VCU students launch canned ‘mocktail’ brand Everything But The Booze

everything but the booze headshot Cropped

Catherine Emblidge and Celeste Chance are behind the new non-alcoholic cocktail  startup. (Mike Platania photo)

What started as a graduate school project is set to become a new canned beverage business in Richmond.

Catherine Emblidge and Celeste Chance are launching Everything But The Booze, a new non-alcoholic cocktail company. 

The duo are currently students at VCU’s advertising graduate school, The Brandcenter, where they had a group assignment to develop a new business. Inspired in part by a classmate who didn’t drink and felt left out at parties, Emblidge and Chance’s group decided to conceptualize a non-alcoholic cocktail. 

Now, even though the class project is over, Emblidge and Chance are keeping EBTB going. They recently struck a deal with  Garden Grove Brewing Co. & Urban Winery in Carytown to produce EBTB’s drinks, and launched a Kickstarter with a target of $2,500 to give the company some startup funding. 

EBTB’s first lineup of drinks include a non-alcoholic sangria, margarita and mule. The goal for the drinks is to be a bit more flavorful than most of the canned mocktails currently on the market. Emblidge said they’re calling theirs “shocktails.”

everything but the booze cans

EBTB’s first drinks include a non-alcoholic margarita, mule and sangria. (Courtesy EBTB)

“It’s like when you go to a dive bar and you get a vodka soda, versus a craft cocktail somewhere,” Emblidge said. “I feel like that’s where we’re trying for – to give more of that experience of a craft cocktail instead of like a simple, rail bar drink.”

Added Chance: “We sampled so many mocktails that were out there we were just like, ‘There’s got to be something better than just bitters and club soda.'”

They’re looking to differentiate EBTB’s drinks by using ingredients like flavor-infused agaves and fresh shrubs. They’re drawing in part from Chance’s past experience as tasting room manager from Richmond-based Cirrus Vodka, where she worked prior to enrolling at Brandcenter and she’d sometimes have to improvise non-alcoholic options. 

“People would come up to the bar all the time looking for mocktails so I had to get kind of fancy with what I had on hand,” Chance said. “That definitely helped us when we were crafting these drinks.”

Their initial production runs have yielded about 100 12-ounce cans of each of EBTB’s three flavors, and Chance said they’re hoping to eventually produce around 1,000 cans per run and sell them in both four-packs and kegs.

Emblidge and Chance have been selling and sampling EBTB at pop-up markets and said the goal is to have EBTB sold at local breweries, distilleries and local markets, including non-alcoholic drink shop Point 5, which is just a few doors down from Garden Grove. 

EBTB is looking to tap into the non-alcoholic beer and cocktail industry that’s been taking off nationally. And while a few local breweries, including The Veil Brewing Co. and Three Notch’d Brewing Co., have added non-alcoholic beers to their lineup, Emblidge and Chance said they see the local zero-proof cocktail market as untapped. 

“It’s a great opportunity to pioneer this in the Richmond market and test it here so we can grow later,” Chance said. “There’s no one else (in Richmond) doing it right now, at least not the way that we are.”

Added Emblidge: “Every time we go out there and do a tasting, there’s so much excitement around the brand and the beverages. It’s been really great to see the people in Richmond, so far, rally around it.”


Editor's Picks

Notify of

1 Comment
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
kate russell
kate russell
1 day ago

Hey Mike. My husband and I own the Padow’s on Midlothian. How do I get in touch with these young ladies re: stocking their new, exciting product?