Would you like to subscribe to our newsletters?

Sign up here for our Newsletter!

Kelowna's Karma Soda expanding to vodka and Vancouver's TED Talks

Farming Karma sodas are going to be a featured beverage at the upcoming TED talks in Vancouver.
Farming Karma sodas are going to be a featured beverage at the upcoming TED talks in Vancouver.
Image Credit: Submitted/Farming Karma

In the summer of 2019, Kelowna’s Gill family launched their Karma Apple Soda at farmers markets.

Less than three years later, Avi Gill recently got an email inviting them to provide it as a “featured beverage” at the upcoming TED talks in Vancouver.

“I Googled it just to make sure it was the real thing,” Gill told “I looked it up and I saw the guest list and it was, like, Bill Gates and Elon Musk and I was: ‘Whoa!’ It’s just a great honour. I can’t believe it.”

As an “in-kind sponsor,” he’ll be shipping 3,000 cans of his soda line (that now includes apple, cherry, peach, pear and berry) to the event that runs April 10-14 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

He has no idea how they found out about the Farming Karma brand.

“What I was told by the representative was, they’ve heard nothing but good things about our drink,’ Gill said. “TED is progressive, educational, make the world a better place, innovation, that kind of thing. They felt we aligned with that, the grassroots, all the way from farmer to beverage, the sustainability aspect.”

The juices are made from locally grown fruit – the apples and cherries from their own orchards – with no additives, no sugar and no preservatives.

READ MORE: Kelowna farmers make core changes to produce Karma Apple Soda

Since those early days, Farming Karma products are now in about 3,000 stores in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. They’re carried by major supermarket chains like Save-On-Foods, Choices, Safeway, Thrifty’s and, soon, Loblaws.

They operate out of small but, according to Gill, a highly efficient processing and bottling facility on the Rutland Bench in Kelowna.

There, in their tasting room, they’ve not only had a high rate of customers returning but heard enthusiastic stories from them about how good the juice is with rum or vodka.

They have not started a line of vodka fruit drinks.
They have not started a line of vodka fruit drinks.
Image Credit: Submitted/Farming Karma

As a result, about three months ago, they launched a 5% vodka drink in their five flavours. It’s been registered with B.C.’s Liquor Distribution Branch so the next marketing stage is to get it into liquor stores.

But, first the focus is keeping up with demand for the non-alcoholic product.

While there’s plenty of fruit available for the growing company, expanding the bottling line is becoming essential.

The production of the vodka drinks will ramp up in time for the summer cider season.

While the juice is locally made, the vodka is not.

“We tried an apple vodka from local distillers,” Gill said. “It just didn’t work very well with our product. Neutral grain spirit really brings out our fruit juice flavour and our flavour profile and that’s how we find it’s the best testing.”

The vodka drinks, as well as the non-alcoholic sodas, can be sampled at their tasting room 1160 McKenzie Road.

This is the first TED talk since 2019 because of the pandemic. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.

Along with Gates and Musk, speakers include former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Mari along with other high profile speakers, activists, entertainers, artists and more. There are 68 speakers listed.

Tickets started at $5,000 U.S. but those, along with the $10,000 tickets, are sold out. The only option left are the $25,000 tickets.

For more on TED 2022, go here.

For more on Farming Karma, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.