Adding a Splash of Flavor to the Mocktails Category

Mocktail Club Manhattan Berry mocktail.
Mocktail Club Manhattan Berry mocktail.

While on the hunt for healthier beverages, Pauline Idogho found limited options. And even though the burgeoning no- and low-alcohol industry is becoming increasingly popular, it still has a ways to go before mocktails are adopted in most on- and off-premise locations. 

This desire for no-alcohol beverages, mixed with her passion for travel, resulted in Idogho developing her own line of no-alcohol cocktails in 2019. Mocktail Club offers a variety of ready-to-drink canned cocktails that all have a twist on the classic cocktail flavors. Different infusions include Manhattan Berry, Havana Twist, Capri Spritz and Bombay Fire. 

“We recreate the complexity, nuance and boldness of a great cocktail by using savory, tart, sweet and bitter notes,” Idogho says. “Since I had worked around the world doing international development and finance, I used those experiences to inspire the flavors.” 

Once Idogho left the corporate world to create Mocktail Club, there was no going back. She saw the desire was out there for healthier beverage options and wanted to be a part of the solution. 

Giving Mocktails a Makeover

Prior to Mocktail Club, Idogho’s experiences with mocktails were lackluster — they were either too sweet or had no complexity. 

“I wanted to create the sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails that I wished I had,” Idogho notes. “I wanted non-alcoholic cocktails that were multisensory and had layers and depth.”

Pauline Idogho, Founder of Mocktail Club.

So she started playing with shrubs, which are apple vinegar based and piquancy and tartness to cocktails. She also found that tea was a great base for tannins and started building a base that had herbal undertones. 

“As a result, I was able to recreate the key aspects of a great cocktail — the balancing of sweet, tart, bitter and savory notes,” she says. “I also wanted to focus on clean and natural ingredients. We source our juices, agave and apple cider vinegar from organic farms. We use simple ingredients and do not add any coloring, preservatives or additives to our products or our process.”

Corporate Skills Turned Entrepreneur

Idogho’s extensive background in business helped her set Mocktail Club up for success. Between a 15-year career in investment banking, international and clean energy finance, on top of working for the International Finance Corporation, she holds a plethora of knowledge. 

“All of these positions involved understanding a manufacturing process, project management and dealing with bankers and financiers,” explains Idogho. “I also got to work and traveled around Europe, Asia and the Middle East, which helped inspire the rich and sophisticated flavor profiles of the Mocktail Club line.”

On top of running her own business, Idogho also serves as a founding member and head of the finance committee of the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association (ANBA). ANBA promotes inclusivity amongst individuals who have felt left out because of their drinking preferences. 

Her passion for business never went away. She just transferred her skills from the corporate world to helping run Mocktail Club and ANBA. 

“Through ANBA, we can promote, support and protect our members to create strong brands and reshape the way the non-alcoholic sector is viewed, creating a culture where everyone can partake and feel good in any setting,” Idogho states.

Mocktail Club’s product line.

Overcoming the Hurdles

As with any business, Idogho faced some difficulties in the process of getting Mocktail Club off the ground. The no-alcohol sector was very nascent in 2019, which made it harder to convince retailers that there was a “growing category of people who were not drinking or moderating their alcohol intake.”

Idogho was able to overcome this challenge by being able to prove consistently that Mocktail Club could anchor its velocities and could drive same store sales due to repeat purchases. This ultimately helped grow their retail sales. 

Looking towards the future, Idogho says she has many plans to up the strong growth at Mocktail Club. “We are excited to launch a new flavor this summer, and we will continue to expand our offering in the future. We have a lot of fun getting our inspiration from travel destinations and experiences. We like each flavor to evoke memories, sights and sounds of a specific place,” she says.


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