Artisan Fermenters and Distillers Business Conference and Tradeshow

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Penticton, BC

2018 Speakers

Session: Things I Would Do Differently If I Started Over ….

Tyler Dyck is the CEO of BC’s Original Craft Distillery, Okanagan Spirits.  Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is a family owned and operated distillery with two Okanagan locations focusing on Farm-to-Flask production since the early 2000’s. Tyler is also the President of the Craft Distiller’s Guild of BC, a position he has held for the last 8 years, representing the interests of the now more than 40 BC Craft Distilleries.

Session: Things I Would Do Differently If I Started Over ….

Kristen Needham is the Founder of Sea Cider, a certified organic orchard and Ciderhouse on Vancouver Island. Since launching Sea Cider in 2003 when she re-planted the family’s orchard with European cider varieties, Kristen’s team has grown to three dozen year round staff, and Sea Cider’s wholesales span Western North America.

Prior to launching Sea Cider, Kristen worked as an International Development Consultant in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia, focusing on food security and environmental management. Kristen is a founding Board Member of the BC Farm Crafted Cider Association and the Cider Institute of North America, as well as a board member of the North West Cider Association. Kristen is a fifth generation farmer and a mother of two.

Session: Things I Would Do Differently If I Started Over ….

Cynthia Enns and her husband David started the winery, Laughing Stock Vineyards in 2003. For the past decade and a half, Cynthia has grown the grapes, and David made the wine.

Session: Things I Would Do Differently If I Started Over ….

Patt Dyck has lived in the Okanagan Valley since 1980. She and her husband Ron moved to Naramata to escape the crazy pace of life in the Lower Mainland. Together, Patt and Ron founded and operated the Country Squire Restaurant in Naramata for 23 years. They welcomed tourists and locals to a fine dining experience in a heritage house, mere steps from Okanagan Lake.

In 2000, they founded Cannery Brewing and began a new journey focused on craft beer well before the term craft beer became a thing. In 2015, when Cannery Brewing outgrew its original space in the historic Cannery Trade Centre, they built a purpose-built brewery on Ellis Street in Downtown Penticton.

Patt is committed to building relationships in the community with customers, suppliers, partners, beer lovers, and the growing Cannery Brewing team. Outside of her day-to-day passion for running Cannery Brewing,

Patt enjoys singing with the Naramata Choir, hiking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, and spending time with her family.  


Session: Government Funding Opportunities

James provides strategic and technical advice to the Ministry of Agriculture staff, trade associations and individual food and beverage companies based on a thorough analysis of the food processing sector and its current and emerging issues. 

With over 25 years of foodservice, food retail and food processing experience, James has specialties in: seafood, locally sourced inputs, production efficiency, staff retention, local food systems, waste management, meat cutting, product/ menu development and cost control methods.

Session: Building Loyalty In Your Retail and Licensee Channels

Paul Rickett is principal of VARketing! A consulting company that turns data into effective business strategies. He is a specialist in the management of reselling channels – “VAR” in tech industry means Value Added Reseller. Paul has 25 years in high tech, managing distribution channels around the world including 8 years consulting to major US and Canadian IT companies on channel strategy. Paul was the host of a series of Channel Management workshops for BC wineries in 2014/2015. For the past two years he has been doing detailed analysis of BC wine industry data and developed a data model for forecasting BC wine production and sales out to 2030 and beyond. Paul is the creator of the LRS Benchmark process for ABLE BC. When he’s not slaving over a spreadsheet of industry data, he runs a median-sized LRS that sells a lot of BC craft beverages.

Session: What A Lender Wants

Amos grew up on a grain and oilseed farm in northern Alberta before competing his agricultural degree at the Univesity of Lethbridge and moving to the Okanagan in 2007. He has been working in the agri finance business since 2009 and has compiled a wealth of local knowledge around the local agri sectors.

Session: What a Lender Wants

Geoff McIntyre, CPA, CA is a Partner based in MNP’s Kelowna office. As Leader of the Food and Beverage Processing Client Service Group for MNP’s Thompson Okanagan Region, Geoff specializes in serving the British Columbia beverage industry; currently working with winery, vineyard and cidery clients of varying sizes to help them achieve their goals. For the past decade, Geoff has been a regular contributor to Canadian Wine Industry publications Canadian Grapes to Wine and Orchard and Vine Magazine.

Geoff is also the Regional Leader for the delivery of MNP’s Farm Income Programs and Succession Planning services. With almost 25 years of public practice experience, Geoff works closely with his clients to develop tax-efficient business structures, tax-minimizing strategies and effective tax-compliance services. He also takes great pride in assisting owner-managers with the implementation of systems and strategies to help them gain control of their businesses and reduce the amount of time consumed by day-to-day operational issues.

Before earning his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation in 1995, Geoff received his Bachelor of Recreation Studies from the University of Manitoba in 1991. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of B.C. (ICABC). An active member of his community, Geoff is the Co-Chair of the Business Administration Team for the First Lutheran Church.

Session: Human Resources Basics, Hiring, Terminating and More …

Bio: Terri was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and has spent her entire career working in Western Canada. After spending several years in Regina, Terri moved to BC and now calls the Okanagan home. Terri supports her clients by providing strategic advice, empowering them to make the best decision for their company.

Terri began her career in the Employee Benefits world working in an HR generalist role, as a plan administrator for a large private company in Saskatchewan. Her experience also includes working at a provincial Workers’ Compensation Board, and in Disability Management with two provincial Health Authorities. Prior to establishing Navy & Sage Benefits, Terri began working on the broker side of benefits as a Group Benefits Consultant for one of Western Canada’s leading benefit brokerage firms. Terri kept her Human Resource skills sharp while also supporting this firm as Director of Operations.

Terri achieved her Chartered Professional Human Resource (CPHR) designation in 2010 and has been actively participating in her provincial Association since 2007; and is currently sitting as the Vice Chair on the South Okanagan Advisory Council.

Session: Human Resources Basics, Hiring, Terminating and More …

Jennifer Sencar has worked as an Industrial Relations Officer for the Employment Standards Branch for over 10 years.  Prior to working for the ESB, Jennifer was a litigator practising in the areas of personal injury, contract and employment law litigation.

Session: Update on Liquor Policy Review and Changes

Mark Hicken is a Vancouver lawyer providing a full range of legal services to the wine industry through his law practice, Vintage Law Group. Mark has a B.A. (Honours) from UBC and a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of  the Law Society of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, the International Association of Wine Lawyers (Association Internationale des Juristes du Vin) and the American Society for Enology & Viticulture. He has also completed the Wine Executive Program at the University of California, Davis. Mark is the Chair of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. 

Mark is frequently quoted on wine law issues in the media and speaks regularly at legal and industry conferences. In late 2017, Mark was appointed as the BC Government’s Liquor Policy Advisor. In that capacity, Mark chaired the Business Technical Advisory Panel (Liquor Policy) which was tasked with making recommendations to improve efficiency and business relations between government and BC’s liquor industry. The Panel presented a report to government in spring 2018 which contains 24 recommendations for policy changes.

Session: Defining and Telling Your Story 

Coletta was dropped into the world of wine marketing when she was hired in 1990 to help drive BC’s fledgling wine industry, a role she held with the BC Wine Institute for nine years.  From there, she moved on to work for various international wineries and trade associations and dozens of wineries in BC.  In 2006 Christine and her husband planted a small vineyard in Summerland and their world shifted. Today, Okanagan Crush Pad owns and farms 375 acres of land and produces 45,000 cases of wine and spirits annually for their own brands Haywire, Narrative and Free Form in addition to a handful of custom crush wine clients.

Session: What A Buyer Wants

Aleem delivers a broad range of services, including assisting clients with divestitures, mergers, acquisitions, raising equity and debt and capital restructuring. Aleem has worked on transactions ranging between $3 million and $30 billion in Canada, the United States and internationally in a diverse range of industries.

Aleem has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Oregon College of Business, a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) from the University of British Columbia. Aleem has also completed the Mergers and Acquisitions program at Harvard Business School.

Session: What A Buyer Wants

Al Hudec is a senior corporate/commercial lawyer practising in Vancouver. He works regularly on legal issues relating to the British Columbia wine and liquor industries, including purchase and sale transactions, distribution and other industry agreements, and regulatory and trade issues.

Session: Winning Employee Retention Strategies for Today

Ginger is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and trainer with more than 15 years of applied human resources and management experience within the tourism/hospitality industry.

Ginger joined go2HR in 2016, bringing with her experience in developing, facilitating and supporting HR programs, as well as facilitating a range of college and university recruitment initiatives. Based in Kelowna, BC, she works with tourism operators and stakeholders in the regionalization of key recruitment, retention and training initiatives as outlined in the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy.

Session: Dealing With The Media: Handling Queries and Reaching Out to Get Your Story Told

Leeann Froese co-owns Town Hall Brands, a marketing agency based in Vancouver BC, which specializes in food, drink, hospitality, and culture. She has worked to market and publicize companies from all over the world for the more than two decades, and in 2017 she was named one of 10 Women in PR That Lead, Inspire and Build Successful Brands, by Women in Public Relations North America. Learn more at

Session: Dealing With The Media: Handling Queries and Reaching Out to Get Your Story Told

Leeann Froese co-owns Town Hall Brands, a marketing agency based in Vancouver BC, which specializes in food, drink, hospitality, and culture. She has worked to market and publicize companies from all over the world for the more than two decades, and in 2017 she was named one of 10 Women in PR That Lead, Inspire and Build Successful Brands, by Women in Public Relations North America. Learn more at

Session: Dealing With The Media: Handling Queries and Reaching Out to Get Your Story Told

Joanne is a Vancouver-based food, drink, travel and lifestyle writer. She is editor of Vitis, The Alchemist and Westcoast Homes & Design magazines, and contributes to publications including Vancouver Sun, The Publican and Destination BC. Joanne is also the author of The Wickaninnish Cookbook, Vancouver Eats and the website

Session: Dealing With The Media: Handling Queries and Reaching Out to Get Your Story Told

Shelby Thom is the south Okanagan correspondent for Global Okanagan based in Penticton, B.C. She earned a Broadcast and Online journalism diploma from BCIT in 2012 and was awarded The Red 93.1 FM Canadian Talent Development Award for excellence in on-air talent, academic achievement and citizenship upon graduating with distinction.

Thom’s broadcast career began shortly after as a reporter and anchor with CHNL Radio in Kamloops, B.C. where she covered court and crime in the southern interior and produced the Jim Harrison public affairs program.

In 2014 she made the leap to a large news market as the night beat reporter for News Talk 980 CKNW Radio in Vancouver, B.C. before joining the highly-rated morning news program in 2016. In 2015 she earned an RTDNA journalism award for best radio feature- large market.

After five years in radio news, Thom is grateful for the opportunity to pursue the exciting world of television news with Global Okanagan.

Session: How To Pass Every Liquor Inspection 

Randy Brown is the Provincial Manager for Manufacturing Liquor with the LCRB and provides leadership to a team of 3 Regional Manufacturing Inspectors who are located on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Interior of British Columbia. Serving over 1100 licensees Randy’s role is to work with BC’s Liquor Manufacturing Sector in promoting and employing strategies that  encourage voluntary compliance of BC Liquor regulations.

Randy and his team provide advice and feedback to the Policy, Communication and Licensing divisions of the Liquor Cannabis Regulation Branch on liquor manufacturing trends and activities.

Session: How To Pass Every Liquor Inspection 

Shea Coulson is a partner at Dentons in Vancouver. He specializes in commercial and regulatory litigation and advises clients with regulatory compliance matters in the liquor and cannabis sectors. Shea is a member of Dentons national Cannabis team, which was recently ranked as one of the top national cannabis law practices by Chambers Canada. 

Session: Health and Safety for Business Owners

Steve is currently working as an occupational health and safety officer for WorkSafeBC in the prevention field services department. He has been at this position for 10 years and his primary focus is inspecting for health and safety compliance in agriculture, horticulture, and food and beverage production workplaces. Previous to this posting he spent 15 years as a technical sales representative and facility manager in the commercial horticulture and agriculture supply sector. Steve also has an extensive background in horticulture management.

Session: Health and Safety for Business Owners

Sandra Oldfield is the founder of Tinhorn Creek and a champion of the BC wine industry.  In her years running the winery she established a rigorous health and safety program recognized in BC as the only winery with a certificate of recognition.  In 2016 her team won Canada’s Safest Employer in the hospitality sector.

Known for innovation, connections and cooperation, Sandra and her husband Kenn established Elysian projects consulting firm.  Elysian gives a hand up to BC wineries and tourism businesses in a wide range of areas including organizational effectiveness, business analysis and planning, recruitment, mentoring and and innovative sales and marketing ideas.  At the heart of every project they accept is the belief that people come first and from there success will follow.