Danielle Mann turned an idea into a reality. That reality: Rivergreen Cocktails
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photo provided by Andrea Hutchinson
When the pandemic hit, Danielle Mann went from being a full-time OBGYN physician with a packed day-to-day schedule to lots of blank space on her calendar and the most free time she’d had on her hands in a while. So, as summertime hit and outdoor, spaced-out gatherings were allowed, Mann began crafting gin cocktails out of sloe gin in her kitchen to sip on while chatting with friends. Put sloe gin over rocks with sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got the Danielle Mann quarantine drink. After falling in love with her cocktail, she checked out the canned cocktail aisle at the liquor store, hoping to find something similar to what she was making, but she noticed only gin and tonics. “I went down the canned gin cocktail world rabbit hole, and at that time, two years ago, canned cocktails were trying to take off, and gin was starting to make a comeback. It’s certainly not on the level of vodka or bourbon, but it’s getting a revival,” explained Mann. “I realized it was a missing niche in the market, and I felt like it was an opportunity to do something. So I started playing around with different cocktails and committed to the three I have on the market: Bee’s Knees, Gimlet and Greyhound.”
Some might call Mann ambitious or crazy for pursuing her idea. But, Mann saw it as an opportunity to act on one of the many ideas that had floated through her mind over the years. With a medical background, she now had to figure out how to navigate the liquor industry and get her product on the market. “I thought I could get someone to make this for me, so that was the plan initially. I had the idea that I’d get someone to make it, and then I’d sell it. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, nothing’s ever easy,” Mann laughed. “In the alcohol world, I can’t make something and sell it to the liquor world. I have to make something, a distributor has to accept me, and then the distributor sells it to a liquor store, restaurant or bar.” After finding out that it would be costly to have someone make her commodity for her, she rolled up her sleeves, bought one warehouse on River Road and got to work making small batches of her creation. After being introduced to a distributor, her product was picked up immediately, and voila! Rivergreen Cocktails was born.
As a mother of three boys, a full-time OBGYN practitioner and now the owner of a business, Mann’s life is anything but a walk in the park. “Anybody who is a working mother will know that sometimes you don’t feel like you’re doing enough in some facet of your life, and that’s just because there are only 24 hours in the day, and you’re only one person. So I try to give myself a lot of grace with that. My kids understand that I have started a business and work really hard. They have been very tolerant and have no problem going to the warehouse after school to work on their homework while I work. I’m trying to teach them that if they want anything in this world, they have to work hard for it. It’s not easy. I feel like women wear a lot of hats, and I take pride in all of the hats I wear. I want to be a good physician, a good mother and I want to be a successful entrepreneur,” Mann said. The community of women entrepreneurs she’s built along the way has inspired her to keep pushing when days are tough. They’ve helped her realize that no one has an easy time building a business from the ground up, but you will be successful with a bit of blood, sweat and tears. “I started with one tank, and now I have three tanks. I was hand labeling everything before, and now I have pre-printed cans, and recently I just bought my first canning line,” explained Mann.
In May, Mann hit her one-year mark of Rivergreen Cocktails being on the first liquor store shelf. Now, you can find them in Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky and Elizabethtown. She plans to up her marketing in 2022 (expect to see more of that adorable 1968 Volkswagen bug around town) and maximize its reach in Kentucky. In due time, she hopes to jump state lines, so more people can imbibe a delectable gin cocktail in the convenience of a can without the hassle of making one. Cheers!
2732 River Green Circle
Louisville, KY 40206