The word “mock” means not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive. By that definition alone, mocktails often have their work cut out for them. Next to beloved cocktails, they’re usually seen as lesser than, or perhaps a poor alternative. But even though they certainly have a tall order to live up to, mocktails can deliver — and in this growing category of canned and bottled drinks sans alcohol, there are more exciting options than ever. We took a look around to see what’s going on in the world of naming canned mocktail brands.
What we see
In this category, brands tend to directly reference the non-alcoholic benefit as a way to stand out, with names like Mocktail Club, Fauxmosa, or even the uppercase DRY and NOPE. (We put it in all caps so you don’t forget it.) Others, like Mockly and Spiritless, take it up a notch by putting a positive spin on what’s perceived to be negative.
Simple one-word names like Kin, Avec, and Lyre’s keep it crisp and elegant. On the other end of the spectrum, coined names like Ghia, Hiyo, and Leilo don’t mind stepping out in a more unexpected fashion.
As in other segments of the beverage space, there are clearly plenty of opportunities to get creative with a fun and freewheeling name. We see elements of that here as well, with phrasal names meant to pique curiosity like For Bitter For Worse (made with love, not alcohol), Curious Elixirs, Lolo Hops, House of Love and Crisp & Crude. Names like Sun Chaser, Casamara Club, and Sweet Reason channel certain emotions or seasons, like the feeling of kicking back with a cool glass after a long day. One of our favorite names in the space is De Soi, which leverages the pedigree of the French language despite being a phrase that simply means “self-control.”
With Gen Z being described as “sober-curious” (more likely to not drink at all, or drinking less frequently and in lesser amounts than previous generations) and Dry January gaining momentum as a movement, the opportunities are ripe for non-alcoholic alternatives. What makes a good name? There’s a variety of possible approaches, but as far as we can see, it’s one with an interesting story to tell — directly or indirectly. Whether you choose to directly telegraph the non-alcoholic benefit or go abstract, or somewhere in between, make sure you have a strong point of view.
Liz Yap is a strategist for naming and brand language at Tanj.