Where Is HotShot From Shark Tank Today?

Coffee in a can is naturally going to be cold, right? In the United States, that's typically the case. However, there's a surprising number of things you can buy in Japanese vending machines, and one of those things is indeed hot canned coffee. It's huge business over there, but it would take a real hot shot to successfully introduce this idea to the States.

After visiting Japan, Danny Grossfeld attempted to do just that. His product consisted of specially insulated cans kept warm in a sort of hot fridge. His initial crowdfunding efforts were unsuccessful, but the concept did pique the interest of the "Shark Tank" producers. 

Grossfeld appeared on Season 7, Episode 6 of the show, offering the Sharks 10% equity for $300,000. His experience was very hot and cold. All of the Sharks declined, and Lori Greiner urged Grossfeld to give up the business entirely. Mark Cuban, however, promised to give the product a test run in his movie theaters once HotShot launched. So, did Grossfeld give it up or prove Greiner wrong?

Grossfeld still gave it a shot

"I can't give up now," founder Danny Grossfeld said to Lori Greiner. "I'm going to launch this fall."

Shortly after his "Shark Tank" episode aired in 2015, Grossfeld confirmed to Inc. that the product launch was still going full-steam ahead in early 2016. However, pre-orders were only in the couple of hundreds. Thankfully, however, a trio of movie theater chains — AMC, Cinemark, and Regal — decided to test-run HotShot, even though Cuban's Landmark Theaters had not yet followed up on his offer. Regardless, Grossfeld commented, "Mark was super sweet to me and very receptive," claiming that Cuban was the Shark he wanted to partner with. Interestingly, Grossfeld also revealed he never even applied to be on the show; "Shark Tank" invited him, impressed by his determination, ingenuity, and zeal.

"Most food and beverage companies fight to capture a niche within a category," Grossfeld said to Beverage Daily around the same time. "I'm on another level. I'm an entirely new platform." He believed the big-in-Japan nature of hot canned coffee would translate well into America. More than a thousand businesses agreed in the wake of his TV appearance and reached out, requesting to carry the stuff. Specifically, Grossfeld intended to target college students who wanted easy access to hot coffee. "I want my customers to create and to vote and to choose all the new flavors, new machine designs, and more," Grossfeld said to Beverage Daily in 2015. "That's how I'm going to engage my customers."

Did HotShot go cold?

Like many "Shark Tank" products, HotShot enjoyed its fifteen minutes of fame. In fact, by 2018, a press release revealed that HotShot had done well enough during its initial launch to be picked up by online-retail giant: Amazon. That wasn't the only big name taking notice of it, either. At the time, HotShot could be found in Bed Bath & Beyond, Cirque du Soleil, and Disney World, as well as several brick-and-mortar retailers in states including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Tennessee. "Concessionaires are proving to be a great channel for HotShot," founder Danny Grossfeld said in the 2018 press release. "HotShot is showing that convenience doesn't mean less taste, and consumers are showing us that they love HotShot hot or cold."

But in the past few years, business seems to have gone cold. The HotShot website is no longer being maintained. Similarly, its Facebook profile has been deleted. As for Twitter, HotShot hasn't tweeted anything since 2018. 

For what it's worth, Grossfeld does still market himself as the president of HotShot on his LinkedIn page. But Amazon doesn't appear to carry the product any longer. It's unclear what happened, but Lori Greiner might have been right to suggest Grossfeld pour his lukewarm idea down the drain.