Craft beer brewing has made its way to Ponoka.
Siding 14 Brewing Company, a nod to Ponoka’s original Siding 14 rail stop, is getting that much closer to completion of its craft beer brewery in the Southwest Industrial area of town. Co-owners Marc Shields and Kari Tarasoff are siblings who want to bridge the gap between mainstream beer drinkers and craft beer geeks.
“We want to create a beer library or beer listing that would allow us to cater to every element,” said Shields.
The brewery is set for just that. Once the company is open for business customers will be able to come in and buy a pack of beer or try one right in the front area. Everything will be done in house.
Indeed, much of the ingredients needed comes from places the company already knows. Tarasoff is on the hops growing side with her husband and they’re based out of Penticton, B.C. Along with the hops comes pridelands grain growers, Josh and Femke Lubach, north of Ponoka.
“Right now we’re about 80 per cent of the hops we’re providing for the brewery,” said Tarasoff.
Starting this year barley will be planted as well. Whatever they can’t grow the company will buy from Canadian growers.
Discussions are already in the works to get involved with specialty restaurants across the province and Tarasoff said Siding 14 Brewery is already bringing ideas to the table to make specialty kegs for different restaurants.
“Then they (customers) can start developing their own palate and developing their own interests and start branching out maybe,” explained Shields.
The brewery is set up for 15 barrels (1,760 litres) brewing capacity with a total of 120 barrels of fermenter capacity.
A target opening date is set for late June, explained Tarasoff who hopes to have the brewery ready for Ponoka Stampede week. A lot has happened since groundbreaking in December, she added, with equipment moved in April.
The company has embraced the Siding 14 name with growler jugs featuring a distinct logo and map of the rail line connecting Ponoka to surrounding sidings.
With Shields as brewery operations, there are also two brewing assistants, Kyle Dennis and Callum Mudd.
***This story has been corrected with the company’s full name, a staff name correction and clarifies the company as a brewery, not a plant as was originally described. Ponoka News apologizes for the confusion.***