PETALING JAYA, Feb 6 — Looks can be deceiving. Outwardly these colourful drinks look just like any other sparkling beverages on the market, made to order for the on-the-go clientele.
But with names such as Marry Lisa, Liong Cha and Galaxy, you’d guess rightly that there is something different brewing.
Enter LeJiu, a new purveyor of casual, easy-to-enjoy drinks that are inspired by cocktails. The aforementioned Marry Lisa is an effervescent blend of pink Moscato and soda, adorned with an aromatic sprig of rosemary.
LeJiu is founded by entrepreneurs Edison Lim, 32, and Max Chua, 32. They are joined by Shum Jia Jia, 31, who focuses on branding and marketing, and former intern (in a previous tech company they owned) turned partner Zenn Yo, 28.
Given such diverse and broad skill sets, the LeJiu team has also transferred their multidimensional approach to their menu. Mix and match, albeit with the craft and care of a professional mixologist.
For instance, Lim shares that LeJiu’s take on “Liong Cha is a delicate infusion of jasmine tea, soju and white Moscato, crowned with a splash of soda. It acts as a stress-buster, offering a light and refreshing escape from a hectic day.”
Galaxy employs white Moscato again, but pairs it with lemon juice and an infusion of butterfly pea flower. Another popular drink, Dark Knight seamlessly blends pineapple, honey and red wine.
Lim shares, “The name LeJiu is derived from the Mandarin phrase 樂久 (lè jiǔ), which translates to ‘longevity in happiness.’ We emphasise a lifestyle-centric approach, envisioning LeJiu as more than just a beverage choice, but a reflection of a joyful and enduring way of living.”
When the concept of cocktail or wine-based beverages is mentioned, this can conjure images of hard liquor. Lim understands this and takes a different tack.
“Our initial vision was centred on creating drinks that are not only easy to consume,” he says, “but also cater to a broad spectrum of customers, including those who seldom indulge in alcoholic beverages.”
To achieve this, LeJiu enlisted the expertise of professional mixologists. Lim says, “Our mixologists, after comprehending our vision, curated a unique menu that ... are approachable and refreshing, appealing even to those with limited exposure to alcoholic beverages.”
LeJiu’s cocktail business model might seem quite different at first glance but Lim insists that it, in fact, closely resembles the traditional beverage industry.
He explains, “When we talk about beverage brands, the first thing that comes into our mind when we think of these beverage categories such as milk tea (e.g. Tealive), coffee (e.g. Zus), and tea series (e.g. Chagee). However, we’ve identified a gap in the market when it comes to alcoholic drinks.”
Observing the dearth of a standout brand that readily comes to mind, Lim and his partners recognised an opportunity to bridge the gap by carving a niche for themselves in the market.
He says, “We acknowledge the challenges, especially in a country with diverse ethnicities and stringent regulations. Stepping into the niche and regulated alcoholic beverage industry might be intimidating for some, but competing in an oversaturated market poses its own set of challenges.”
As a relatively new player, Lim notes that the LeJiu team had to be flexible and responsive to market dynamics, even with encouraging feedback from customers and a high rate of return business.
He says, “Building a brand that resonates deeply with customers has proven to be a formidable challenge... with well-established beverage brands backed by substantial advertising budgets. By focusing on providing users with high-quality and innovative content, this allows us to compete effectively without the need for extensive financial resources.”
When it comes to coffee-based options, two of LeJiu’s top picks are their Winericano and Winevibe.
Lim shares, “Winericano blends red wine with a good kick of caffeine, creating a mildly sour coffee delight—perfect for those who enjoy a tangy twist. Meanwhile, Winevibe combines espresso, Bailey's flavour and soju for a robust and intoxicating experience. Be prepared to catch a bit of a buzz with this one!”
Besides drinks, LeJiu also offers bagels in a trio of flavours: original, cheese and onion. These are perfect for enjoying with their coffee-based offerings such as the Winericano. Fresh shots of espresso, pulled by in-house baristas, are used rather than premixed coffee.
While many customers grab the drinks and bagels to go, there is something to be said for savouring LeJiu’s delights slowly in the shop, which has a vibrant, verdant vibe. Refreshing, indeed!
No. 7-1, Block D2, Jalan PJU 1/39, Dataran Prima, PJ
Open Mon-Sat 8am-7pm, Sun closed (CNY off dates: Feb 9 to 13)
Phone: 011-5401 6965
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