Burnaby, BC, and then went overseas to serve and manage in great restaurants in Australia and the UK. Again she returned to Canada and began working and managing for the Top Table group; first, at Araxi in Whistler with Chef James Walt, then to Blue Water Cafe with Chef Frank Pabst in Yaletown, Vancouver, and then at West with Chef Quang Dang in South Granville, Vancouver. All of these chefs helped to cultivate her appreciation for a regionally-specific and locally-sourced dining experience, including craft beer and wine. And, it was at Blue Water Cafe where she met the love of her life, Dermott. She then had the wonderful opportunity to move to Kelowna and help manage Raudz’s Regional Table, with the amazing chef, Rod Butters, and owner/sommelier, Audrey Surrao. This gave them a taste for the Okanagan, and impressed upon them the importance and bounty of local harvest.

Firehall Brewery Staff - Dermott

Dermott Hutton

Beer Department Eyecandy

Dermott was born in Victoria, BC, and grew up in Banff, AB, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. He has worked in the hospitality industry his whole life, starting as a busboy in Banff when he was 13. He attended college at Mount Royal in Calgary, AB, and BCIT in Vancouver, BC. In 2004 he moved to Vancouver, and worked primarily for the Top Table group at Blue Water Cafe, where him and Danielle met. Dermott spent a year as a stay-at-home-Dad with Emma, their first child. He returned to work as the manager of the Premium Clubs and Restaurants for the Vancouver Canucks. His passions include skiing and hiking, his family, a love of music, and, of course… beer. Now, Dermott and Danielle have 3 beautiful children; Emma (4 years old), Declan (2 years old), and Caela (4 months old). They love taking them on adventures and exposing them to the incredible things our province has to offer, like hunting for starfish on the beach in Qualicum, hiking through the forest in Lynn Valley, playing in the snow at Big White, or tasting freshly picked purple carrots grown in their garden.

Firehall Brewery - Sid

Sid Ruhland

Brew Chief

Sid was born and raised in Oliver, BC. After graduating from South Okanagan Secondary School, he backpacked through Europe, and then attended the Okanagan School of Business in Kelowna for two years. After working summer jobs at local wineries and managing the VQA Wine Store at the Old Firehall, he backpacked through Australia, before heading back to business school for two more years (including a semester exchange to Austria). After gaining perspective through travel and education, he then returned to his hometown roots to start a family-business, and get away from city society. In 2011, Sid lived in a tent on the mountain and started the Firehall Brewery with his father, Jim Ruhland. After a bear persuaded him to move out, he settled into a cottage just north of town, and started a family with his newly wed, Marie-Eve Laplante. These days, they live in-town with their two boys, Léo (2 years old) and Noah (1 year old), and are expecting another baby in February, 2017. Sid looks forward to more kids, growing the business, growing more garden food, and changing the modern world for the better by influencing those around him with art and ideas. He enjoys writing literature and music, especially about controversial topics in politics, economics, and cultural philosophy, and intends to work with the community to grow more food, be more socially interactive, get out into nature more, and learn to live more naturally.

Firehall Brewery Staff - Jared

Jared Yackel

Barkeep

Jared is a creator, through and through. There’s a reason why there’s a guitar in the Firehall Brewery “Seal” logo. Music and the creative arts are central to our identity, and Jared has been creating with us long before the logo itself was created. Like other members on the brewery team, Jared’s recruitment was simple osmosis… friends helping friends. Jared grew up in the South Okanagan region, attending South Okanagan Secondary in Oliver, where his mathematic mind didn’t just earn him scholarships… it also calculated how best to spend the scholarship money on musical instruments. Today we know it’s been a proven investment, yielding a very skilled singer-songwriter. Jared shines as a musician, through various music projects like Run Rabbit Run, Great White North, The Nobodies, and most recently his solo project, “Jared Jackel and the Bad Vibrations”. But he shines in other creative ways too, most recently with his hand in the creation of the Beer Shop & Social. The Kickstarter Campaign gave Jared a job, and in no time he put together our beer flight carriers, our stereo housing, the bar-area counter-shelving, and other shop essentials. He set up merch inventory and helped with the room layout. His artistic touch beautified our chalkboard art in the public hallway, and carefully laid out product information on our retail chalkboards, with impressively neat printing for a man. His vinyl records adorn the walls of the Beer Shop. And if you like records, on Vinyl Tuesdays he spins some amazing discs from his collection, including new crazy gems from up-and-coming indie artists. What has been most special is just having Jared around since the Beer Shop’s conception. His presence is calming, like therapy, which is always welcomed at brewery-family get-togethers, where Jared has joined in many after-work dinners boiled in the madness of toddlers raising hell. Jared has learned, like many of us during the last year, to seize the day, grab life by the horns, live in the moment, live the dream, jam banjo in the sunset, sleep in a van, chase bears down mountain roads. And… if we’re all lucky enough, also writing and creating conceptual treats and musical magic, that we’ll all get to hear down the road, at a concert or on the ol’ stereo.
The Nobodies: https://the-nobodies.bandcamp.com/music

OPENING HOURS

Sunday – Thursday
noon to 8pm

Friday & Saturday
noon to 10pm

BREWERY TOURS

Saturday & Sunday
1pm / 3pm / 5pm

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LOCATION

6077 Main Street (Basement)
Oliver, BC, V0H 1T0

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