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Luba Libations: A toast to inclusivity and healthy libations

Door County Candle Company owner to launch new non-alcoholic drink brand

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April 3, 2024

DOOR COUNTY — As owner of Door County Candle Company, Christiana Trapani said she knows a thing or two about the long days of an entrepreneur.

And, sometimes after those long days, she said she found herself wanting a “fancy drink” to celebrate the day’s victories and challenges but didn’t want to partake in alcohol regularly.

“I started looking for a ready-to-drink, non-alcoholic cocktail that tasted like the real deal but didn’t have the alcohol,” she said. “I spent a while looking- and everything I tasted, basically tasted like dressed-up juice with some fizz.”

When Trapani gave up on finding a mocktail she enjoyed, she said she shared her disappointment with her husband, Nick.

“He looked at me and he was like, ‘well, then why don’t you make it?'” she said. “I was like, ‘oh, that’s a great idea, why don’t we make it?'”

That conversation, Trapani said, sparked the creation of Luba Libations.

A mocktail mixologist
After making the decision to try her hand at making a non-alcoholic beverage, Trapani said she got straight to work experimenting with beverages.

“I started to make a bunch of non-alcoholic cocktails at home,” she said. “I was making up my recipes, and I got to four I loved.”

The quartet of drinks, Trapani said, are similar in taste to “popular and commonly-ordered cocktails,” but of course in this case, sans alcohol.

“One has grapefruit in it, which is delicious,” she said. “We have one in particular that is going to be a fun twist on a common cocktail with the name.”

Christiana Trapani, left, said she was motivated to make her own mocktail brand after receiving encouragement from her husband, Nick. Submitted Photo

With Luba’s four flagship flavors selected, Trapani said she is now working with a company out in California that is making her recipes come to life.

“(The goal is to make) it an all-natural drink with low calories, and keeping it health-focused,” she said. “We didn’t want any ingredients we couldn’t pronounce and didn’t want there to be dye (in them). We want to keep it as healthy as possible and as clean as possible.”

Trapani said Luba drinks will also be gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Luba Libations, she said, is expected to launch this fall and will be available for purchase online (

“We’re also hoping to get heavy into wholesale,” she said.

Trapani said she also plans to sell Luba at Door County Candle Company, as long as there aren’t any rules against it — which she said she is still figuring out.

Luba’s story
The name Luba Libations, Trapani said, is inspired by her grandmother, Luba.

“I’ve always described her as a trailblazer — a bold, fierce woman,” she said. “She loves a good, clean libation, and she loves to toast to the day, whether it was a bad day or good day.”

Her grandmother, Trapani said, is a great example of “being an inspirational woman.”

“She embodies the whole idea of the brand being inclusive and for trailblazers — for people who are bold and daring,” she said. “And actually, her name translates to love in English because her name is Ukrainian- It’s a cool story.”

The name Luba Libation’s was inspired by Christiani Trapani’s grandmother, Luba (right), who Trapani said always loves to end the day with a toast. Submitted Photo

Trapani said Luba herself is excited to try the non-alcoholic libations.

“She’s ready to toast with it every night,” she said.

Meeting a need in Northeast WI
Since announcing the launch of Luba Libations, Trapani said she has quickly found out she isn’t the only one who struggles to both find a good mocktail and feel included in activities with friends that include alcohol.

“One lady was telling me that she’s noticed her invites with friends have diminished and gone away because she (doesn’t) enjoy that scene,” she said. “I’m hoping this drink can make everyone feel included. It lets them have that drink in hand, but not sacrifice whatever reason they’re not wanting to have alcohol.”

Trapani said others have said they’re excited that Luba is a healthier alternative.

“Some people are saying they have health issues (and) they can’t drink,” she said. “And when they go out, it’s hard for them because a lot of times people want to go out for a drink and they don’t want a Shirley Temple and they don’t want a soda — they want something that is like the real deal.”

Trapani said she is hoping that Luba Libations will help change the view of non-alcoholic drinks from an oddity to the “norm.”

“The other day, I was out for dinner, and we went to a bar with some friends,” she said. “It was funny because (I asked), ‘what kind of non-alcoholic drinks do you have?’ And it was one beer- I want to change that with Luba.”

Two businesses, double the empowerment
As Trapani continues to work toward the launch of her second business, she said “it’s an incredible feeling” to be a successful woman entrepreneur in Northeast Wisconsin.

“If you asked me years ago if I’d be doing this, I would have said, ‘I doubt it,'” she said. “It’s empowering, and I have an amazing support system.”

The business owner said her husband’s mindset of “if I can’t find it, then create it,” has also been inspiring to her.

“This whole journey of being a business owner and entrepreneur has taught me that if you can’t find a solution to the problem, then do what you can to be the solution and to make the solution-” she said. “I hope it inspires people — if they have an idea or have something they want to do, they’re capable and worthy and able to do (it).”

Trapani said the first step is always the scariest.

“With Luba, this is different- This is not like anything we’ve done before,” she said. “I’m all about taking risks, and if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”

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