Introducing Kevin Emms – our Director of Operations and man of many talents

“Continuous improvement” is what Mod Beverage’s Director of Operations Kevin Emms is striving for when it comes to looking ahead in 2022 for the company. Kevin came on board recently to look after all aspects of operations and production at Mod Beverage, which includes making sure all of the departments of brewing, cellaring, packaging, quality maintenance and innovation are all working and moving together as a cohesive and successful unit. Together, he says, will maximize opportunities for the company.  

Kevin is no stranger when it comes to growing successful brewing companies and has been doing so for the last decade. Kevin found his love of beer through the influence of his dad, who loved to crack open a beer at the end of the day and proclaim just how good it was. 

Inspired and ready to learn more, Kevin did his Master’s in Brewing and Distilling in Scotland where he was able to hone his love of the world’s most enjoyed beverage. When Kevin returned to Canada, he was hired into a startup but within a few months became Head Brewer at a large brewery.  

A few years later Kevin was headhunted to over to Granville Island Brewing as a brew master, which was an exciting change to be a part of Canada’s oldest micro-brewery (and a part of Molson Coors). This 6-year journey meant a big education, insight and training in corporate brewing. It was here Kevin also met Mod Beverage’s Founder and President, Paul Mroczek, which would prove to be serendipitous as it would eventually lead Kevin to Mod Beverage that would lead to something different, with a new set of challenges.  

Kevin loves the industry for there are plenty of new and unique problems to solve and a chance to work with diverse and talented people. Outside of Mod Beverage, Kevin is a drummer in a local Vancouver metal band and when asked what his favourite Spectrum beer is, it was “Fuzzy Peach Sour!” without a beat. Things always end up just the way they should, and we’re glad to have Kevin with us here at Mod Beverage. 

MOD Beverage earns Living Wage designation

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re the first brewery in Metro Vancouver to earn the Living Wage designation.

We’ve always committed to paying our staff and contracted workers a wage that’s appropriate and necessary for the region, and we’re excited to be officially recognized for it. In order to meet the Living Wage requirements, we gave raises to a quarter of our brewery staff – 13 people in total.

The living wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses. The calculation is based on a two-parent family with two children – the most common family unit in BC – with each parent working full-time. The Living Wage for the Metro-Vancouver is $19.50 an hour.

“For us, it’s simple – paying a living wage is the right thing to do, if it means our team is more content and secure financially. This way, everybody wins,” says Paul Mroczek, MOD Beverage founder and president.

Certifying as a Living Wage Employer is a voluntary commitment that employers make to invest in their communities and local economies. There are 250 Living Wage Employers in BC, with over 30,000 employees who don’t need to worry about how they will afford rent, food and other essentials for their family because they are guaranteed to earn a Living Wage.

“We hope other breweries in the area follow this example and pay their employees the living wage,” Mroczek says. “It not only makes sense for the community, but from a business perspective you gain a more dedicated and loyal workforce.”

We’re currently hiring for various positions, so if you or anyone you know is interested in working for us – and getting paid a Living Wage, of course! – visit modbeverage.easyapply.co.

Spectrum hits the streets!

Spectrum Beer may not have a tasting room (yet!), but there’s still a way to try out our beer – for free!

Just in time for the end of summer, we’ll be hitting the streets of Downtown Vancouver, handing out free samples plucked from our top-selling Margarita Machine and Sour Pack Mix Packs. With restrictions lifting, we want to make the best of the rest of the summer and offer everyone a little taste of the excitement we’ve been brewing.

“This is all about being a part of the community, letting people know that we’re a local brand and that we have a lot to offer,” says Paul Mroczek. “We’re really pushing the boundaries of flavour with our beer, and we think we offer something for everyone, even if you usually don’t enjoy beer.”

Each of the eight beers available in the two mix packs will be available to try. These include:

  • Margarita Gose, the lime flavoured Gose that inspired the Margarita Machine mixer
  • Blue Raspberry Margarita Gose, which has been the breakout hit of the mixer
  • Strawberry Margarita Gose, which offers all the delights of the classic margarita flavour
  • Watermelon Margarita Gose, which offers a new twist to the format
  • Hot Pink Lemonade Sour, our top-selling six pack
  • Mango Punch Sour, the latest addition to the new Sour Pack, launched this year
  • Fuzzy Peach Spur, another breakout hit from these mix packs
  • Cherry Blast Sour, which tastes just like the classic sour candy.

This week, you can catch us roving Denman Street, beginning Friday, Aug. 13, from 3-7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 14, from 1-5 p.m. Next week, we’ll be on Robson Street, between Denman and Burrard, beginning Friday, Aug. 20, from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 21, from 1-5 p.m.  Hopefully you were able to catch us in Olympic Village last weekend as well.

We will be handing our full can samples and ask that you please make sure to enjoy these samples at home – or at a designated public park that allows alcohol in parks.

You may be seeing even more of us in the Fall, handing out what will be our latest (and arguably greatest) flavours. We might even have something to giveaway besides the beer. Who knows!

If you can’t wait to try a free sample or loved what you tried, check out our beer locator to find a retailer carrying our products near you! Make sure to follow us at @spectrumbeer while you’re at it.

Spectrum Beer partners up for East Van Pride celebration

This week, Spectrum Beer is pleased to announce our partnership with Man Up and Eastside Studios to present #upandupPRIDE, a four-day Pride celebration being held at the MOD Beverage / Spectrum Beer brewery in East Vancouver.

This year, #upandupPRIDE is replacing Eastside Pride, a weeklong series of events that was postponed due to the COVID-19 and plans to return in 2022. This year’s events are a scaled back version of Eastside Pride, featuring four of its most popular events: Man Up on Friday; two versions of Le Hangover on Saturday;  Level Up on Sunday; and Late Afternoon Snack on Monday

Not only will this weekend be a celebration of diversity and inclusion, it will also be the post-COVID blowout the East Vancouver Queer community has been waiting for (with safety protocols in place, of course!).

“We’re really hoping these events will get people back on their feet and be a morale booster,” says event organizer Ryn Broz.

“We’ve really been missing having events. Events spaces are so important to the Queer community and in East Vancouver in particular, where there aren’t many physical gay bars. Without our events, we’ve had virtually no gathering space over the past year and a half.”

MOD Beverage, which owns Spectrum beer, is donating the use of its facility for the outdoor festival. Spectrum Beer long supported East Side Pride, partnering for the events since the brand’s founding 2018. Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ community was one of the first local communities to embrace Spectrum, thanks to one of our original brewers, who was also a drag performer and enmeshed in the local drag community. One of Spectrum’s first beers, Miss Tanjie Tangerine Wheat Ale, was named after Miss Vanjie of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, which helped the brand find a niche among the Queer community almost immediately.

“Inclusivity has been one of the pillars of the Spectrum brand since day one,” says MOD Beverage president and founder Paul Mroczek.

 “It’s really about being an ally to the LGBTQ2+ community and doing more than simply changing your Instagram avatar to a rainbow flag once a year. It’s about being a partner and advocating and giving opportunities to people in this community whenever and however we can.”

Attendees to the events can expect DJ sets, live music, 15 different drag performers, food trucks, games, and a Spectrum Beer giveaway contest.

On Friday night is Man Up, Vancouver’s longest running drag show, which will also feature live music from local bands. On. Saturday will be two separate sessions of Le Hangover, which started eight years ago as a small Pride parking lot party and swelled over the years to be one of East Side Pride’s most popular events. On Sunday, is Level Up, is a BIPOC-focused music event run by run by DJ and producer Softieshan. Monday evening is Late Afternoon Snack, a late-in-the-day brunch patio hosted by Pride Monday and Continental Breakfast.

Online tickets are sold out for all events, but a limited number of door tickets will be available on the day of each event. The event will be held entirely outdoors, with organizers adhering to, and in some instances exceeding, current COVID-19 protocols. Masks will be required on the dance floor in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. 

If you’re going, we can’t wait to see you there!

Catching Up With Odin Brewing

Odin’s Quest Hazy Pale Ale will be released this July.

Next month, Odin Brewing will launch its latest round of brews, beginning with the much anticipated Odin’s Quest Hazy Pale, and Loki’s Lemon Sour. Then, in August, Odin will drop the Dragon Slayer Mix Pack, featuring the whole range of Dragon beers to date plus a new one: Galactic Space Dragon IPA, Sonic Sea Dragon IPA, Super Galactic Space Dragon Double IPA and the all new Super Sonic Sea Dragon Double IPA.

As Odin’s Canadian licensed sales and manufacturing partner, MOD’s innovation team developed each of these new products.  To mark the occasion of these releases, we caught up with Wes Peterson, co-founder of Odin, and see how things have been going for them throughout the pandemic and to hear what plans are in store in the near future.

[MOD] What was the thinking behind the new releases?

[Wes Peterson],We wanted to develop some new concepts that would fit the Canadian market while also playing to Odin’s strengths. The Dragon Slayer, in particular, seemed like a perfect fit, with the rise mix packs, and themed mix packs more specifically.

With Odin’s Quest, we saw that the market has shifted away from malty ales toward hazy and juicy ales, so we thought we should replace Odin’s Gift, which had been a core beer of ours for a long time. But that’s the nature of this business – products come and go.

Loki’s Lemon Sour is actually a rebranded version of Lemondrop, which we’ve released as a limited release the past few years. We wanted to keep that beer consistent with the rest of our offerings.

[MOD] How are things going with Odin in the US right now?

[Wes Peterson] Things are going well on both sides of the border. We’re actually in the process of relocating our main operation out of Tukwila down to Tacoma. We added a second brewpub in Tacoma, which has helped us sustain this transition of transplanting our operations. We’re still in the middle of a lot of that work right now, but it’s exciting.  We hired a chef there, Kristen Lyon, who was just competing on FireMasters on the Food Network. We’re looking forward to sort of coming out of this pandemic and hopefully upright like everyone else.

Looking back a bit, how was it launching into Canada? How’s it been operating a transnational craft beer brand?

For the most part, it went relatively smoothly. It was about flexibility on both parts. We came in with a bunch of recipes that we thought would work, but we had to be flexible on those recipes. And we were.

A good example of that was Galactic Space Dragon, which used to be a filtered, traditional IPA, but adjusted to more of a NE Hazy IPA. And we also worked to adjust the branding to localize it to this market.

We came in and were willing to adjust to a new market, so it wasn’t a particularly painful process. It is a matter of understanding that, as much as we like to think that craft beer drinkers are ubiquitous, they aren’t. Canadian craft beer drinkers do vary somewhat from American ones, in their approach and the style of beer they like, and sort of in what gets them motivated to buy craft.



Yeah, Galactic Space Dragon was a big hit here for Odin. Did you change it in the US?

GSD in the US remains filtered and fined. It is a traditional West Coast IPA. So that hasn’t changed, it only changed in the Canadian market. But we adjusted our branding to reflect a more consistent brand on both sides of the border. So we actually took on the brand marks that we have in the Canadian market for the US.

Speaking of COVID earlier, have you visited the US operation since COVID began?


I haven’t been down to our facility in Washington in… it’ll be two years as I think August.

Whoa!

My last trip down was August of 2019. I was planning on going down in December and got pulled away to some other stuff. Then the pandemic was declared early in 2020, and I couldn’t get anywhere, the borders closed down.

Dan [Lee, Wes’s business partner and the other co-founder of Odin] has been looking after a lot – obviously the operation, the transition of facilities, the opening up of the new brewpub and everything else that goes along with that. All in a pandemic environment. It’s been a hell of a challenge, to say the least, but I think it’s gone over pretty well. I’m optimistic we’ll be coming out of the pandemic in better shape than we went into it.

What are your plans are for the brand in Canada over the next couple of years?

I would like to see it continue to grow and thrive. We’re looking at getting a brew pub or restaurant in key markets. We’ve been looking at it for a while now, but the challenge has been, one, the proliferation of craft breweries in these markets. I’m based in Kelowna and I think there are 15 breweries here now. If you look at Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, even Winnipeg, you’re not only dealing with a proliferation of craft beer and craft breweries in the market, you’re also dealing with what I can only call egregious rent rates. I don’t know what you’re seeing in Vancouver right now, but last I checked some of the Kelowna rental rates probably rival what’s in Vancouver right now, per square foot.

So it’s a challenging market and you can’t just come in with models the same. The model’s got to reflect the market, but the model also has to reflect something more. We want to localize it, but it creates challenges when you’re up against the gun on just getting the facility up and running. We’ve explored a couple of partnerships now and, at least as far as I’m concerned, they haven’t been the right ones. We’re still open to that approach.

So you’re staying the course and waiting for the right opportunity?

Yeah. I value the relationship we’ve had with MOD – it’s been a good, productive relationship. We want to continue to support what they’re doing and hopefully they want to continue to support what we’re doing. We’ll continue to bide our time and look for that right opportunity. It’s really about not being just another craft brewery in the marketplace.

Keep an eye out for Odin’s Quest, Loki’s Lemon Sour and the Dragon Slayer Mix Pack, due later this summer. For more info on Odin Brewing, following them on Instagram at @odinbrewing and visit their website: odinbrewing.com


Spectrum Beer Co. Launches New Margarita-Themed Mixpack

When a character in pop culture resonates with the public in a big way, they’re often pulled out for a spinoff. It’s happened with Han and Chewie, with Wanda and Vision, with Saul Goodman and, yes, Joey Tribianni.

Now it’s happening with Margarita Gose. That’s right! Spectrum Beer’s Margarita Gose has been pulled from the top-selling Sour Pack to star in its very own mix pack

Today, we introduce the Margarita Machine Gose Mix Pack, including three brand-new and exclusive margarita-inspired beers: Watermelon Margarita Gose, Strawberry Margarita Gose and Blue Raspberry Margarita Gose. (Before we go any further, yes, blue raspberry is a flavour and that flavour is best described as “blue”…).

Rather than utilize the standard 12-pack carton everyone else uses, we’ve done something a little different, offering a more elongated carton that, when placed upright, mimics the look of those actual margarita slushy machines you see in restaurants and resorts all over the world.

Indeed, the experience we’re hoping to achieve with this new mixer is to offer a mini vacation away from home while stuck at home, back to that wonderful beach resort from however long ago. Remember that? So fun.

Each of these new recipes are based on the original Margarita Gose, which we launched in 2018 and has been a top-seller for Spectrum ever since, in both its six-pack format and as part of the Sour Pack mixer.

Speaking of the Sour Pack, if you’re asking, “If Margarita Gose is leaving the Sour Pack, what does this mean for the Sour Pack?”, then you are indeed a keen observer and probably a superfan. Good for you. We’ll have an announcement about that coming soon.

The Margarita Machine Mix Pack will be widely available throughout Western Canada beginning this week. To find out more, visit our website spectrumbeer.com and follow us on Instagram at @spectrumbeer.

Parade Hard Seltzer Launches Double Pop Mix Pack

Remember those ice pops from when you were a kid? The ones you’d need to break in two and they’d melt all over your hands? Then you’d lie in the sun and let the flavour take you over completely? Yeah. Good times.

With that memory in mind, Parade Hard Seltzer launches its very first mix pack, the Double Pop Pack, aimed to take you back to that place so many of us can recall. By combining the brand’s two core flavours– Fruit Punch and Pink Lemonade – with four new ones, Parade is offering balanced, flavourful hard seltzers alongside a dollop of nostalgia to get you through this summer.

New for this mix pack are Lime, Grape, Orange and (not at all controversially) Banana flavours, all of which are designed to emulate the classic ice pops without all the added sugar. Each flavour in the Double Pop Pack is sugar-free and 100 calories.

“We’ve seen enormous growth with hard seltzers and RTDs generally over the past year, but in our opinion, they were all missing that wow factor we like to see in new product launches,” says Paul Mroczek, President of MOD Beverage and Founder of Parade Hard Seltzer.

“The market seems ready for more advanced flavours in their hard seltzers – something that’s both familiar, but totally unexpected from a brand like this. I think the Double Pop Pack offers the kind of experience people are looking for this summer.”

Parade utilizes MOD’s Cold Fermented Sugar process, which a variation on the malt-flavoured beverages available in the US. We use a special Seltzer yeast and proprietary fermentation strategy to get a clean fermentation that all but removes the phenolics and esters and allows for a fresh flavour and smooth drinkability.  

Parade launched in Summer 2020 and is MOD Beverage’s first foray into low-calorie RTDs. The mix packs will be widely available throughout. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

For more information, visit paradehardseltzer.com and on Instagram at @paradehardseltzer.

How we’re fighting climate change

What can the beverage alcohol industry do to curb climate change?

We ask ourselves this every day. How can we not? The good news is there’s a lot we can do. We can reduce our waste, for one, and we can begin giving renewables a go. We can raise awareness with our employees, clients and various stakeholders. All are important.

Where it begins, though, is with curbing our carbon emissions and becoming fully sustainable as soon as possible.

Earlier this year MOD Beverage partnered with Vancouver-based Offsetters to develop a plan to get us to zero emissions sometime in the next decade. Our operations and carbon emissions are still being analyzed, so we don’t yet have a realistic target set out. But we are committed to getting there and hope to be a leader in the Canadian beverage alcohol and a beacon for like-minded companies to do the same. By educating ourselves, our employees and our clients, we hope we can raise consciousness on this issue.

We’re excited to go through this process and know it’s the right thing for our business, for our community and for our planet. We were hoping to have the plan unveiled by today, but it’s always better to get it done right than done quickly.

Stay tuned for more info in the coming months as we unveil our plan.

Getaway Hard Cider Releases New Mix Pack

MOD Beverage’s cider brand, Getaway Hard Cider, is readying the release of its first mix pack. Alongside its core Zero Sugar Apple, the mixer will include Zero Sugar Pear and Zero Sugar Pineapple.

We’ve based each of these new recipes off the Apple recipe, adding fresh pear and pineapple juice, respectively. In the case of Pear, the cider is deliciously mellow and lightly sweet, making for a highly drinkable addition to the Getaway family. With Pineapple, we’ve gone for a more tropical take on the classic cider flavour – one that’s smooth, clean and refreshing as it sounds.

Getaway Hard Cider was released in 2020 and was designed to reinvigorate the cider market with a product line that is approachable and flavourful, without utilizing added sugar for the sweetness. Every batch is naturally fermented down to eliminate all residual sugar, so it’s dry and refreshing with just the faintest hint of sweetness. And of course, zero-sugar.

In addition to the release of the mix pack, Zero Sugar Apple has been listed by the BC Liquor Stores and is available at locations all across British Columbia. The mix packs will be launching across Western Canada at private retailers and listed at MBLL/Liquor Mart, Calgary Coop and the SLGA.

For more information, or to find a store near you that carries Getaway, visit getawaycider.com and follow us at @getawaycider.

Spectrum Beer Co. launches ‘Choose Our Next Beer Flavour’ Contest

Is there a wild or whacky beer flavour you’ve been dying to try? Or have you been hoping Spectrum Beer Co. would finally settle down and make a normal beer for once?

Well, now you can have your say! Spectrum has launched the “Choose the Next Spectrum Beer Flavour!” contest, where people can submit their ideas – however creative or traditional they might be – for a chance to win up to $3,500 in travel vouchers for a trip anywhere in Canada.

The contest is simple: submit beer flavour ideas through Instagram between now and April 20. On April 26, three finalists will be unveiled, where Instagram users can vote on which one they’d like us to make. The winner will be announced May 10, and the final beer will be released in October.

Go here for full contest details and to enter (and make sure to follow @spectrumbeer, while you’re at it).