Overhead view of 3 wine glasses on a table

BC BTAC

British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre (BC BTAC) supports the Canadian beverage industry’s innovation and growth by providing a comprehensive range of expert analytical, commercial and sensory services and resources.

We work with individuals, companies and organizations within a collaborative framework to exchange knowledge, ideas and resources leading to real-world solutions for the development of domestic beverages, including fermented, brewed, distilled and non-alcoholic products. Our vision is to work with industry toward sustained economic and intellectual growth.

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Laboratory analysis

BC BTAC is your one-stop-shop for any and all analytical services. We have traditional wet-lab capabilities as well as state-of-the-art technologies for testing smoke taint, TCA (corkiness), pesticides, herbicides and many other elements that may appear in beverages. We work with PhD Scientists to develop Standard Operating Procedures which make excellent use of our GC-MS (Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry) and GC-FID (Flame Ionization Detection). Our laboratory is VQA-certified by the BC Wine Authority (BCWA) and Certificates of Analysis (COAs) accompany all testing.

Janice pouring samples into test tubes

Sensory services

BC BTAC works with experienced sensory professionals to assess a wide range of beverages for our clients. From descriptive tasting notes to fault identification to shelf-life testing analysis, we will customize a plan to your unique business needs.

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Wendy smelling wine in a glass

Business services

BC BTAC will work with you to address a wide range of business planning needs. From industry intelligence to market research to grant accessibility, we can help your business thrive.

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Text reading Marketing Plan printed on a piece of paper

Education

Our centre embraces the mission of Okanagan College to transform lives and communities, recognizing the unique place the beverage industry holds in our province as an economic driver with the potential to create opportunities, embrace entrepreneurship, advance applied research, and encourage innovation.  We infuse all of our initiatives with the following core values:

  • Applied Research
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Respect
  • Sustainability
  • Accountability
Mireille at the front of a classroom holding a glass of wine while wearing a face mask

Research and development

BC BTAC can pool resources and access a wide range of industry expertise to assist in product development to clients’ unique specifications. Have an idea for a new beverage? We can help to fine-tune the recipe and bring your idea to fruition.

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Leonard at laboratory computer analyzing data

Networking

BC BTAC has created an elaborate plan to develop a tangible network between a wide range of businesses within the beverage industry using social media technology. A valuable support to beverage producers, suppliers and industry stakeholders, BC BTAC provides promotional opportunities for existing and potential clients while leveraging combined strengths, experiences and dedication to the mutual benefit of all involved.

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Mireille pointing at her cellphone

Meet the team

Wesley Peterson, General Manager, BC BTAC

For the past 20 years, Wesley Peterson has been engaged in various capacities across the global travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. His prior experience includes financial positions with both Canadian Airlines and Air Canada as well as executive roles with Expedia Inc.. As Vice President Commercial at Expedia, he managed airline negotiations and other travel portfolios throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Expedia’s UK offices in London. In addition to his role with the BC BTAC, Peterson also looks after the Canadian marketing and distribution portfolio of Odin Brewing Company, which he co-owns. The brewery operates multiple locations out of Washington State and brews under license in Vancouver, BC with distribution throughout Western Canada. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Science (Genetics) from the University of British Columbia and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Calgary. Wes leads the Centre to support research, development and innovation for the beverage sector across Canada as part of its joint mandate between Okanagan College and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in Ottawa.

Wes Peterson headshot

Catherine Kubis, Executive Assistant, BC BTAC

Catherine Kubis joined the BC Beverage Technology Access Centre in 2019 as the Executive Assistant. In 2018, Catherine graduated from the Executive Office Administration program at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John’s, Newfoundland, earning herself the President’s award for her program. While studying, she was an active member on the College’s student council as the Special Events Coordinator in her first year and as President in her second year. She conducted her work term in Kamloops, BC and eventually made her way to the Okanagan to specifically work for Okanagan College, where she continues to enhance her knowledge and skills in the administration and fermented beverage industry. Catherine is a proud and contributing member of the JOHS committee for Okanagan College’s Penticton campus and is excited to continue advocating and learning more about the fermented beverage industry in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. 

Catherine Kubis headshot

Mireille Sauvé, ISG, Business Development Advisor, BC BTAC

Ms. Sauvé is an acclaimed Wine Professional and the founder of Western Canada’s most established wine industry consulting firm, The Wine Umbrella. A 30-year veteran of the wine and restaurant industries, Mireille graduated with honours from George Brown College’s Sommelier Program, earning her the title of ‘Canada’s Youngest Sommelier’ in 1997 before completing a Winemaking Apprenticeship at Hedges Cellars in Washington State, USA). She earned multiple gold medals for her restaurant wine programs and established Western Canada’s first Wine Australia office as well as having completed the BC Instructor Diploma Program in 2007. Mireille has directed countless projects for many international and domestic wine clients in addition to wine writing for various publications and featuring regularly as Wine Expert on radio and TV. She holds many professional certifications as a wine educator and her five-year-old winemaking project is a fundraising initiative for women’s education: Dames Wine and The Wine Umbrella wines. These days, Mireille can be found instructing courses about wine and related studies at Okanagan College, Penticton Campus, where she has also recently taken over the post of Business Development Advisor at the newly-founded BC Beverage Technology Access Centre, supporting Canadian beverage producers in every way. 

Mireille Sauve head shot

Dr. Leonard Lermer, Chair of Chemistry Department, Okanagan College

Leonard Lermer was involved with the initial application for the BC BTAC and continues to stay on as a researcher. He has been both teaching organic chemistry and involved in many interdisciplinary research projects for more than 20 years. Currently he is also into his second term as the Chair of the Chemistry Department at Okanagan College. After receiving his BSc from the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Lermer obtained his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry with Dr. Larry Weiler at UBC. He then did postdoctoral work in natural products with botanist, Dr. Neil Towers. Following this, he began teaching organic chemistry at UBC where he began doing research with a biochemistry group, carrying out the solid phase synthesis of modified DNA-based enzymes having sequence specific RNA cleaving activity. His skills in synthetic organic chemistry and instrumentation have contributed to many successful collaborations, colleagues ranging from botanists to neuroscientists. Leonard’s contributions carry on as he focuses his interests toward supporting the local fermented beverage sector with BC BTAC. 

Leonard Lermer headshot

Janice Acio, Laboratory Technician, BC BTAC

Janice Acio is a Laboratory Technician who uses her knowledge of chemistry and instrumentation to perform analysis on fermented beverages at BC BTAC. Following her BSc in Chemical Engineering from University of Negros Occidental Recoletos, Philippines, Acio worked with well-established beverage companies such as Arterra Wines Canada and Coca Cola Bottlers Inc, to name a few. Her background in chemistry and 20 years of laboratory experience also allowed her to become certified as an Applied Science Technologist-Chemical in BC, where she also studied Environmental Engineering Technology at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). WSET Level-2-certified, Janice realized that winemaking is an exciting example of an applied science, leading her to enroll in the Winemaking Certificate Program at the University of California-Davis Institute. When not working with chemicals, you can find Janice enjoying her favourite Okanagan pastimes such as gardening, paddle-boarding or hitting the KVR trail with her dogs.

Janice Acio headshot

Dr. Sonja Lloyd, Laboratory Technician, BC BTAC

Sonja Lloyd recently joined the BC Beverage Technology Access Centre as Laboratory Technician where she handles all things microbiology. Sonja has worked with microbes in one form or another for the past twenty years. After receiving a BSc in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia in 2002, she studied in the United States for several years where she earned a PhD in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Sonja’s studies focused on bacterial diseases of animals, as well as foodborne and zoonotic diseases. Sonja returned to Canada in 2011, settling in the Okanagan where she worked as a technician in wine chemistry at Bench 1775 Winery and Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Sonja is excited to combine her passion for microbiology and fermented beverages and foods in her current position with the BC BTAC.

Sonja Lloyd headshot