Where Is PRO-NRG From Shark Tank Today?

Building on three words — rehydrate, replenish, refreshed — PRO-NRG entered the "Shark Tank" hoping to become the next big functional beverage brand. Long before electrolyte waters, protein drinks, and other specialty beverages lined the shelf, Tania Patruno believed she had a viable solution that appealed to both the honed athlete and the weekend warrior.

Patruno and PRO-NRG appeared on "Shark Tank" Season 4. With the help of former NFL star Brandon Jacobs, an endorser of the product, Patruno pitched the Sharks $250,000 in exchange for 15% equity. Although the Sharks tend to be thirsty for good deals, the first sip of this functional beverage had some ready to pour it down the drain. While Patruno said that the protein-infused vitamin water was like "steak in a bottle," the Sharks might have preferred to pick up a fork and knife for a more appetizing taste.

Even though several Sharks bowed out, Daymond John offered $250,000 for a 30% stake, which was contingent on working with his other company BadASS. According to ABC News, the deal went through, the product was rebranded to Protein Water by PRO-NRG, and it was sold at various retailers, including Walgreens.

Did a legal challenge change the fate of PRO-NRG?

While appearing on "Shark Tank" can bring name recognition, a company might need to appreciate all the implications of the publicity. According to court documents, co-founder Joshua Fenwick sued various parties associated with PRO-NRG. The lawsuit included claims under the Landham Act as well as other state based causes of action that alleged he was not consulted with business decisions, including the Shark Tank deal. While claims were not adjudicated in court, the suit seemed to initiate some concerns over business decisions. According to CrazyFinTech, PRO-NRG or its subsequent name, PRO-NRG Protein Water, is no longer in business. The brand's social media accounts and website are inactive.

Looking back at older reviews of the product, the legal issues might not be the only cause for its lack of staying power. In a Seriousity.com review, the critique focused on the pungent flavor. Although some protein drinks can have an acquired taste, the feedback was not overly flattering. From the product's lack of variety to its allegedly less-than-palatable texture, drinking the protein infused water appeared to be less than enjoyable. 

While this concept might not have found an audience, the concept of a functional water has become a larger beverage trend.

Was PRO-NRG too early for the functional beverage trend?

While a new calendar year often sparks a conversation regarding food trends and new eating experiences, PRO-NRG might have come to market a bit before consumers were thirsty for the concept. According to a March 2022 report from Nestlé Professional, functional beverages have grown in popularity with consumers. Whether it's the ease of consumption, the perceived health benefits, or simply the drinkability, people are apparently more willing to try a multipurpose beverage.

Given that PRO-NRG appeared on "Shark Tank" Season 4, the functional beverage market has evolved a lot since that time. Enhancements in taste, texture, and composition have made big strides. The beverage shelf now has several brands of protein waters. Several of these offerings add vitamins and minerals to supplement the other ingredients. 

Although PRO-NRG might not be a household name, the idea of a protein water was viable.