Non-alcoholic Mocktail plans for expansion after initial success

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

The non-alcoholic Mocktail will soon see a greater level of distribution, the company's founder said.
The non-alcoholic Mocktail will soon see a greater level of distribution, the company's founder said.

Related tags Alcoholic beverage High-fructose corn syrup

Mocktail Beverages will soon see its brand expand, having inked a deal with United Natural Foods, Inc., according to the company’s founder.

The company is currently in 140 stores, including Whole Foods in the mid-Atlantic US, but will now look to grow the brand’s footprint with UNFI.

Bill Gamelli, co-founder of Mocktail Brands, told BeveargeDaily that all four flavors, including margarita, sangria, whiskey sour and cosmopolitan, have been selling well.

“We started out small like all new ideas, like all new products, but we’re entering what we hope is growth mode this year in ‘16 and ‘17,” ​he said.

What is it?

Gamelli, a former Wall Street financial professional, said these non-alcoholic Mocktail drinks are GMO-free, vegan, kosher, and have no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. The packaging for Mocktails is unique, as it serves as a working glass martini shaker, a patented design by the company.

“We thought why don’t we take non-alcoholic beverages and elevate [them] to be on par with bar selections,”​ he said. “Instead of getting a soda or a plain old water glass, [they can get] beverages worthy of a wine glass or rock glass.”

Each product ranges from 45 to 60 calories per serving and has anywhere from 11g to 18g of sugar per serving.

Why a non-alcoholic cocktail?

Gamelli was inspired to create mocktails by his wife, who rarely drinks alcohol. At parties, she would always wish there was something better than soda or water. Meanwhile, Gamelli said she would get questions, such as “Is everything OK?,” “Are you pregnant?” ​and even “Why don’t you want to have fun?”

“These kinds of questions were happening to her over a long time,”​ he said. “Over the years I saw her grapple with this being-social-but-not-being-able-to-drink dynamic. After 18 years, the bell finally rang in my mind. I was basically amazed I didn’t think of it before. I said ‘Jeez honey, if you’ve had this much of a challenge I bet you’re not the only one.’”

Gamelli went into the research phase of the product, in which he assumed that there would be 10% to 12% of people who did not drink at any given time. What he found was research that anywhere from 33% to 45% chose not to drink alcohol at any given time for multiple reasons, including health, religion, pregnancy, choice and more.

“It opened up a big opportunity,” ​he said. “There’s an underserved hidden market here for people to have something more adult, more geared toward a social setting and less kid-table type beverages.”

With or without booze

From the beginning, Gamelli said they were committed to creating a drink that would be good with or without alcohol added. By solving the problem his wife and others have, he didn’t want to keep a division between non-drinkers and drinkers at a party.

“One of our goals was to make everyone part of the experience,”​ he said. “These were designed to be non-alcoholic for someone who doesn’t want to drink and designed to add alcohol and make a great cocktail as well. We worked really hard to strike a balance.”

Some people have asked Gamelli if he feels like it is spoiling the Mocktail by adding alcohol to it, but he said didn’t feel this would be a negative for the drink and worked to craft it to taste good either way.

“Let people enjoy the parties however they want to enjoy it,”​ he said. “If you’re a designated driver today but you’re not driving tomorrow, you can enjoy it both ways.”

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