BEERMKR Before Shark Tank
BEERMKR is a home beer-making kit that was created by Aaron Walls and Brett Vegas. The two initially started the company, then called BrewJacket, as a class project with a few others while attending Cornell University for their MBAs. They realized that there was a big hole in the market and decided to do something about it themselves. The goal was to make an “idiot-proof” homebrewing machine that’s small enough not to take up space on the kitchen counter and easy enough for the most basic homebrewer to use.
It took them several years of research and development but the project eventually moved forward. However, they soon found themselves in need of funds. They subsequently launched a Kickstarter campaign, which successfully raised more than $398,000, which helped bring the beer brewing kit to life. With that, they were able to finally begin the manufacturing process.
And by the holiday season of 2020, they had started to ship out the first units, all of which came with detailed instructions for the brewing process.
It was during that same year that they decided to pitch their product on Shark Tank on a whim. The whole process took several months as there were multiple auditions involved but they were eventually invited to California to film for the show. Their segment was later included in season twelve, which aired in 2021.
BEERMKR On Shark Tank
Aaron and Brett introduce themselves as soon as they’re in the tank. They let the sharks know they’re seeking $500,000 in exchange for 2 percent in their company, BEERMKR. The sharks immediately respond to the high valuation.
They immediately jump into their pitch by talking about ice-cold craft beer. However, Brett notes that people aren’t making their own beer at home because it’s not easy. Aaron adds that it takes a lot of time, experience, and expertise and that sometimes it can take several weeks just for the final product to taste terrible. Gesturing toward the table beside them, they explain that that’s why they created the BEERMKR.
Continuing, they tell the sharks that it’s the world’s first all-in-one countertop craft-brewing appliance that anybody can use. The sharks are seemingly excited about the product, especially Mark who is all smiles.
Aaron and Brett demonstrate how the appliance works as they want them to know “just how easy it is to use.” Opening the front of the BEERMKR, Brett explains that you start by connecting the bag to the machine. From there, you open it all up and pour the grain inside. The next step is to fill the entire machine with water, close the lid, and press the button on the front. Over the next 24 hours, the BEERMKR will then bring the temperature up inside the machine, and mash the grains and liquid together to create wort, a sugary liquid.
He explains that the machine will also send a notification to your phone when the process is finished and it’s time to add in the yeast. To do that, you simply have to open the machine and pull out the basket of spent grain. From here, you can put in your yeast and hops. All that’s left then is to close the machine back up and press the button on the front.
Brett explains that over the next five to seven days, the BEERMKR will automatically control the pressure and temperature inside the unit and that when the process is finished, it’ll send another notification telling you to tap your beer. To do that, Brett explains, you have to remove the bag of clean fermented beer, bring it over to the beer tap, which is included in the package, install the bag of beer inside the beer tap, screw in the CO2 cartridge that comes with the kit, and that cold, carbonated beer will be ready a day later.
Kevin asks whether or not the entire process takes nine days. Brett says it depends on the recipe as they’re all different. Kevin is quick to say that there’s a problem with that but the other sharks disagree.
Before they talk about the valuation, Brett invites the sharks to try some of their beer.
Before she goes up for a sample, however, Lori asks about the number of beers that the machine can make. Brett says it makes a 12-pack of beer and that each MKR kit cost $15.
With that, the sharks begin to taste the beers, starting with their Future IPA. Guest shark Alex notes that it has a bite to it while Lori says she likes the taste. Next, they try the Ghost Wheat and Redwood IPA. Kevin likes the latter and gives it a 9 out of 10, but states once again that he disagrees with their valuation.
Aaron and Brett reassure him that they will talk about their valuation late.r
Next, the sharks try the Chubby Stout, which Lori really likes.
Barbara asks the pair how they got into the home brewing business. Aaron tells her they both love beer and that he himself, has been a home brewer for 15 years. He tells her they met at Cornell University, where they were in business school together, and that they had actually started the company as an assignment for their entrepreneurship class.
Mark asks them to break down the numbers for him. Aaron tells him the BEERMKR costs $375 to make and that they sell it for $499. Mark asks if the price includes the first batch of consumables and they tell him yes. Seconds later, he questions their pricing as “there’s no margin.”
Brett explains that they actually have two revenue streams: the machine and the MKR kit, and that their price is low because they want as many people as possible to have the machine at home. Mark says it’s fine and notes that they’re going into the consumables. Continuing, Aaron says it costs them $9 to $10 per ingredient kit and that at scale, they can get it down to $7 per kit.
Mark asks if they have a subscription model or if the customers just reorder. Brett says they’re encouraging their users to go into a subscription system. Asked how much it costs, they tell him it’s $15 per 12-pack.
Barbara asks about the retention rate of their subscriptions. Aaron reveals they’re not there yet, which makes Kevin question if they’re shipping the product yet. Aaron says yes. Before he can continue, Brett takes over and says they did a Kickstarter in 2018 and that they’re currently delivering 1,200 of those units in the next two weeks.
Kevin asks how many units they’ve shipped so far. Aaron tells him they’ve shipped about 24 units so far, which makes Kevin once again question their valuation. The other sharks laugh.
Mark asks how much money they managed to raise for the business. They tell him they’ve raised about $3 million so far. Barbara notes that it makes no sense to her as they have virtually no sales and no proof of concept, and immediately goes out.
Brett defends by saying they do have a proof of concept as they sold 1,000 units in one month via Kickstarter.
Barbara, however, doesn’t like the fact that they haven’t delivered any of the products yet as that means they haven’t received any customer feedback.
While Lori likes the taste of the beer, she agrees with Barbara on how the product is not yet in the consumers’ hands. Noting the uncertainty in the business, she goes out.
Mark feels what they’re doing is “right on” but is concerned with their margins as they’re so low. He also says it will be expensive for them to retain customers and that even if their valuation is correct, it will be hard for them to generate enough profits to give him a return. Citing those reasons, he also goes out.
Aaron immediately tries to address the issues that he pointed out, however, he is quickly shut down by Barbara, who reiterates the fact that he’s out.
Guest shark Alex goes on to offer them some advice; he tells them they have to make the business attractive for them as investors to make money. He goes on to criticize their high valuation, which he says, immediately turned five of them off. Citing that “he doesn’t know what [they] don’t know”, he also goes out.
With that, everyone looks at Kevin, who is the only shark remaining. He makes everyone laugh by saying that he is a reasonable man who likes to give to entrepreneurs. He also praises the taste of their beer, which the other sharks agree to. Calling himself an alcohol connoisseur, he makes everyone laugh again by saying that his inner instinct is to eviscerate them. However, he tells them that he won’t. Rather, he wants to encapsulate their “ridiculous valuation” but still be partners with them.
Mark immediately suggests royalties. To everyone’s surprise, however, he pushes that idea aside. Instead, he offers them $500,000 at nine percent interest as well as four percent equity. He tells them they should be able to afford the debt if they have the numbers that they say they do.
Mark says it’s not a bad deal.
Kevin tells them to “seriously consider it” as they’re not going to get an offer from anybody else.
Aaron thinks about it for a second before countering with two percent equity.
Kevin says he’ll meet them at the middle at three percent.
Aaron reveals they’re very worried about the working-capital implications of his offer. Kevin says they will never agree with the valuation and do not want to fight them on it.
Alex jumps in and says $500,000 at 9 percent interest is $3,750 a month. He asks if they feel they can cover that amount. Before they can reply, however, both Kevin and Alex notes that it’s not a lot of money.
Aaron says they can cover the $3,750 a month but that they may have issues paying back the $500,000 afterward. Kevin defends his pitch by saying that they will have a partner that millions of people know.
After thinking about it for a moment, the friends ultimately decline Kevin’s offer, saying that they’re not comfortable with the debt portion.
BEERMKR Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
The day their segment aired, they launched a crowdfunding campaign on Start Engine, which promised perks to those who contributed including gift cards and bonuses. With the help of 106 investors, they were eventually able to raise more than $129,000, which helped to move the manufacturing process forward.
As of 2023, BEERMKR is still in business. While they don’t have any beer-brewing machines that are ready to ship (they are currently sold out), they do have a waitlist for those who are interested in making a purchase.
According to their website, their next inventory refresh will be in the summer of 2023. Those who would like to join the waitlist can do so by clicking on the yellow “Notify Me When Available” button on their product page. And like before, each machine also comes with one BEERTAP, Brewing Enzymes, Clarifier, and MKRKIT of your choice.
There are currently six types to choose from:
Future IPA: Contains huge amounts of Mosaic, El Dorado, and Citra for citrus and tropical aromatics. Grain-to-glass time of nine days. ABV of 6.3 percent.
Chubby Stout: Notes of oak and cherry due to the combo of dark roast malt and caramels. Grain-to-glass time is twelve days. ABV of 7.3 percent
Ghost Wheat: Very clean wheat ale with a lemon focus. Grain-to-glass time of around ten days. ABV of 5.3 percent
Squeaky Kolsch: A summer seasonal that features a very light body with a classic aromatic profile. Grain-to-glass time is ten days. ABV of 5.3 percent
Redwood IPA: Copper body with resinous and piny hops. Grain-to-glass time is 12 days. ABV of 7.8 percent
Summer Seltzer: Summer seasonal that’s great for the pool. ABV of 4.6 percent.