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From slinging cocktails to mixing lemonade: Pop shop opens in Kelowna

In time for sober October two former bartenders open a ‘pop shop’
Gerry Jobe part-owner of Simps Modern Beverage in Kelowna. (Jen Zielinski/ Black Press Media)

Known for their award-winning bartending, Kelowna’s Dave Simpson and Gerry Jobe have been moving into a more sobering profession.

Since 2015, the two Kelowna residents have been creating syrups, caesar and cocktail mixes from the heart of the brewery district. Until August, the Richter Street location was used as a sort of distribution and packaging warehouse for the grocery and restaurant industry, but just in time for sober October, Simpson and Jobe have turned the space into a nostalgic pop shop.

“Tip-to-tail, we do everything in the beverage line, we make syrups and mixes and we also install pop guns and refrigerator lines. We can go in and install in places like BNA and other restaurants so they can serve cocktails on tap as well as our beverages which are all non-alcoholic,” said Jobe.

While the plan was to open Simps Modern Beverage as a bar, Jobe and Simpson decided that the evolving brewery district was ready for something else.

“This is the place where dad can come on the weekend and say, ‘we are having Moscow Mules tonight,’ he can get the copper mugs here, the bartending supplies, the ginger beer and even tiki mugs. Also if there is anything in beverage that you want to be built, for a man cave or she shed, we are the guys. We have the equipment and everything to supply you for mix.”

Working their way from the typical alcohol mixes, the partners have created their own lemonades, Shirley Temples, a version of Tahiti Treat, root beers, nitro coffee and even a special raspberry beverage with a twist which was invented by Jobe’s son and his best friend.

“He and his friend Jayden came here as a take-your-kid-to-work-day and this raspberry lemonade has taken off, especially in Salmon Arm, they sold so much they had to buy a kegerator off of us because they are selling more than 20 litres a day,” explained Jobe.

Simps Modern Beverages also sells Mother Love Kombucha, Shaquille O’Neal’s water, import energy, bubble tea, non-alcoholic rose and Prosecco just to name a few of the products Jobe and Simpson have managed to bring in.

“We have 26 drinks on tap, that are custom-designed recipes. We can have everything to go, we can also pour it over ice and you carry it around with you and just drink it, or you can put your own six-pack together from the fridge. We also do crowlers and kegs,” said Jobe.

The duo is also working with other Kelowna locals in the industry, such as Ryan Combs, the general manager of Bin 4 who has started up a hot sauce company, as well as Jeff Young, the head chef at Summerhill Winery who makes his own caesar rim.

Simps Modern Beverage isn’t just sticking around Kelowna either - Jobe and Simpson have managed to get their mixes into bars in Houston, Texas and Los Angeles.

However, locally you can find the two and all their mix, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1021 Richter Street.

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Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

I graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. I also hold a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. I was also a reporter for Castanet and CBC. I am a volunteer with Okanagan Humane Society.
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