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Q & A With Shelley Elkovich of For Bitter For Worse

For Bitter For Worse is an exquisite collection of sophisticated non-alcoholic mocktails designed for the discerning adult palate. For those seeking to savor the moment without the influence of alcohol, these mocktails allow you to cut back on booze while still relishing the pleasure of a well-crafted drink!

Bottles and cans of non-alcoholic mocktails.
Image courtesy of For Bitter For Worse.

Q. What is your passion? Tell us about it.

A. For Bitter For Worse makes complex cocktails with love, not alcohol. We’re co-creating a healthier, more inclusive culture.

Q. What inspired you to pursue this passion? Tell us the story.

A. Flavor Maven Shelley Elkovich founded the brand when a whale-watching trip triggered an obscure neurological condition which caused an alcohol intolerance. She broke up with booze, but still wanted adult beverages suitable for adult occasions without compromising on flavor or integrity of ingredients. For Bitter For Worse uses certified organic botanicals and a proprietary “reverse bootlegging” production process to create their four alcohol-adjacent varietals: sparkling aperitifs, a red wine alternative, and a potent, smoky spirit. In addition to being alcohol-free, For Bitter For Worse cocktails are free from refined sugar, natural flavors, preservatives, animal products, gluten, and major allergens. Launched in 2020, For Bitter For Worse has won 18 international medals to date and was twice featured in The New York Times.

Q. What makes your creation unique?

A. Our brand has the cleanest label in the category. In addition to complexity of flavor and occasion, we focus on ingredients that are best for people and the land. We use certified organic botanicals, not lab-derived ingredients such as natural flavors and preservatives. Because inclusion matters, our drinks are also low carb, low glycemic, and free from refined sugar, gluten, animal products and major allergens.

Q. Tell us about your creative process.

A. The creative spark is usually the occasion: what do I want to drink during Golden Hour? Sometimes it's more esoteric—the word Saskatoon captivated me, and I knew I had to do something with those luscious berries with the intriguing name. Foraging and gardening also spark creative play with recipes. Then comes the meticulous work of trialing different combinations and taking notes after every iteration.

Q. Who is your audience? How do you engage them?

A. Our primary audience is midlife women at the peak of their powers. They no longer drink as much alcohol as they once did, but they crave a sophisticated sip. We engage our community through our e-newsletter, on social media, and at events.

Q. What experience does your passion create? What can recipients expect?

A. People who drink are cocktails will feel celebrated and included in adult occasions, whether or not they are consuming alcohol.

Q. Where can your creations be found?

A. Our website,, select retailers nationwide, and in late summer 2023.

Q. What is next?

A. We're growing fast: Whole Food Pacific Northwest is next on the docket.


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