Got Other Milk?

Got Other Milk?
Words by Michelle Ferrand

Gone are the idyllic days of getting your milk delivered to your doorstep in glass bottles, or so we thought. A “what’s old is new” approach to milk shopping has popped up in big cities like New York and L.A., and now it’s headed for Chattanooga, Tennessee. Other Milk Co., created by Elizabeth Bounds, is a new alternative milk brand that will deliver oat and pecan milk to your home. 

The idea of Other Milk started as a small drip. Growing up lactose-intolerant meant Elizabeth was always on the search for milk alternatives that agreed with her. Then, after adopting a vegan lifestyle, the amount of waste surrounding her consumption became pretty apparent. 

“I just started noticing the waste that came from consuming alternative milk products and the wax cardboard that's not recyclable,” said Elizabeth. “So, I started researching the old milkman model and wondered [if it still existed]. Is there anyone delivering and making alternative milk products and leaving it on the front door? And I found that it does exist, but only in much larger cities.”

After considering the popularity of alternative milk—a reportedly $3.1 billion industry in the U.S.—and how eco-forward her city is, it dawned on Elizabeth that this milkman idea “needed to exist.” With extra free time on her hands at the beginning of 2020, she began to develop her milk recipes. 

“I make it all myself. I product-tested for about eight months and just iterated and iterated [until it was right],” she said. “It was really important to me to create something with five ingredients or less. You can pronounce it all.”

Other Milk will have three types of milk—Oat, Chocolate Pecan, and a Barista Blend. For those looking for a sustainable, neutral milk to use for pretty much everything, the Oat milk would be an ideal pick. If you’re like the 39% of Americans that still purchase chocolate milk, Chocolate Pecan will become your new go-to.

“It’s my version of what a chocolate milk dairy product would be,” said Elizabeth. “I take local dark cacao, Georgia pecans, some maple syrup, and a few other things. It’s just really delicious.”

The Barista Blend is the perfect combination of oat and hemp milk that adds the right amount of creaminess to any latte, cappuccino, or cortado. (A few early batches went to friends working in coffee shops in late 2020.) Elizabeth also avoids adding gums and fillers to her products; not because it’s inherently bad, but because some people can’t process them.

“I want [Other Milk] to be an inclusive product. I'm hoping that we'll have a little something for everybody.”

After nailing down her recipes, it was time to get her idea in front of an audience. Elizabeth pitched her idea for Other Milk during last year’s Will This Float competition, an event created by a nonprofit that aids startups in the Chattanooga area. After presenting her idea in front of investors, judges, and an audience of 150 Nooga residents, Other Milk won the coveted Judge’s Choice Award and was given a $3,000 grant. 

While the creation and execution of Other Milk has been methodically planned out, the idea for the name was more serendipitous.

“It's a fun story that revolves around me not being able to hear well,” she laughs. “I was talking with my boyfriend over dinner and we were just thinking about the name and what it could be. He made a joke about calling it “udder milk.” And I was like, Other Milk? And that was it.”

When Other Milk launches this April, Elizabeth plans on selling at local farmer’s markets. Customers interested in the delivery service will be able to set up their delivery frequency and pick-up schedule through text or on the future Other Milk website. She also will have her first wholesale partnership with a local coffee shop in the same month. Eventually, if all goes to plan, Other Milk will get its own establishment and hopefully expand its reach to other cities like Nashville, Atlanta, or Birmingham. 

“There's no doubt that alternative milk is just different from dairy. But if I can just pique someone's curiosity and get them to grab Other Milk one time over dairy, that's a success.”

You can follow what Other Milk is up to on their Instagram. If you’re ready to sign up for their waitlist, you can do that here.