Happy Hour Without the Hangover


It all started in 2020 in Montauk, NY. Co-founders Nicole Bray and John Enghauser missed the social aspect of happy hour and gathering with friends for a quick drink. They didn’t miss the hangovers, though. Marketing seemed heavily geared towards alcoholic beverages, but the pair craved something different, so they decided to make their mark on the alcohol-free space by launching Jeng.

Tell us about Jeng’s beginnings?

Jeng has two co-founders, myself, Nicole Bray, and John Enghauser. I’m a global marketing professional and entrepreneur. I spent 14 years in global ad agencies across London, Los Angeles and New York. John is an accomplished beverage entrepreneur and formulator. He was an ad-tech enterprise sales expert for 23 years, in addition to his mixology and formulation [background]. Currently, we have nine people on our team.

Jeng co-founder Nicole Bray.

So: alcohol-free, but still a fun escape?

We launched the first iteration of Jeng, which is Jeng with 11 milligrams of broad-spectrum CBD, in 2021. From a societal standpoint, people were living in these binaries. You’re a drinker or you’re sober. No one was speaking to the people who lived in the middle. Having a non-alcoholic option that still has a functional element that allows you to relax and take the edge off was important. That is where adding the hemp was key for us. I still want to be able to sit down and have what feels and tastes like a classic cocktail, but there is the functional element that does help me relax, just like alcohol would.

What was the process like, narrowing down the flavors and getting different profiles together? 

John [creates formulations] in his kitchen and they’re sent to a commercial formulator. All of the recipes are solely Jeng. We started with our Moscow mule, then moved out to the Paloma and gin and tonic. Then we saw [in the hemp beverage space] this move towards adding legal hemp-derived THC, which is also known as Delta Nine. At the end of May of 2023, we launched our THC line.

You saw a unique window in the cannabis demographic. Tell us about that.

We talked to a lot of consumers who had positive attitudes toward cannabis and what we noticed is that the hemp category is masculine. There are a lot of women who enjoy cannabis and no one is talking to them. We took the Moscow mule from our CBD line but put in the THC. There’s also the Paloma, a spicy blood orange margarita, and a rhubarb cucumber spritz.

What sets your beverage apart from others on the market right now? 

Particularly within the hemp-infused market, we are a premium, non-alcoholic classic cocktail infused with hemp. All of our ingredients are natural with no preservatives. We use real fruit juice in all our cocktails; we’re gluten-free, vegan and kosher. We cater to women because our demographic is women 30 to 50.

As you guys scale, how will you keep that homegrown feel? 

For us, one of the biggest barriers is education. What is it? How will it make me feel? How we try to overcome that is through user-generated content. People tell [consumers] about the beverage: how it tastes, what’s in it, then taste test it and say, ‘I’ll come back on in 30 minutes and tell you exactly how I feel.’ That has worked well for us. There’s a level of intimacy within our community. Women talking to women, reassuring women, ensuring [they] feel safe trying out our beverages. There are so many women out there who have had bad experiences trying [cannabis], so we want this to feel like a very safe, inclusive and controlled experience.

Where can Beyondish readers find Jeng?

The best place is at sipjeng.com, where we can deliver it straight to your door. Or you [purchase Jeng] across the country.


Allanah Dykes

Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer whose niche is home decor and food, but she has written in almost every field from mental health to political op-eds. Her favorite pastimes are listening to Biggie and Bach and enjoying New York Italian ices and slices


Leave a Comment