Carter Jewell and her husband, Clayton Hamerski, work in real estate and politics in the Wilmington area, socializing and networking. As Jewell started reading more about America’s culture of alcohol and its potentially harmful effects, she began to think about more options.
“I literally drank more than I wanted to,” she said. “Just because we’re at these events.”
This is how the idea for Mocksie started. She now runs that business as a wine tasting and bartending service. Since late November, she’s hosted pop-up events where people can sample a growing selection of low and no-alcohol beers, wines and spirits.
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During the holiday season, Mocksie offers an alternative to party booze. Now, with the new year underway, Jewell is ready to take part in one of the biggest events in the cut-alcohol movement, Dry January, a public health campaign urging people to make it a personal challenge to abstain from alcohol for a month.
Look for Mocksie at Panacea Brewing Company’s mocktail mixing class on January 12th. 6. From January 8th to 15th, Jewell will host National Mocktail Week in partnership with the local Pomana Shrub Company.
The zero proof trend is on the rise. Polls from Gallup and other research institutions point to declining alcohol consumption among adults. Meanwhile, those who don’t drink (or don’t always want to) want more options. Some larger cities have dedicated “dry bars,” while in Wilmington, more restaurants (such as The Green House) specialize in low- or no-alcohol mixed drinks.
“People don’t want to drink or don’t want to drink for a variety of reasons,” Jewell said. “It could be that there’s a health issue, or you’re an on-call doctor, or you just want to stay sane.”
Her goal is to have a product that meets all of these needs. For some, it’s all about creating a mocktail that’s beautiful, complex, and delicious. Others want no-alcohol or low-alcohol beer and wine that closely resemble the originals. Some people might not want to tempt themselves with this product, so Jewell and Mocksie also offer soda and coffee. These may not taste like alcohol, but are packed with healthy ingredients or soothing botanicals.
She curated the choices.
“Clayton and I went through trial and error for you,” she said. Jewell said she also works hard to keep her prices competitive with other online sellers.
Favorites include the Pink Rose gin from Ceder’s. It pairs especially well with grapefruit soda and some non-alcoholic bubbly. There’s also Lemon Radler from Athletic Brewing, which recently opened the world’s largest non-alcoholic brewery. Jewell is also grateful that she can support women and minority-owned businesses, such as Busty Lush, which makes a line of non-alcoholic malt beverages. The She’s Golden variety offers tropical fruit, moderate bitterness and a clean finish.
Jewell is encouraged by the response so far.
Now, Mocksie has a tasting room at 713 Princess St. It was open by appointment. Her long-term goals include adding a storefront bar where people can mingle and mingle, or a mobile bar she can bring to events. She’s taking cues from customers that the community might support first.
Allison Ballard is a food and dining reporter for StarNews. You can reach her at email@example.com.