Everyone needs a break from the daily grind once in a while. For Beer Blizzard founders Tom Osborne and Mike Robb, nothing spelled relaxation quite like a getaway in the great outdoors. And while they enjoyed their time away from the office, they found there was one thing that kept crashing the party: warm beer. Nothing kills a buzz faster than 80-degree beer in a sun-warmed can.
Tom and Mike put their inventive and resourceful minds together and worked to come up with a solution that would keep their beers cold, even when away from a refrigerator. With months of trial, error, and a good amount of beer drinking, they came up with the Beer Blizzard. The uniquely shaped hydra-gel cube froze quicker than water and stayed frozen for longer. It fits perfectly within the rounded insert at the bottom of any aluminum can and brings a warm beverage to an ice-cold temperature within minutes. And the best part? It stays cold to the last sip.
They were excited about the possibility of solving a problem worldwide. Beer is consumed everywhere in the world, and no matter if you’re in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or somewhere in Brazil, the cans are all shaped the same. So a solution for one beer drinker is a solution for all beer drinkers.
The Beer Blizzard was a huge success at the Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) in 2014, winning a Gold Medal in the Technical Design category. After seeing the attention they were getting from their product, they decided to turn to Kickstarter, aiming to raise $5,000 to fund 10,000 units. Within three days, they reached their goal. Their crowdfunding campaign ended with over 2,000 people pledging over $43,000. They knew they were onto something big.
Beer Blizzard on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 7 Episode 25
Tom and Mike’s visit to Shark Tank was a warm welcome. Their casual and charming demeanor won the Sharks over from the moment they arrived. They came to the Shark Tank stage dressed in jeans and Beer Blizzard t-shirts. They wanted to be their authentically casual selves, sharing their story of battling warm beer. Mike presented himself as the CEO and CRIC (Chief Redneck in Charge) and exclaimed that as an expert in beer, “warm beer sucks!”
They demonstrated how the Beer Blizzard fits perfectly into the little dome-shaped gap at the bottom of a beer can (or any other carbonated beverage). Thanks to the Beer Blizzard, no one would ever have to suffer from room temperature or warm beer, again. The Sharks broke into laughter as Tom and Mike exclaimed, “America, you’re welcome!” in unison.
They gave each of the Sharks a sample beer to taste. While Lori didn’t taste hers with as much enthusiasm as the others, she did ask how effective the Beer Blizzard is at keeping a beverage cold. Tom confirmed that testing in a lab proved that the product kept beers cold for 21 minutes longer in conditions that would leave a beer warm within minutes.
Kevin O’Leary asked about patents, which Mike confirmed were pending on their design and utility. The pair also confirmed that the gel they used would freeze longer than water, but they didn’t want to give up too much information on that yet.
Lori also asked if they would consider broadening their market to cover all carbonated drinks. But the Beer Blizzard pair said they wanted to keep their product in the world of beer drinkers. After all, their experience gave them the expertise to know that beer drinkers are most particular about their drink temperature.
Robert Herjavec pointed out the “As seen on TV” packaging on the Beer Blizzard and asked what that was a reference to. Tom admitted he and Mike were drinking when they came up with the idea: they were milking their upcoming appearance on Shark Tank. Again, the Sharks broke into laughter. Clearly, their pitch was going well.
Tom and Mark were asking for $100,000 in exchange for 20% of the business. When asked what they would use the money for, they said they would put it toward increasing inventory and manufacturing runs, therefore increasing their profits. They were also hoping for one of the Sharks to help them break into retail sales.
Mark Cuban saw the potential in their product. And even though he didn’t think they would make millions, he ended up giving an offer of $100,000 in exchange for 25% of the business. Lori interrupted him and offered exactly what Tom and Mike were asking for: $100,000 for 20%.
With two offers on the table, Tom and Mike asked for a moment to consider. Mark laughed and told them there was nothing to think about; Lori was giving them the better offer. While he was ready to back down, Tom cut him off, saying they were flattered by her offer. But when it came down to it, Mike had a “man-crush” on Mark, so they had to accept his offer. After all, how can you compete with a “man-crush”?
Life for Beer Blizzard after Shark Tank
Beer Blizzard was hugely successful in the immediate aftermath of their Shark Tank appearance. In the wake of their Shark Tank debut, Tom and Mike initially saw sales of their Beer Blizzard skyrocket. Their disc “ice cubes” landed on the shelves in Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and several other retail stores. Beer Blizzard’s charming founders continued for years afterward to reach many of their goals, including creating new products for their website, such as an army man bottle opener.
But years later – after talks of a deal with Dale Earnhardt, Jr and even some practical applications for the military fell through – it would seem that Beer Blizzard has gone flat.
The company’s Twitter page hasn’t posted since June of 2018, and their website (beerblizzard.com) no longer exists, routing instead to an empty domain placeholder.
All we can say is – it was fun while it lasted, Beer Blizzard. Cheers to you.
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