Vernon just got a little bit cooler.
Stefan and Pearl Marten, owners of Marten Brewpub, have taken what used to be a former nightclub and painstakingly morphed it into a hip, industrial, cozy, pub that is centred around their micro brewery.
They used local products in the construction such as steel from Donald’s Machine Shop, wood from Enderby and a re-used railroad trestle from Revelstoke that they milled for tables.
For the couple, this has been a project born out of pure passion and drive.
The Martens have worked full tilt everyday for two years to open their restaurant the Naked Pig and now Marten Brewpub right beside it.
After being denied by lenders because they deemed the building to be cursed, Stefan and Pearl were left with no money in the budget for the construction.
So they set out to prove that this so-called “curse” is hogwash and did more than 90 per cent of the labour themselves.
“From this table that we are sitting on, to the chairs, to the brewery that we completely assembled ourselves, I have thousands of pictures of Pearl grinding, cutting, smashing and demolishing, we did it all,” said Stefan.
Pearl and Stefan both have years of experience working in many different facets of the hospitality industry but more recently they have been renovating and building homes together.
“It was a neat project for us, the building needed work and then we also have the hospitality side of it, so this was the perfect project to do both,” said Stefan.
The brewery is the focal point of the pub and can be seen from every seat in the house.
Stefan and Pearl have been enjoying the brewing aspect of their new business and they have been learning from the best.
Brewmaster Stefan Buhl is one of Canada’s top brewers.
Born and raised in Germany, he was the brewmaster for Tree Brewery for 17 years and is now a consultant for breweries all over the world.
“He is a family friend and to be honest we wouldn’t be able to afford someone like that because of his high caliber,” said Stefan.
“We have become really close and he loves this project because, for him, not only does he get to teach Pearl and I what his experiences are, but we are stepping away from production brewing, where you are doing the same style over and over again,” said Stefan.
Some of the benefits of a brew pub atmosphere are having the freedom to experiment and listen first-hand to feedback.
“It’s about the hands-on, back-to-basics brewing and that’s what he (Buhl) really enjoys,” said Stefan.
“He has taken us under his wing and we are really just fortunate and we honestly wouldn’t have done this without him.”
The Martens have high hopes for their brewery and with 10,000-square-feet in the basement, the brewery has room to grow.
Stefan and Pearl’s two establishments were designed to be totally distinct from each other.
The Naked Pig is a barbecue -style restaurant and Marten Brewpub has its own style of menu.
The Naked Pig is an urban cafe offering barbecue items, with vegetarian options and a strong coffee line.
Marten Brewpub has a more European-style menu, with traditional German fare including schnitzel, bratwurst, pork hock and spaetzle.
They also offer Canadian pub-style options like burgers, pizza, wings and nachos.
“It’s the ultimate beer drinking menu,” said Pearl.
The Marten Brewing Co. has seven of its creations on tap, with creative names like Captain Marten’s Spiced Winter Ale, Just For the Helles, Rough & Dirty Red Ale, Holy Moses Pilsner.
They have 32-ounce and 64-ounce growlers available to be filled for take-home craft beer.
The brew pub has a convention and party area located on the top level, with a viewing platform designed by Pearl.
“You can have your party in there and then people can spill out in the viewing area and look over the pub and brewery,” said Pearl, who, along with Stefan, is passionate about bringing more life to downtown Vernon.
With 60 employees between Marten Brewpub and the Naked Pig, the Martens believe they are doing their part for the local economy.
For some, the idea of working alongside their spouse may seem like a disaster waiting to happen but Stefan and Pearl wouldn’t change a thing.
“I would never do anything without Pearl, that’s how we roll,” said Stefan.