Former UK Delivery Driver Creates Award-Winning Sorbet Cocktail Brand
Grace Ubawuchi, a U.K.-based entrepreneur and former delivery driver, has struck gold with her strongly spirited sorbet cocktail brand Xīn and Voltaire, earning the most promising medium-sized business honor at this year’s KPMG International’s Black Entrepreneurs’ Awards (BEA).
The first-of-its-kind adult beverage is bringing in $30,000 in monthly sales, Birmingham Live reports.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur has collaborated with scientists, mixologists, and chefs in order to face the difficult task of making a frozen alcoholic drink for the last seven years, perfecting her brand’s cocktails. The work has paid off as two of Xīn and Voltaire’s offerings—the champagne-and- mezcal-based “Giselle” as well as the champagne-and-vodka-concocted “Florian”—won bronze awards at the 2023 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
“My philosophy is if you don’t try, you don’t get,” Ubawuchi said. “I came up with the concept for Xīn and Voltaire when I was in Birmingham at university. I worked at Deliveroo but I learned so much about the food and drink industry while I was there.”
It was Ubawuchi’s love for a good cocktail combined with her steadfastness that led to her business capturing the eyes of an investor at a private equity firm, per Birmingham Live.
“I was a very wild child when I was younger and would go out clubbing in London with my cousins. I loved cocktails but wanted to have proper chilled pre-made ones at home, too, but couldn’t find them, so I thought about creating it myself,” she said.
“Perseverance has been the biggest thing for me. I had to get used to hearing ‘no’ for a while and was sending out 100 emails a day to try and get an investor. In the end, someone at a private equity firm believed in it, and I got investment in 2018.”
Currently, Xīn and Voltaire sorbet products can be found at U.K.-based Soho House locations, London’s Mandarin Oriental, popular department store Selfridges, and Electric Cinema. Ubawuchi plans to expand distribution to Mexico, Dubai, Switzerland, and Spain, the outlet reports.
“I have first-hand experience of how challenging it can be initially, especially as a solo founder without access to information or a community,” Ubawuchi said. “What’s great about today is that social media and incredible people with access act as the megaphones, sharing key information so that those barriers are broken.”