When Danielle Goss was pregnant with her first child, she became quickly disenchanted with the nonalcoholic options available for her to drink.

“There wasn’t really anything out there that would fit my needs,” says Goss. “So, my husband couldn’t run to the liquor store and grab his six-pack of IPA and grab something for me at the same time. So, I questioned, why isn’t there something for me?”

That question, in the spring of 2019, led her and her husband Nate to create Kul Mocks, a line of ready-to-drink nonalcoholic cocktails. It took an entire year of research and development for them to launch in July 2020.

Kul Mocks comes in three flavors: Blackberry Mock-jito, Mock Mule and Strawberry Mock-arita, and 12-packs start at $33.99. The canned mocktails are distributed now in Wisconsin, where Kul Mocks is based, and Minnesota, but because they are non-alcoholic, they can – and are – being shipped across the country. They also will be distributed in Colorado soon, too.

“Our goal is to become a flagship brand,” Goss says.

Before they came to market, they worked with numerous consultants, including Jason Kane, one of the founders of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, to make sure they understood their consumer base and that they understood the whole drinking experience.

“The traditional mocktail is loaded with sugars, and half of the time, it’s just a bunch of (sugar) syurp added,” Goss says. 

As a registered dietician, Goss didn’t want to drink sugary mocktails that weren’t all that different from soda. Kul Mocks, on the other hand, isn’t overly sweet, and calorie-wise, each 12-ounce, thin can contains 50 or less calories. It’s also not flavored with fake flavorings or sweeteners, and it’s gluten-free, caffeine-free and non-GMO. “We use real cane sugar, monk fruit, stevia and flavored infusions to achieve our flavor profiles,” Goss says. “We created them with health and wellness in mind, but they’re not meant to be a wellness drink.”

Each mocktail comes in a colorful, playful can that hints at places where it can be enjoyed. The mock-arita boasts some sun and a beach scene where as the mule features a copper mug, and the mock-jito features some cool, purple waves or mountains. “It’s not just about the beverages,” Goss says. “It’s about creating the experience of drinking a great tasting cocktail without the alcohol. The colors on the cans pop, and the background imagery help create that experience. Ultimately, the imagery on the cans connect you with the experiences.”

The drinks are made to be enjoyed in the can and at a tailgating party, in the backyard or on the beach or after an outdoor activity. But they can also be dressed up, Goss points out.

“You can pop it in a glass and have that experience and also fancy it up with some interesting garnishes,” she says. “They’re meant to be fun.”

The drinks have appealed to sober curious folks, but they’re also for people who are mindful and are reducing or stopping their consumption of alcohol – like Dry January – but they’re also for people who are concerned about health and wellness. “People choose not to drink for a variety of reasons, and there’s a lot interest in beverages like ours,” she says. “We’re in the heart of Dry January, and it’s been really busy, and it’s been crazy.”

Goss says Kul Mocks has been receiving lots of support from fans, even in the heart of Wisconsin, which is one of the hardest drinking places anywhere. “We did pick two of the toughest states to launch an alcohol-free brand in, but I have to tell you, the market research we did was convincing enough to show that it doesn’t matter where we launched,” she says. “This movement is happening, and it’s an exciting time to hit the market.”

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