Introduction to Beer Blizzard’s Innovative Cooling Solution
It was such a simple and straightforward idea that one could be forgiven for wondering how nobody had ever thought of it before. But for Mike Robb and Tom “Ozzy” Osborne the challenge was a serious one, and one which had given cause for much reflection and concern. In a nutshell, how best to keep the beer in the can or the bottle cold right down to the very last drop.
The Birth of Beer Blizzard: A Cool Solution for Beer Lovers
It was an unlikely, laid back presentation – branded vest and shorts and with tinnies in hand – but the budding entrepreneurs were seriously defensive when asked whether their product would be equally effective at cooling other, non-alcoholic drinks.
It was not something to which they’d given, nor were prepared to give, any meaningful consideration. This was strictly a beer thing.
Not that these two guys were anybody’s fools. By day, Tom was a food safety executive and Mike an attorney. But as proud partners in the Beer Blizzard venture they reveled in their roles as CEO and CRIC (Chief Redneck in Charge) respectively.
Their no-nonsense product was a plastic ice cube containing a hydra gel which froze more quickly and more effectively than water, designed so as to fit neatly into the concave base of the beer can and held in place with a koozie (one of which was thoughtfully provided as an extra with every pack of cubes).
Presenting to Shark Tank, the two entrepreneurs were asking for $100,000 in return for 20% equity in their company.
Beer Blizzard on Shark Tank: A Pitch to Remember
Investor Lori Greiner must have been quite taken aback when the duo rejected her offer of the full $100,000 for a 20% stake in favor of a decidedly inferior one from Mark Cuban, who had insisted upon a 25% share. The explanation given was Mike had a “man crush” on Mark, possibly arising from the masculine culture with which beer is often associated.
Two of the investors meanwhile did not allow such a thing as a crush to persuade them to part with their money. Robert Herjavec saw it as an unserious product which was more akin to a promotion than a business, whilst Daymond John was scared off by what he perceived as a lack of full-time commitment on the parts of the inventors.
Beer Blizzard’s Founders: From Concept to Reality
Who are the Founders?
Tom and Mike certainly had energy and passion when it came to their love for beer. They launched the project with a Kickstarter campaign, raising $43,500 despite the fact that they had been privately hoping for just $5,000. But they were keen to acquire bigger backing from the Sharks in order to develop a full-time fulfillment center and secure logistics.
They believed that expanding would enable them to diversify their range as well as improving profit margins on their existing product.
The Financial Journey of Beer Blizzard on Shark Tank
The applicants tore up the rule book by rejecting a superior offer in favor of one from an investor whose backing they were more keen on. Following their presentation they accepted an investment of $100,000 from Mark Cuban, for which they gave him a 25% stake in the company.
But the record shows that in the event the deal was never sealed. As is so often the case, the inventors did benefit from an upsurge in business as a consequence of their appearance on the show and for a while their product was being sold at Walmart, Target and 7-Eleven. Nevertheless, they had before long returned to Kickstarter as a source of funding.
The Aftermath of Shark Tank for Beer Blizzard
Beer Blizzard did enjoy a burst of popularity, the magic cubes and associated add-ons being available for purchase from several leading retail outlets as well as online through Amazon. Meanwhile the entrepreneurs continued to maintain a thriving social media presence to boost their brand still further.
But for whatever reason the business ran its course, the social media accounts were taken down and the item was withdrawn from Amazon. Beer Blizzard no longer appears to be in business. However many similar products, in some cases similarly named, are still widely available.
Understanding the Beer Blizzard Product
The concept couldn’t have been simpler, but it required two ardent beer enthusiasts and a touch of genius to bring it to fruition. A set of small plastic cubes specially designed to fit into the small of a beer can and held in place by a cover ensured that the drink remained cold throughout, no matter how warm the conditions outside. A koozie was helpfully provided as part of the package to complete the process with one solitary purchase.
In spite of their unwillingness to embrace the notion, the product could be used with equal effectiveness to retain the coolness of soft drinks as well. And, unlike actual ice cubes, they could be used repeatedly and didn’t have the unwelcome side effect of watering down one’s beer.
The popularity of the product is evident from the number of imitations still on the market, which would appear to have survived the demise of the company.
The Legacy of Beer Blizzard in the Beverage Industry
Some time after their appearance on Shark Tank, Tom and Mike would seem now to have returned to their day jobs. Mike is pursuing his career as an attorney, albeit moving from Salvinis, Kane & Gallucci to become a partner at Bailey & Glasser, whilst Tom was president and chief operating officer at BioWALL.
Although Beer Blizzard turned out not to have been a long-term success, the effectiveness of their invention was acknowledged by at least two of the Sharks, and the way in which the idea has been taken up by other companies is testimony indeed to the fact that there is a market for beer-cooling hydra gel.