Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

First Feature:
Meet Three Legged Brewing!

In First Features, we feature brand new CPG startups who have never received any media coverage before. We are so thrilled to provide our community members with the first look at some of the most exciting emerging brands in CPG. These brands may be the best-kept-secrets for now, but we have a feeling they won’t stay that way for very long.

Read on to learn more about how Yami Hu and her cold brew brand, Three Legged Brewing. 

Who is 3 Legged Brewing?

“Three legged is a cold-brew coffee company dedicated to creating an all natural, exceptional cold-brew using only the best ingredients. Our cold-brews are sugar free, dairy free, and without any artificial ingredients, while also tasting indulgent and deeply flavorful. Our cold brew line includes flavor profiles people are familiar with such as vanilla, caramel, and Irish cream. It’s more than regular coffee, it’s an indulgent, delicious beverage.”

What is 3 Legged’s Origin Story?

“I was diagnosed with cancer in my 30s, and it gave me a wake up call. I started to pay closer attention to what I eat and drink, but one thing I couldn’t kick was coffee…So that gave me the idea to create my own coffee that tastes like a treat, but doesn’t have all of the artificial flavors, sugar and cream.

“I started getting into cold brew because it is naturally sweet and is 70% less acidic than regular hot coffee. It’s better for your health and easier on your stomach. So I started doing cold brew and went down the rabbit hole, but it never occurred to me that this is my calling. My family and friends would come over and have a coffee out of the tap in my kitchen and they always told me, ‘You should sell this. It’s so good, and it’s good for you.”

“And finally, after 20 years in corporate jobs, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I was burned out after so long, and I did not feel satisfied. So I registered the company, and it was just the right timing because right after, in February, I got laid off. I can’t tell you how excited I was to solely focus on 3 Legged.”

How did you choose your brand’s name?

“The name 3 Legged comes from my dog. Her name is Mogwai and she’s an American Eskimo. She had cancer and we had to remove her leg to save her, but she healed and is very energetic now. She’s 14 and a half years old, and we love her to death. So we wanted to bring her name and her spirit to the brand.”

What has been your proudest moment since founding 3 Legged?

“The most satisfying moment is when you take your concept from something on tap in your home to an actual consumer packaged product. When customers taste it at the farmers market and come back every week and tell you how good the product is and how it is changing their lives — that is what makes me want to keep going.”

What has been the most challenging moment since founding 3 Legged?

“There are moments I have bawled my eyes out. I’m wearing so many hats, and I’ve never done this before. But I just tell myself, ‘If I keep working on it, I will figure it out.’ Also, as an entrepreneur, you’re taking a lot of risks. You’re leaving a good paying job for a startup, so there’s a lot of pressure on finances. Finances keep me up every single night. That’s why I’m so grateful for finding the Startup CPG community. When you talk to [other entrepreneurs], you realize you’re not alone. Everybody goes through this. Everybody has a cash-flow problem. But you just have to believe in yourself and believe in the process and trust it will work out eventually.”

What advice can you give founders hoping to start a CPG brand?

“I absolutely recommend anybody starting out to try the farmers market. It’s a very low risk, very cheap way to get your product out there and do some testing. The 3 Legged you see today is not what I started with. I see the farmers market as an intensive focus group. You talk to hundreds of people and they will immediately tell you what they like, what they don’t like, and what they wish they had. When I started 3 Legged I saw it as a health conscious product, but once we started selling [at farmers markets], I realized people didn’t give a crap about sugar and dairy free. Most people just wanted a good tasting delicious cold brew first and the health benefits came second. So that changed our messaging.”

“I also would recommend people find a community as early as possible. I didn’t know about Startup CPG until last October and it has been so helpful. I was a corporate executive for almost 20 years, but when you start a company on your own it’s totally different. You start from scratch. I would also start networking as early as you can. There are a lot of very helpful and knowledgeable people that are willing to share their wisdom, and they will help you save a lot of time.”

What are some of your dreams for the future of 3 Legged?

“I signed the lease for a physical location, so we’ll have a 3 Legged tap room and cafe in Lindenhurst, Illinois opening in March 2024. The front portion will be a tap room. It will be like a coffee shop, but operated like a brewery. We’ll have 20 taps on the wall with cold brew coffee, both cold and hot. We will also have organic cocoa or tea and some baked goods and sandwiches for people to grab when they have a coffee. We really want it to be community centric, supporting other small businesses in the area. In the back will be my production where I can brew 230 gallons of coffee at a time.”

“I didn’t want to get into retail, but at some point, I realized the people in the local community really wanted a coffee shop and community space. So we’re going to bring them this experience, and it’s going to be something fun and fresh for the locals. And also, it’s a way for the business to generate cash flow to support other activities.”

How can the Startup CPG community support you?

“A small ask is to follow us online. I will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to cover some of the build out costs, and we will be giving rewards to anyone who supports it. The big ask is that I think our product fits into high end, natural grocery stores. So in the local Midwest/Chicago area, if I can get an introduction to a Whole Foods or Fresh Thyme that would be awesome. I have submitted product before, but without a warm introduction, you’re not going anywhere. That’s the other thing I’ve learned, though — grow a thick skin and always ask for help. If they say no, it’s fine. We get rejections every day. But just ask because you never know.”

To connect with Yami about Three Legged, reach out via Startup CPG’s Slack (@YamiHu) or Linkedin.

Are you an emerging brand that has never been featured by a media publication? We want to give you your first feature on StartupCPG.com! Fill out this form to be considered.

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