Where Is Sap! Maple From Shark Tank Today?

According to the Sap! website, when cousins Chas Smith and Nikita Salmon started their company, they wanted to create a product that accomplished two important goals: promote the maple industry and honor the landscape of Vermont. And thus, Sap! Maple Soda was born: a soda made entirely from carbonated Vermont maple sap, without any added sugar or water (via Taste of Home).

Luckily, the cousins were able to use their own pre-existing land to create the products — Salmon's family was in the maple industry, and he owned his own sugarbush (plantation of maple trees) with 12,000 tapped maple trees. On the opposite end of the same valley, Smith owned his own, smaller sugarbush. Prior to its public release, the cousins and their families enjoyed the taste of the drink after creating it with the sap from their own trees.

According to the University of Vermont, Sap! was invited to make an appearance on "Shark Tank" via a direct website message from one of the show's assistants. Though the owners of Sap! were initially skeptical of the outreach, even skeptical that it may have been a prank, they decided to take a chance and pitch their products on television for the Sharks once they knew the offer was legitimate.

They decided to pitch their products

According to an article published on the University of Vermont's website, Chas Smith and Nikita Salmon were somewhat nervous about making an appearance on ABC's "Shark Tank." In fact, the two admitted to being anxious over concerns their products could be disliked or even "roasted" on the show. However, they ultimately decided that the national exposure was well worth the risk. 

Appearing on the series in Season 9, Episode 21, Smith and Salmon offered the investors a 12% stake in the company in exchange for a $600,000 investment. As a part of their pitch, the co-founders passed out a variety of samples to the Sharks. Despite their initial fears, some of the Sharks enjoyed the flavors of the drinks. The co-founders were unhappy with one comment, however — investor Mark Cuban took a sip of Sap! Maple and compared the flavor to Aunt Jemima's maple syrup. Smith told the University of Vermont that the comment was "infuriating," and said that the products "taste nothing like that."

On top of their dislike of the flavor, Cuban and Barbara Corcoran voiced concern over the product's marketing, so they both dropped out. Conversely, Lori Greiner enjoyed the flavors, but she said she thought it was too early to invest, so she also went out. Rohan Oza was unsure about the price point per can, so he quickly followed his fellow Sharks. Interestingly, Robert Herjavec said he could provide the money, but he wanted a 30% stake instead. Smith and Salmon countered the offer with 20%, but Herjavec wouldn't budge. Unfortunately, Smith and Salmon walked away without a deal.

The company saw success without a deal

Despite walking away without a deal from the Sharks, business reportedly boomed for Sap! after the product's appearance on "Shark Tank." University of Vermont reports that the company already had a few investors, and a "Shark Tank" deal wasn't going to make or break the company either way. Luckily, the product's appearance on the reality series brought it the benefit of national publicity.

In fact, the marketing from the episode was more than enough to increase sales. According to Chas Smith, Sap! received over $100,000 in new online sales within 10 days of the show airing. In fact, while the show was airing on ABC, the website saw tens of thousands of visits from people interested in trying the drinks. Today, more than five years after the business appeared on "Shark Tank," Sap! still sells its signature maple soda. 

Additionally, the business now offers even more purchasing options, including seltzers and sparkling waters in a variety of flavors. Although we're not sure Mark Cuban or Barbara Corcoran would be especially interested after their visceral reactions to the company's 2018 offerings, plenty of people seem eager to buy flavors ranging from tangerine chamomile to strawberry habanero, and of course, the classic maple. The drinks can be ordered in 12- or 24-packs from the Sap! website.

Of course, as dedicated "Shark Tank" fans know, the beverage industry can sometimes make for dangerous waters, as the brothers behind Super Coffee also discovered in another Season 9 episode.