Mason Stucklberger with his state-of-the-art coffee roaster. (Tom Roper photo)

Mason Stucklberger with his state-of-the-art coffee roaster. (Tom Roper photo)

Pilot takes up roasting coffee as a fun and profitable sideline

Tom catches up with a former co-worker from the Eight Below movie days

I had a chance to work with Mason Stucklberger back in the days of our first Smithers movie, Eight Below. We were tasked with the assembly of one of those Quonset buildings. Fortunately, we had a company builder with us as I’m sure it was too technical for us.

We had a lot of laughs putting it together. I have run into Mason from time to time and always wondered where his work world would take him. I know he was at Safeway for 10 years and I knew he was taking flying lessons. I thought it might be time to get the low down so I went by his place on Lund Road for a chat.

What is this Canyon Creek Coffee about, I thought you were working towards becoming an airline pilot, I enquired.

“Well I did become a pilot,” said Mason. “I fly for Central Mountain Air. This coffee project was something I kinda fell into. My next-door neighbour had a business roasting coffee beans from all over the world. Kathy and Ed called their company Chicken Creek Coffee after the chickens they had ranging along the creek flowing by their property. I was sort of curious about what they were doing and thought it seemed like an interesting sideline. Then one day they decided to sell and I looked like the right candidate to take over. I wanted my own name so I settled on Canyon Creek Coffee.

So, let’s just back up a bit Mason, I need a little history before we go any further. I know your Mom worked at the Credit Union and I have met your Dad, were you born in Smithers?

No, I was born in Quesnel. We lived in Stewart a while and then moved to Smithers when I was around three. My Dad was in the Forest Service working in the fire suppression division and consequently, I spent a fair amount of time out at the airport and sort of grew up around planes. I still remember that Tanker base smell, I kinda liked it.

“So I guess somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to learn to fly. It’s quite expensive to get your licence and so I just kept working away gaining flying time and eventually I received my certification. I guess I could have moved south and worked for a larger airline but you know I like this valley, Smithers is my home and if I can get a job five minutes from my house, how can it get any better than that?”

Getting back to the coffee sideline Mason, how does it fit in to your lifestyle?

“Well interestingly enough it fits in very well. I contract for Central Mountain and there can be a considerable amount of time between flights. The coffee roasting business provides me with an outlet for my off time.

”Canyon Creek Coffee is an organic, ethically-sourced product. We bring in beans from all over the world through a company called Optco out of Vancouver, Washington. Bandstra delivers our 150-pound sacks directly to Smithers. I have purchased a state-of-the-art roaster and quite enjoy producing a quality commodity that I can distribute locally. You know roasting coffee beans is an art. They cannot get too hot or [be] cooked too long. There is so much to learn and I even have opportunities to visit the countries of origin to see their production firsthand.”

I do not drink coffee myself, Mason, but my wife likes a very dark roast. Where is your coffee available?

“Our products are sold through B.V. Wholesale and Nature’s Pantry locally. The Roadhouse and Two Sisters are serving Canyon Creek Coffee and I distribute through The Palisades coffee shop in Houston.”

Thanks for this, it’s always fun and interesting to know a bit more about our local citizens.