Courting Canned Cocktails

Story by Eric Butterman
Image by Sarah Barnett

Former Lehigh basketball player, Luke Traina ’23, takes an entrepreneurial shot.

Luke Traina '23

It’s fair to say Luke Traina ’23, management, is comfortable taking long shots. A former Lehigh shooting guard on the men’s basketball team, he had already scored the sale of a shoe-selling company during high school. With help from Lehigh Ventures Lab, he now looks for another winner in the alcoholic beverage industry with Seltic Beverages.

Traina will soon launch a canned ready-to-go cocktail business—75,000 cans distributed throughout the country. “It’s a pre-mixed, pre-alcohol-infused cocktail in 12-ounce cans,” he explains. “There aren’t many craft premium cocktails at affordable prices that taste good. We already have partnerships lined up with music festivals and big internet influencers.”  

Lehigh Ventures Lab, an incubator for founders associated with Lehigh, connected Traina with mentors in the food/beverage space, along with supportive legal and financial teams. “Greg Heller-Labelle, CEO at Colony Meadery, was one of the great connections through Lehigh Ventures Lab. He gave me sage advice about the kinds of catastrophes I need to avoid in this industry,” Traina reports.

With $5,000 awarded from Lehigh Ventures Lab, Traina feels supported on all fronts.

“It’s a risk to do this business, but it’s well worth it,” he says.

“The fun has been testing this product among people I know and professionals in the industry and, now, there’s this huge excitement about releasing the product.”

Chris Kauzmann, interim director of the Lehigh Ventures Lab, says Traina has the enthusiasm and work ethic that will breed success. “We want to show students through Lehigh Ventures Lab that there are different ways to be a part of the workforce,” he says. “You don’t have to necessarily wait until you’re many years out of school to start a business. But you need the tools, the advice and helpful direction. We want students to believe in themselves. That’s what we believe a school should do.”