Star registry entrepreneur finds niche in soft drink market

If you ask Rocky Mosele how he came up with the idea for his new Glenview based beverage company, Rocky’s Beverages, he’ll tell you about his a-ha moment.

“I was out one night for a business meeting, and I was exhausted,” said Mosele, who is also the owner of International Star Registry. “I’m not a big fan of energy drinks but I wanted to wake up so I ordered a Red Bull, and said to the bartender, ‘Why doesn’t club soda just have caffeine in it?’”

That’s the precise moment Mosele came up with the concept for Caffeinated Club, his four flavors of club soda with caffeine added.

“The product is clean,” said Mosele, a New Trier grad who holds a communications degree from DePaul University. “It has no calories, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and the same amount of caffeine as a can of Coke, without all the chemicals.”

Caffeinated Club is manufactured at the company’s Glenview office by a handful of employees that Mosele refers to as “Bubbles and the soda jerks,” and who he described as “fun, energetic people who will stay at work until 7 pm if they have to, and individuals who are here for a career.”

The unflavored, lemon, raspberry and orange-grapefruit flavored drinks come in 12 ounce clear bottles and retail for 99 cents per bottle. 

Mosele said he’s targeting bars, restaurants, hotels and specialty grocery stores, and has landed several accounts since his launch two weeks ago.

Jay Liberman is the owner of Foodstuffs, which recently purchased Caffeinated Club for his four store locations.

“The beverage industry is booming,” said Liberman. “People are getting away from soda products that have dominated the market for years, and instead looking for natural flavored beverages.”

Liberman said he had his mangers taste Caffeinated Club before committing to the purchase.

“They felt it was unique, they enjoyed the flavor, and the packaging is nice,” he said.

Mosele is no stranger to running a business. The Northfield native was just 10 years old when his parents, John and Phyllis started International Star Registry in 1979, a gifting company that enables customers to name starts in the sky.

Mosele has worked for the company since he was in high school, and began a full time career there after college. He bought International Star Registry from his parents in 2011.

“They have always inspired me, and they turned me into a true entrepreneur,” said Mosele, who currently lives in Northfield with his wife, Patti and their two children. “They taught me that the only thing that gets you further ahead is hard work.”

Mosele plans to expand the number of Caffeinated Club flavors, and eventually create other drinks.

“It’s similar to La Croix, but with caffeine added,” said Chris Barber, co-owner of The Grand Food Center, which recently placed an order for Caffeinated Club. It will be carried in both the Winnetka and Glencoe stores. 

“It’s clean, it has no chemicals, and would be refreshing in the daytime or would go great with a cocktail.”