Bad Tattoo owner Lee Auger and head brewmaster Liam Hutcheson welcomed Firehall Brewery owner Syd Ruhland into their brew-room to make a massive batch of his hit Backdraft Blonde Ale Tuesday, April 2021. (Firehall Brewery / Facebook)

Bad Tattoo owner Lee Auger and head brewmaster Liam Hutcheson welcomed Firehall Brewery owner Syd Ruhland into their brew-room to make a massive batch of his hit Backdraft Blonde Ale Tuesday, April 2021. (Firehall Brewery / Facebook)

Drinking buddies: Penticton brewery steps up to help out smaller competitor

Firehall Brewery of Oliver needed larger equipment to meet demand; Bad Tattoo was happy to help

It’s been said that despite being competitors, South Okanagan businesses always have each others backs. That sentiment was on full display Tuesday (April 13) at Bad Tattoo Brewing in Penticton.

When Firehall Brewery, a smaller Oliver-based brewery, was short on space to brew enough beer to meet their expected demand as summer approaches, the guys at Bad Tattoo stepped up and let Firehall use their larger equipment on-site at their brewery for the day.

In one day Firehall Brewery was able to brew approximately 40 kegs — or 4,000 pints — worth of their Backdraft Blonde Ale, an amount that would normally take them two weeks to brew, said Firehall owner Syd Ruhland.

As a small, family-run brewery, Firehall sometimes needs to brew off-site to meet demand.

The pubic’s thirst for beer, especially as the weather gets warmer, is something that should never be underestimated, said Ruhland.

“Basically our demand just far outstrips our supply,” he said. “We more or less run out of beer in some fashion every year so we go to great lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Without Bad Tattoo owner Lee Agur and head brew-master Liam Hutcheson stepping up to help out the smaller brewery, Ruhland doesn’t know what he would have done.

This isn’t the first time Bad Tattoo has stepped up to help Firehall, but it may be the last. In Bad Tattoo’s early days they had ample space in their brew kettles and could easily help out. But as Bad Tattoo has grown over the years, kettle space has become more limited.

READ MORE: Penticton’s Bad Tattoo Brewing will expand to Kelowna this summer

Allowing Firehall to use their brew-room for the day was really just a kind gesture, that Ruhland said he was extremely thankful for.

“When they first opened up, as with any brewery, until they’ve established themselves they’ll tend to have a bit of extra capacity,” Ruhland said. “That was their early days but now it’s much more difficult.

So, in many ways, it’s just because we have a good relationship that they took us in when they didn’t really have to. They did warn me that this potentially might not be able to happen again.”

Firehall Brewery brewed their first beer in 2012 in Oliver and has kept things small and local ever since, said Ruhland.

Their most popular beer, the Backdraft Blonde Ale, is always a hit with locals and tourists in the summer, Ruhland said he hopes Bad Tattoo’s favour allows the Backdraft Blondes to keep flowing late into the summer this year in Oliver.

READ MORE: Penticton breweries working together to put city on the map

READ MORE: Penticton’s Cannery Brewing says cheers to 20 years



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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