BottleKeeper Before Shark Tank
BottleKeeper is the brainchild of Matt Campbell. One fateful summer day, he was lounging on the beach with his Uncle Van when they realized that the beer in their red party cups was warm. The taste of “piping hot suds” quickly killed the mood, which led them to wonder about possible solutions.
Thus, the two began brainstorming ideas; their goal was to come up with a way to enjoy the cool refreshing taste of beer without having to slam it down within three minutes.
It was then that a lightbulb flashed above Matt’s head. He figured that they could leave the beer in the bottle and put it in something insulated so that it would be kept cold. If anything, the concept was similar to stainless steel water bottles. Thus, BottleKeeper was born.
They launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2013, which successfully raised more than $13,900. With that, they were able to produce the first batch of BottleKeepers. The first orders were eventually sent out in January 2014.
However, they eventually ran into some issues, which caused them to lose half of their first inventory order. As it is, their painted bottles had come back just over the legal limits for lead paint, despite having been told by their manufacturer that the paint was “lead-free”.
Not wanting to destroy the product, which would have very likely put them out of business, they bought a commercial paint stripper and stripped the paint off themselves. Fortunately, it worked out and they were able to sell the newly cleaned units as a stainless steel option.
Wanting to take things to the next level, they decided to audition for Shark Tank. The process took several weeks and consisted of a number of interviews but it was worth the effort. At the end of the day, they received the call that they would be featured in the tenth season.
Bottlekeeper on Shark Tank
Matt Campbell and Adam Callinan, cousins, and best friends, walk into the tank and introduce themselves as the founders of BottleKeeper, which is based in El Segundo, California. They then surprise the sharks by saying they’re seeking $1 million in exchange for 5 percent of their company.
With that, Adam begins their pitch by saying there’s an epidemic- one that’s been plaguing humans for centuries. “maybe even decades.” He jokingly adds that it’ll only get worse with global warming before revealing that the epidemic is warm beer.
However, he states there’s no need to fret as they’ve come up with the perfect solution. Continuing from where his cousin had left off, Matt explains that it all started one fateful summer day when the beer that they were trying to enjoy became hot in minutes. He tells the sharks that’s when it hit him- the idea of putting a bottle of beer into an insulated stainless steel bottle so that the beverage would be kept cold.
Walking over to their display, they pull off a piece of cloth to reveal the BottleKeeper. Holding one of them in his hand, Adam describes it as an innovative stainless steel bottle before demonstrating how it works by inserting a beer bottle inside and locking the base. He also adds that it comes with a “fancy-schmancy bottle opener that’s built into the top”, which allows users to enjoy the beer directly from the BottleKeeper.
With the pitch over, Adam hands each of the sharks their very own BottleKeeper. Lori is quick to say that she likes the bottle opener while the others examine the product.
As some of the sharks take a drink, Matt explains that their bottle will also protect the inner bottle so that it won’t break, even if they accidentally drop it on the ground. Wanting to demonstrate the point, he invites guest shark Alex Rodriguez to throw a ball at one of the many BottleKeepers that are lined up at the front.
Alex immediately gets into position and throws the ball, causing several of the BottleKeepers to tumble onto the floor. Matt picks one of them up and shows the sharks that the glass bottle is still completely intact.
Mr. Wonderful changes the topic and asks about the $20 million valuation that they’ve given to their company. He notes that it’s “aggressive, even for shark tank” and states that he is excited to hear about their sales.
Adam reveals that they’ve done more than $1 million in sales in the last ten days, which surprises all of the sharks. Continuing, he says they’ve done more than $20 million in the last three years.
Mark questions whether or not they actually need an investor with those numbers. Adam explains that it’s their first time working on a business like this- “scaling things.” Matt adds that they’ve taken no outside investment, having bootstrapped everything themselves, which he feels, is preventing the company from reaching its full potential.
Mark asks about their margins. Matt says their gross margins are at 90 percent, which once again, surprises the sharks. However, he goes on to reveal that their average net income is only about 10 percent as they’re spending a lot of money in marketing.
Adam points out that they have the capacity to grow a lot faster. Before he can continue, however, Lori states she’s confused why there would be an issue with the company’s growth and questions what the problem is.
Mark asks about the product’s cost. Adam says they sell the BottleKeeper for $34.99 and that their problem is that they need an influx of capital as they’re currently putting everything out of the net back into the company. He also points out that more than 3,000 retail stores across the United States are on a waitlist to purchase their product.
Lori asks how much it costs to make the product. Matt tells her $3.50.
Mark asks whether or not the BottleKeeper is only available online. Adam answers yes and elaborates that they’re completely direct-to-consumer, with 15 percent of their sales coming in through Amazon.
Asked whether or not they have a patent, they say they have multiple patents, including a utility patent.
Alex asks about their net profits. Adam says they’ve grossed $9 million and have netted $400,000. The sharks are perplexed by the numbers.
Mark asks where all of the money is going. They tell him they spent a significant amount on IP enforcement. Elaborating, Matt says they have a very strategic but expensive IP defense.
Mark asks about the exact amount that they spent, to which they tell him they spent half a million dollars.
Next, Lori asks about the amount that they’ve spent on marketing. Adam tells her Facebook is their primary channel, where they spend more than 90 percent of their revenue dollars. Asked about the exact number, they reveal they’ve spent close to $4 million on Facebook.
Alex asks why they haven’t worked with influencers. Adam explains that Facebook has always performed for them.
Kevin is struggling to understand their $20 million company valuation. Adam says they’ve had a discussion with an investment bank that specializes in the drinkware space, who valued their company at four times gross revenue. The sharks are skeptical about the idea.
While Kevin praises them for their accomplishments so far, he can’t get behind their valuation. Adam defends by saying their goal is to build and continue to build a durable brand.
Barbara agrees with Kevin and can’t get behind their high legal fees and marketing fees. Before Adam can explain further, however, she goes out.
Mark notes that it’s a “schmutz deal” as there are no upsides for them; that even if they sell for $20 million, they will only break even. Saying that they didn’t price the product in a way that accommodates the risk and reward, he also goes out.
Matt and Adam’s attention turns to Kevin, who says they only need to money to launch into the retail market. The pair disagree and say that they also want the strategic partnership. Noting that he loves money and cash flow, Kevin offers them $250,000 for 10 percent and $750,000 as a line of credit at 11 percent interest.
Alex suggests that he and Kevin go in together and offers $500,000 for 20 percent, in addition to another $500,000 as a line of credit at 11 percent interest. Kevin agrees to the idea.
Barbara notes that they don’t look too excited about the offer. Adam states that the jump from 5 percent to 20 percent is beyond what they’re willing to go.
Lori asks if they’re willing to go down to 10 percent. Just as she’s about to make an offer, however, Mark taps on her shoulders and whispers some words to her, to which she says “interesting.” She goes on to offer them $1 million with a $3-per-unit royalty until she gets double her money back, in addition to 3 percent of the company.
Matt isn’t excited about the offer and says they’re already facing cash crunches. However, Lori defends himself by saying that $1 million is a lot of money.
Adam makes her a counteroffer of $1 million for 3 percent and a dollar per unit until she gets $1.5 million back.
Mark shares a glance with Lori and says he’ll do it if they raise the 3 percent to 5 percent.
Adam and Matt ask if they’re willing to work together on a deal and asks if they’re willing to do 5 percent with a royalty of $1.50 per unit until they get the $1.5 million back. Lori says they’ll do it for a royalty of $2 per unit but Mark disagrees and says they’ll do it for $1.50 per unit until they get $2 million back.
Adam and Matt agree to the deal. The rest of the sharks congratulate the pair while Lori and Mark exchange handshakes and hugs with the entrepreneurs.
BottleKeeper Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
As far as we can tell, the deal with Mark and Lori never closed. Being on the show, however, did give them a huge boost in sales. Within a few days, they had sold more than $1 million worth of BottleKeepers.
As they had mentioned on the show, they also eventually got into the retail market. For example, the product is now available in The Paper Store, Sur La Tab, Meijer, and Ace, as well as many independent retailers across the United States.
Since their appearance on the show, they’ve also launched three new products including the CanKeeper, the Pint Keeper, and the ChillKeeper.
The CanKeeper: A double-walled and vacuum-insulated bottle that’s designed to keep canned beverages cold for hours. Comes with a “fancy shmancy lid” that’s designed to keep the cold in and a sweatproof exterior. Available in many colors and designs. $39.99.
The PintKeeper: A full 20oz double-walled and vacuum-insulated tumbler that features a padded non-slip base and a wide-mouth lid. Can be used for beer, water, coffee, tea, and other beverages. Available in a number of colors. $29.99.
The ChillKeeper: A waterproof soft-pack cooler that’s available in two sizes- one that fits 16 cans and one that fits 32 cans. Comes with external magnetic pockets that can be used to hold two CanKeepers and or BottleKeepers. $199.99 for the 16-can version and $249.99 for the 32-can version.
In addition to that, they also have a “Custom Shop” where individuals can order their products with full-color custom printing or laser engraving.
Various accessories are also available on their website. For example, you can get spare parts (e.g. extra openers, caps, lids, bottom pads, liners), t-shirts, hats, and decals.
For those who are interested, you can visit their site at bottlekeeper.com. They currently offer free shipping on all orders above $41. They also have an Amazon store, though not all of their products are in stock. In fact, the selection is quite limited.
Having said that, the BottleKeeper has received many positive reviews on the site. If anything, a majority of customers are satisfied with the product, with many saying that it works exactly as it should. People also seem like the fact that the bottle is discrete, which allows them to hide alcohol beverages during the day.
However, there have also been quality issues where the top does not seal the bottle. Several users have also written that the inside liner has come loose.