Where Is McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars From Shark Tank Today?

In olden times, folks used to drink vinegar for pretty unusual reasons, but nowadays, there's a much more appealing justification for it. As recently as the 2010s, sweet and sour vinegar cocktails began invading bars. That may sound a bit odd at first, but when you compare vinegar to other potent mixers like bitters, it starts to make more sense. 

McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars handcrafted its drinking vinegars with fresh Midwest produce, organic cane sugar, and unpasteurized apple cider. The resulting "shrubs," as drinking vinegars are often called, were mixed into not only cocktails, but also dressings, marinades, and sodas. Flavors included Lemon & Ginger, Michigan Apple Pie, Pineapple & Fennel Seed, and more.

Jess Sanchez-McClary, the founder of this venture and mother of the titular brothers, appeared on Season 7, Episode 1 of "Shark Tank." She sought $100,000 in exchange for 15% equity in her company. Yet, the Sharks puckered their faces when they tasted the drinks, and some even coughed it up. "I'm not sure America's ready for vinegar right at the nostril," Kevin O'Leary vocalized. The business enjoyed decent sales in a niche market with some healthy appeal, but even so, none of the Sharks were willing to help the startup grow.

"We'll get there," Sanchez-McClary told the cameras after walking out of the tank without a deal. "It's just going to take longer than we would like."

Drinking vinegars got the Shark Tank bump

So, did McClary Bros eventually "get there?" For a while, at least, it seemed like it had. In an interview with Heavy, Jess Sanchez-McClary revealed the company did more than $200,000 in sales in the three months following her televised pitch. Additionally, McClary Bros unveiled new product lines — "Forgotten Flavors," which revitalized historically popular taste profiles, and the self-explanatory "Community Grown Flavors." As for what advice she would give to future "Shark Tank" contestants, Sanchez-McClary explained, "Be ready when those orders start coming, but make time for the media interviews!"

In another post-"Shark Tank" interview, this time for Specialty Food Resources, Sanchez-McClary claimed there were no drawbacks to going on "Shark Tank." Although hearing such harsh criticism from the Sharks may not have been the most enjoyable experience, this entrepreneur didn't seem to mind it. In fact, she said the show opened doors for the company and allowed it to double its staff. In her mind, the pitch was another example of McClary Bros' bootstrap success story. However, she added, "Success is not a finish line, it's a fluid, evolving concept."

A year after her episode aired, the McClary Bros founder told Project Invested that the company's 15 minutes of fame were still fueling its growth. Annual sales had doubled, hiring had continued, and McClary Bros had even opened a storefront tasting room for visiting customers. Sadly, this success didn't last.

McClary Bros ended on a sour note

During Jess Sanchez-McClary's "Shark Tank" pitch, Kevin O'Leary seemed particularly annoyed by the business proposal he saw in front of him. In fact, O'Leary grilled Sanchez-McClary (as he is sometimes prone to do) with questions that she simply couldn't answer well enough to his satisfaction. "Why are you doing this to yourself?" O'Leary snapped, much to the chagrin of Guest Shark Ashton Kutcher. 

Some may have thought "Mr. Wonderful" was not being very wonderful at that moment, but there may have been wisdom in his low esteem for the long-term viability of the product. In fact, it looks like the Sharks were wise to not invest in McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars. Although appearing on the hit ABC series gave the company a healthy amount of publicity, the drink business seems to have dried up in the years since this product got its time in the spotlight.

McClary Bros' Twitter last posted in 2016, and it most recently retweeted something in 2017. That profile still links to the company's website, but its site is no longer being actively maintained. Over on Instagram, the company posted something as recently as 2020, which showed the business making a new batch of Apple Pie Shrub. Unfortunately, other Instagram users have commented on that post in recent years about unfilled orders that they've placed. Additionally, the venture's products are all currently unavailable on Amazon. In case there was any doubt left, Yelp has the business marked as closed based on user reports.