ARKEG Before Shark Tank – Inspiration from a Bottle.
Brant Myers and Dan Grimm became firm friends during their high school days together in San Luis Obispo, California. Sharing many common interests, the friends roomed together at college and spent plenty of free time combining their love of gaming with another one of their favorite activities, drinking beer.
One night, possibly during a particularly long drinking session, Brant had the visionary idea of combining their arcade machine with their kegerator to create an entirely new and exciting product, he called it The ARKEG.
If every idea that fluttered through the mind of a bleary-eyed drinker at three in the morning came to fruition it would be an exciting, and possibly quite dangerous World. Usually such wildly creative thoughts would be buried beneath waves of pain and regret the following day and that was probably for the best. Brant and Dan however, had something that made them different, they had manufacturing and electrical knowledge, they had tools and they loved to tinker with things.
So, against all the odds, Brant’s late night flash of inspiration eventually became the ARKEG, the combined arcade machine and kegerator. This unlikely result eventually led them to appear before the sharks to seek additional funding for their business.
ARKEG On Shark Tank
When Brant and Dan appeared on Shark Tank in early 2013 they were seeking $100,000 for a 33% stake in their company. The gravelly voiced Dan started his relaxed pitch by reminiscing back to the long, happy nights the friends had spent in college. Describing the many hours they had passed drinking and playing games, and the pleasure they had derived from both. Brant then described the moment of inspiration when he had originally conceived the idea for the ARKEG, he described how it felt like a light-bulb had turned on inside his head at the time.
The entrepreneurial drinkers had a display stand containing an arcade machine and a kegerator, which if you’re unfamiliar with the device, is a fridge converted into a beer-tap. The stand began to slowly turn as Dan proudly declared ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce to you what has been called the greatest invention of all time, the ARKEG!’.
The stand continued revolving slowly for a second or two before the ingenuity of the product was fully revealed to the sharks, everyone waited patiently. Perhaps the sharks were unimpressed with the concept, or perhaps they were just expertly hiding their excitement, it was hard to tell.
Finally the stand stopped turning and the ARKEG was revealed in all its glory. It was simple, it was functional, it was an arcade machine with a tap on the side.
‘Oh Lord!’ said Mark Cuban, breaking the silence.
Pitching the versatility of the product, Brant explained that the ARKEG came with a selection of beers, but it was also pre-loaded with a selection of the most popular classic arcade games.
Brant uncovered a second ARKEG next to him, ‘It doesn’t just pour beer, how about a glass of wine after a long day?’ he suggested.
Robert Herjavec turned to Kevin O’Leary, ‘That’s how you drink your wine Kevin, from a tap.’ he joked.
But the pitch wasn’t over yet, ‘How about some root beer for the kids?’ Brant continued.
Dan joined in with ‘Have one in your family-room, one in your game-room and one in your man-cave.’ .
Lori Greiner giggled, although whether it was the ARKEG or Dan’s use of the word ‘man-cave’ that caused her to do it remained unclear.
‘Who wants a drink?’ asked Brant, finishing up the pitch. He was wearing a shirt that looked like he had slept in it after a few drinks himself, it wasn’t the most businesslike pitch the sharks had ever seen.
‘Guys, you’re going to need a drink when you try to sell these.’ said Mark Cuban smiling, but the smile disappeared quickly. Mark was completely uninterested in the idea and he wasted no more time. He waved his hand dismissively and confirmed ‘I’m out.’ with barely a pause.
‘Wow, that’s a record.’ said Robert, and it was. Brant looked shocked momentarily at the speed of Mark’s rejection. He took a sip of his beer to regain his composure.
Robert asked Mark whether it was the beer or the game that had put him off. ‘It was both, I just don’t see it, sorry guys.’ explained Mark.
Kevin O’Leary wasn’t sure whether the pitch was actually sincere up to that point ‘Are you serious with this?’ he asked.
Brant and Dan looked uncomfortable for a moment with their drinks in hand before Brant confidently replied. ‘Absolutely. Its a great product.’.
Robert asked how much the ARKEG sold for. Slightly less enthusiastically Brant told him, ‘Four thousand retail.’ he admitted.
The sharks looked surprised. Lori’s eyes widened.
‘Have you sold any?’ asked Kevin. Dan confirmed that they had sold 20 units so far.
Daymond spoke up now ‘You come in here, you’re very rude,’ he began, Dan and Brant looked uncomfortable. Daymond continued ‘You haven’t even offered me a drink.’ and everyone laughed.
Clearly more comfortable now alcohol was the main subject again Dan apologized and offered the sharks a drink.
Daymond wanted to try the ARKEG for himself and got up to pour his own drink.
Lori tried some wine and Kevin seemed impressed with the selection of a Californian Pinot Noir, he was enthusiastic about trying the ARKEG from an end-user viewpoint at least.
Lori also liked the wine, but she didn’t like the ARKEG. She saw the product as a gimmick and she wasn’t interested in the business. With that quick explanation, Lori joined Mark in dropping out of the negotiations.
Robert Herjavec was next. He admitted to having a room full of arcade games where he had spent plenty of time as a younger man with his friends, but he revealed he hadn’t been in that room in eight years. He saw no future for the bulky and expensive ARKEG and he was out too.
It came as no real surprise to Dan and Brant that the stylish and debonair Daymond John was unimpressed with such a bulky entertainment system. The trend for games and leisure was towards smaller, sleeker hand held systems these days and he saw the ARKEG as a ‘Dinosaur’. Having made his opinion of the ARKEG crystal clear, Daymond dropped out too.
Kevin was the last remaining shark involved but he didn’t follow the trend immediately. He threw the entrepreneurs a bone of hope by suggesting that not all businesses were destined to be huge, he just preferred to invest in ones that were.
Dan, sensing possibly the only real opportunity offered to them, made a last-minute appeal to Kevin directly. He stressed that with Kevin’s capital supporting the manufacturing process, the final retail cost could be reduced enough to get the ARKEG into big box stores.
‘Its a high end refrigerator’ said Kevin, before suggesting that no woman would want the product in their homes even though their husbands might like the idea of it.
Brant made a final effort to win Kevin over, ‘Actually we get a lot of wives buy them for their husbands.’ he claimed slightly unconvincingly.
‘I appreciated the wine, its actually quite good.’. Kevin said pleasantly.
‘Thank you.’ said Brant, looking nervous
But Kevin continued with less positive news, ‘I’m going to take a pass, I’m out.’ he concluded, leaving the duo without any offers at all.
As the unsuccessful Dan and Brant left the Shark Tank, Kevin commented ‘Only on Shark Tank would you see that kind of insanity.’, and the other sharks seemed to agree.
ARKEG Now in 2018 – What Happened After Shark Tank?
Brant and Dan were disappointed after the show that they had not achieved a deal with the sharks but remained positive. They stated that they still got to do what they loved, still made money and still owned 100% of their business.
Unfortunately, three years later, it seems that there wasn’t enough interest in the ARKEG for the company to continue operating. In May 2015, the pair began offering their business for sale. There didn’t seem to be any interested buyers by November 2015 when activity from the company seems to have stopped. The whole business had been put up for sale at just $11,500, that price included one complete ARKEG machine, the parts to make another eight and the full intellectual property rights. When someone inquired about patents, the ARKEG Facebook page confirmed that patents were still only pending.
The business has disappeared since then and the website has long since expired. All of the companies social media accounts had been regularly updated but in November 2015 they fell permanently quiet. An indication of how much effort the duo put into getting their product sold is reflected in the large amount of online retailers who link back to the companies website after quirky, but generally positive reviews of the product. Unfortunately, any potential customer who read a review and wanted to purchase an ARKEG now would be unable to find one for sale online.
The product did receive a large amount of praise from those few people who actually decided to buy one and there are a few proud ARKEG owners out there happily showing off what is now a rare and unobtainable item. Unfortunately it seems that it was an idea that came at least a decade too late for mass commercial appeal. Although it was an original item and a fun concept for Dan and Brant, the shark tank proved to be a sobering affair for them both.