Lime, The Mix, Julia’s – a number of restaurants, pubs and clubs have come and gone from the corner of Vernon’s 30th Avenue and 30th Street, with varying degrees of success.
Stefan and Pearl Marten, owners of The Naked Pig barbecue joint and soon-to-open Marten Brewpub, believe they have come up with a recipe for longevity.
“Barbecue and beer – it just goes hand in hand, right?” laughed Stefan.
With The Naked Pig already operational (it opened in July), Stefan and wife Pearl, originally from Williams Lake, are now concentrating on getting the brew pub ready. They anticipate it will be up and running sometime in early 2015.
With backgrounds in both hospitality and construction, the husband-wife duo has been working tirelessly, doing a lot of the building renovations and upgrades themselves.
“We’ve been able to work together for the past 10 years so we’ve gotten to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Pearl.
“This was a good project for us to do.”
Added Stefan: “Here’s a building that needs everything to be face-lifted, and then to bring hospitality into the picture, it was perfect to put the two of them together.”
With 10,000 square-feet to play with (including the Pig), the Martens have no shortage of space to work with. They have incorporated a pair of convention rooms, one capable of hosting about 100 people, and one for smaller meetings.
Once complete, it will be one of the largest brew pubs in B.C.
Working with the building’s industrial interior, which already features plenty of brick, concrete and steel, Pearl has maintained the brewery look by incorporating rough-hewn wood trim and metal-strapped wood doors.
“It gives it a sense of stability, like it’s been here (a while). It’s established,” said Pearl, who, despite having no formal training, has developed a real talent for interior design.
“We wanted it to feel like you’re in the brewery, like you’re sitting there drinking your beer while watching us make it. You get to see the process happening.”
The building boasts an open-air design with a massive mezzanine offering views of Cenotaph Park. Of course, the main attraction will be the glorious seven-barrel brewing system, which will operate in plain view of customers.
The Marten line will start with four beers, and once fully operational, it will expand to eight.
“We’ll have four seasonals that will revolve,” said Stefan, referring to a rotating series of stouts, porters, ales and wheat beers, depending on the time of year, and on customer demand.
Overseeing the brewery will be Stefan Buhl, former longtime brewmaster of Kelowna’s Tree Brewing Co.
“We know about it (brewing), but not to this level,” said Stefan. “We’ve got one of Canada’s best brewmasters, so we’re lucky.”
The Martens plan to make full use of Okanagan ingredients. They have already met with two local hopyards – one in Coldstream and another in Winfield – plus Spallumcheen’s Gambrinus Malting Corporation.
“Because we’re small batch (brewing), we get to use the best ingredients,” said Stefan. “If we want specialty, we can get that because we’re not using these massive tanks. We get to experiment and have fun with our product.”
Once brewing begins, Marten will be available on site in both draft and through growler sales. They also plan to distribute kegs to other local establishments.
They are also licensed for tours and tastings.
Stefan said they might consider bottling or canning beer further down the road.
“There are some mobile options now where they’ll come and can it for you,” he said. “It’s a newer concept but it’s really popular because you don’t have to have this huge space. As a start-up, it alleviates a huge investment.”