Our Brewmaster

Traditionally Bavarian with
a flavour that’s distinctly BC

Born in the small town of Dinkelscherben, Germany, Stefan Tobler was exposed to the culture of beer at an early age. As a child, his parents owned various restaurants and bars throughout the region but were eager for new opportunities. When the Toblers arrived in Canada, Stefan’s father, Jakob Tobler, and family friend, Buko von Krosigk, were disappointed with the lack of quality in mainstream beers. Convinced that they could offer something better, the pair started brewing on their own. Despite the fact that neither of them had any previous brewing experience, they bought an old fruit-packing house in Vernon and turned it into a state-of-the art craft brewing facility. Calling upon another family friend, Raimund Kalinowsky soon agreed to leave Germany and join them as Okanagan Spring Brewery’s original Brewmaster.

Back in the earlier days, Stefan helped out wherever he could. He cleaned stainless steel parts in the basement and helped set up the brewery’s first packaging line. He was often asked to call upon his electrical training to fix pieces of machinery that might need his attention. As the brewery’s popularity grew, the brewing process became too much for Raimund to manage alone. He needed to find someone he could mentor and who would help to manage the increasing demand for his products. With a strong background in technical knowledge, Stefan was the obvious choice and soon began an apprenticeship with Raimund.

Over the next few years, the two worked closely together. With a clear knack for his new found profession, Stefan chose to pursue things further and enrolled at a brewing school in Ulm, Germany. After Raimund returned to Germany later that year, Stefan was officially named Brewmaster upon completion of his studies. Within a year of taking over, in 1989 Stefan created his very first recipe: Extra Special Pale Ale. Today it’s just called Pale Ale, but it’s still one of our most popular selections.

Since then, a lot has changed in and around the brewery. Surprisingly, the one thing that hasn’t is our process. Of course, with the current size of our facility, Stefan can’t do everything on his own anymore. Instead, he has an entire talented team, including his own apprentice Brad Wright, to help him ensure that every drop of Okanagan Spring is brewed in the same spirit as the original pint poured back on December 31st, 1985.