Hey guys! 

Welcome back to Products Worth Talking About — the show about disruptive physical products and the people who built them. In today’s episode, we find out more about three incredible brands of cold-brew coffee and what’s driving the explosion of products in the market.

The cold brew industry is currently worth $29 million, which might sound small, but it’s projected to reach $170 million by 2025! You just have to walk into any Whole Foods and see the mass of cold-brew coffee products to know this is a category to watch.  

Cold-brew coffee might be less popular than its warm cousin, coffee, but there are some companies already doing a great job to become brand leaders. In today’s episode, we take a look at three disruptive coffee companies looking to lead the way — Lucky Jack, High Brew, and OWYN.  

We analyze each company’s background story, products, and pricing before we take a look at their social media and online presence. Then, we’ll rate them on our ‘Beer Scorecard’ to see which company wins the title of ‘Best Cold-Brew Coffee’ brand and which company founder we’d like to have a beer with. Our aim is to invite the founders on the show to chat with us.

We were amped to get a caffeine buzz this episode — let’s jump right in!

Lucky Jack Product Review and Company Background

  • Company Background 

Lucky Jack was founded by Richard Karno in 2013 and is based out of New York City. According to LinkedIn, they have 8 employees currently. In 2016, fitness expert Jillian Michaels purchased a controlling stake in Lucky Jack and became a vital part of the company. 

Here’s what’s interesting about that: having done a couple of episodes already where influencers or celebrities have become part of the company, we were surprised to find no trace of her involvement on their website or social media. 

  • Product Review

Lucky Jack uses organic coffee beans as part of their unwavering commitment to the health of both customers and farmers. At first glance, the unique packaging reminds us of an old-school root beer bottle. We debated the challenges this might bring with shipping heavier products that are easier to break. 

We drank the smaller 7.5 oz bottle, which has mild carbonation and tastes rich with a dark coffee flavor that we loved. We loved their innovation in creating concentrates too. The 32 oz bottle contains espresso-charged cold brew concentrate, which yields ten cups of hot or cold coffee at an easy 1:1 mix. Their website says you can mix it with either water or milk.

  • Pricing 

Both products we featured are only available in one of their 3,000 retail stores. However, they do have a 7.5 oz can 12 pack for $29.99

High Brew Product Review and Company Background

  • Company Background

High Brew was founded in 2013 by a married couple — David and Elizabeth Smith. Located in Austin, Texas, High Brew has 74 employees on LinkedIn

High Brew chooses their coffee from the highest quality sources while making sure they are environmentally sustainable too. This is why High Brew gives a portion of their sales from every can to support Direct Trade farmers. Their partners are located in the Antioquia region of Colombia and consist of 3,600 members, one-third of which are women. Together, they comprise over 65,000 acres of coffee farms.

We thought this was a great touch and was well explained on their website as part of their overall brand and mission. 

  • Product Review

High Brew has six flavors in 8 oz slim cans, each with a little bit of carbonation to them. (Don’t shake them as RT did!) They have 130 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, which is about a normal cup of coffee.

We love that the packaging has its story on the back, which helps them stand out in this industry. 

RT enjoyed the soft Salted Caramel, likening it to the quality of Starbucks. Tyler loved trying the Black & Bold because it’s both dairy-free and sugar-free, something that is top-of-mind right now. He could tell that it was sugar-free and dairy-free, but it delivered a smooth coffee taste of the highest quality. 

High Brew’s other coffee flavors are creamy cappuccino, double espresso, iced chocolate mocha, Mexican vanilla, and Black & Bold (the dairy-free option).

  • Pricing

A 12-pack on their website is $26, making the price per can just over $2.  

OWYN Product Review and Company Background

  • Company Background

OWYN (Only What You Need) was founded by Catherine Moose and Jeff Mroz. LinkedIn says they currently have 19 employees based in New York City. Interesting that out of the three companies, two were founded by a husband and wife team!

OWYN’s inspiration came from the duo being fitness enthusiasts who wanted to create something similar to a quality protein shake using plant-based protein. 

  • Product Review

OWYN is slightly different from the other three. In fact, they are a protein shake company that has Cold-Brew as one of their flavors, the others being Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Cookies & Creamless.

These are meal replacement shakes, of which Tyler has had extensive experience. OWYN has done a great job of showing healthy ingredients, like plant-based protein, and highlighting that they do not use dairy or soy. 

While we weren’t 100% sold on the taste, being one of the healthier options to choose from gives it an advantage over competitors. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that the better it tastes, the unhealthier they usually are. Tyler did recognize that all our tastes are different, so he still highly recommends them based on their health benefits.

  • Pricing

OWYN protein shakes are $35.99 for a 12-pack on their website.    

Social Media Scorecards

  • Lucky Jack has 11,700 followers on Instagram with an average loss of 30 people per month and an engagement of 0.98%. Unfortunately, their page doesn’t do their product and taste justice. It feels disconnected, and truthfully, they spend little time on both their page and website, and that explains why they’re losing followers. We believe their biggest opportunity is to dive deeper into their story to engage with their customers. They do have a great retail footprint, and perhaps this is why their focus isn’t as much on their online presence. 
  • High Brew has 34,800 followers on Instagram with an average growth of 1,348 people per month and an engagement of 1.56% — the highest of all three! They have a well-crafted page that has recently switched from being influencer-focused to partnering with other companies, and based on their engagement, it’s working!
  • OWYN has 32,200 followers on Instagram with an average growth of 900 people a month and an engagement of 0.98%. It’s a very stylistic and well-crafted page that looks professionally curated. It’s thoughtfully put together. We thought their “why do I keep seeing OWYN everywhere” adverts were clever to build credibility. We think they have an agency working on it, and overall, we were impressed. 

The Beer Score: Which Cold-Brew Coffee Product Is the Best?

After taking all of these statistics and our subjective opinions into account, we give our final score — the Beer Score (AKA which founder we want to find and have a beer with). 

  • Product and Packaging

RT gave Lucky Jack 7/10 while Tyler gave them 6/10.

RT gave High Brew 7/10 while Tyler gave them 7/10.

RT gave OWYN 7/10 while Tyler gave them 6/10. 

Lucky Jack looks like a craft root beer bottle and stood out among the three for RT if it were on the shelf to purchase.

Tyler feels High Brew’s packaging stands out the most on the shelf and entices him to see what flavors they have. 

  •  Social Media Strategy

RT gave Lucky Jack 4/10 while Tyler gave them 6/10.

RT gave High Brew 8/10 while Tyler gave them 8/10.

RT gave OWYN 8/10 while Tyler gave them 7/10. 

RT and Tyler agree that Lucky Jack loses this based on their focus being retail stores. High Brew’s advertising and professionalism come across consistently in their messaging and just barely beat out OWYN.

  •   Sales and Conversion

RT gave Lucky Jack 5/10 while Tyler gave them 4/10.

RT gave High Brew 6/10 while Tyler gave them 7/10.

RT gave OWYN 8/10 while Tyler gave them 8/10. 

OWYN is getting 127,000 visits a month on their website, which alone stands out among the three. Lucky Jack had 1,200 with High Brew getting 14,000 (and growing). The website traffic demonstrates what a difference having a retail focus and a clear online strategy can make. The fact that OWYN has a subscription model too helps consistently drive people to their website. 

Looking at the three Amazon sales with Jungle Scout, High Brew has $90,000 while OWYN has $9,000. Lucky Jack’s numbers were not available at all. 

Again, Lucky Jack is available in 3,000 retail stores nationwide, which explains why their online presence is not a focus. We see the website visits compared with OWYN as a lost opportunity for them to work on.

  • Disruptive Level

RT gave Lucky Jack 6/10 while Tyler gave them 4/10.

RT gave High Brew 6/10 while Tyler gave them 6/10.

RT gave OWYN 7/10 while Tyler gave them 8/10. 

Tyler feels both OWYN and High Brew are using their retail footprint as a marketing tool to build brand awareness. OWYN’s high-quality and healthy ingredients stood out for Tyler, making them his winner.  

RT feels from a disruptive point of view OWYN is ahead of the others, even though they are dabbling in cold-brew coffee versus the other two being cold-brew-focused companies.

And the Best Cold-Brew Coffee Brand Winner Is…

OWYN is the winner with a score of 59! It was close; High Brew was next with a score of 55, and in the last place was Lucky Jack with 42. If anyone has contact with Catherine and Jeff, we’d love to sit down over a cold-brew and chat with them about their success.

Conclusion and Takeaways

In this episode, we can see three companies with three different products and approaches carving out their own place in the cold-brew coffee category. 

Lucky Jack’s success comes from a strong national retail footprint, with opportunities to improve their website and online presence. High Brew’s success comes through in reaching and engaging with their online audience and a great Amazon strategy. OWYN is doing everything well, a powerful social media presence, a great website including a subscription model, and clever use of ads to promote their business. 

On Products Worth Talking About, our mission is to not only give you reliable information on disruptive products but also give you valuable insight into what makes great businesses successful! We have several takeaways that we plan to apply to our own businesses. 

  • The Value of the Retail Strategy: Retail offers you a huge opportunity to market your business, and all the successful companies we’ve analyzed in previous shows have demonstrated this effectively. It’s a foundation for exponential growth, and Tyler is currently developing retail-specific packaging with REBL Jane.  
  • Clever Marketing: The advert that OWYN had, a screenshot of a blog that wrote ‘the reason you keep seeing OWYN everywhere’ is incredibly well done. RT will use this strategy to create more engaging advertising for Vortic Watches.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Products Worth Talking About! Be sure to watch the video here to learn more about these incredible disruptive brands. 

If you learned something today, we would love to hear from you. Take a screenshot of the episode and share your greatest takeaways with us on Instagram, @productsworthtalkingabout. And if you love the show, make sure to subscribe on YouTube so that you can get new content delivered to you directly! Let us know what products and brands you want us to review!

Lastly, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to build a product-based business, check out our business plan that literally writes itself! Within no time, you’ll be ready to pitch to investors and start the company of your dreams. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time—

RT and Tyler 

OTHER EPISODES YOU MAY LIKE

Can Away Travel Unpack the Luggage Industry? | Samsonite vs Away
Turn Heads and Not Noses: Founder Interview with American Provenance's Kyle LaFond

JOIN THE COMMUNITY