Once upon a time, on an average Thursday night, Josh Woodlock, Trisha Woodlock, and John Eresman were hanging out and the group became acutely aware that Friday morning was fast approaching. After having a few drinks that evening they thought “wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way we could keep hanging out, without continuing to consume full-strength drinks.”
This lightbulb moment inspired them and eventually, the concept of ‘Gradient Vodka Sodas’ was born. Now a full-fledged vodka soda company here in Calgary, they offer vodka soda 6-packs of decreasing strengths in three signature flavours.
We sat down with the founders and learned how these three entrepreneurs have gained support as they introduced this unique concept into the community and what their future plans for growth entail.
What is it that makes Gradient Vodka Sodas so unique?
“Gradually reducing Vodka Soda” with six different strengths of alcohol in each six-pack – 8%, 7%, 6%, 4%, 3%, 2%. We only use natural flavours and no sugar or artificial sweeteners, and the six-packs come in three flavours. Raspberry Lemon, Cucumber Mint, and Lime.”
Why did you choose Calgary to start your business?
“Calgary is home for all of us! For the most part, we have all lived here for our entire lives.”
How has Gradient fared during the pandemic?
“Besides coming up with the idea, everything we have done has happened during covid – the biggest effect this has had on us is slowing everything down. We had hoped to move quickly and get Gradient out before the summer, but restrictions meant building everything out safely and we had to take our time.”
What makes the Calgary community special and how have they supported you?
“Calgarians are extremely supportive of local businesses and they have been so supportive about spreading the word of Gradient.”
How do you see your business contributing to the Calgary community within the next 5-10 years?
“Calgary is full of extremely innovative people – we hope we can inspire other Calgarians to take other industries and turn them on their heads – show the world that really unique and inspiring innovation is coming from Calgary.”
How do you define “community”?
“Feeling connected to those you have never met through shared experiences – knowing that we have all gone through the same things, the highs, and lows, and feeling connected by the fact that we will continue to share these experiences with those we may never meet.”
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