Biem: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

"In the world of chefs, butter is in everything," Anthony Bourdain once wrote in his first column for The New Yorker. True to his words, chefs often use different kinds of butter to truly transform mundane ingredients into delicious ones, adding a touch of richness, flavor, and luxury, no matter the dish.

But, for home cooks, butter can be trickier to master, whether it's because it's too cold when it comes straight from the fridge, or because portion control isn't always possible. Cooking sprays have their place, but they're not the same as using butter, and they often contain artificial ingredients, emulsifiers, and propellants. So entrepreneur Doug Foreman created a solution with Biem — a handheld device that was designed to quickly turn cold butter into a workable spray, only using heat and air.

Foreman had decades of experience in the food and consumer packaged goods industry before he took his butter sprayer to "Shark Tank" back in 2016. He had success with his company Guiltless Gourmet, the first-ever baked tortilla chip, which he founded in 1989, as well as Beanitos, a bean-based snack chip, in 2010. But would he be able to butter up the sharks with Biem?

What happened to Biem on 'Shark Tank'?

Austin, Texas-based Doug Foreman appeared during Season 8 of "Shark Tank," seeking $500,000 in exchange for 5% of his company. Foreman shared that he came up with the idea for a handheld sprayer after he often found himself burning a traditional pat of butter while trying to make the perfect scrambled eggs for breakfast. 

Designed to hold any traditional-sized stick of butter, and ready to operate in seconds, Biem has a wide range of uses. You can use it to spray butter onto hot toast or make grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as grease muffin tins and dress up popcorn without drenching it. Biem has the potential to be a game changer — even with its hefty $129 price tag — and had already sparked interest from consumers. Foreman had raised more than $235,000 from 1,700-plus backers for the patent-pending butter spray mechanism via a Kickstarter campaign.

The panel of sharks seemed interested, too. Although Mark Cuban dropped out, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O'Leary all came in with offers. In the end, Foreman settled with Greiner, who made a verbal offer of $500,000, in return for 14% of Biem.

What happened to Biem after 'Shark Tank'?

After his "Shark Tank" episode aired, Doug Foreman said that he had received a "huge amount" of interest for Biem from all over the world and revealed that he already had other products in the works. Sales of the butter sprayer had "skyrocketed" after the show, according to Austin news channel KVUE, and it received some positive reviews, including being featured in a cooking demo on Cityline TV.

But, during the due diligence process of "Shark Tank" that happens post-appearance, the deal with Lori Greiner was actually never completed. A spokesman said that Greiner had "no affiliation" with the company (via San Antonio's WOAI-TV), and she chose to ultimately not invest after the episode aired because there was no working prototype available.

Things got worse when customers started making complaints just five months after Foreman's appearance on "Shark Tank," with Biem's parent company, Brevda, Inc, investigated by the Better Business Bureau. According to KVUE, by 2018, 33 complaints had been received from 18 different states all across the country, including four in Texas, with grievances ranging from no refunds to products that just didn't work properly.

Is Biem still in business?

Following the investigation by the Better Business Bureau, Biem said it was working on an updated version 2.0 of the sprayer to send to the customers that had complained about defects. The company said a manufacturing issue had caused some clogging problems with the original model of the device, as but it was working to coordinate replacements or refunds.

The company did go on to release the Biem Butter Sprayer V2 in 2019, which came with a rechargeable battery pack. And, apparently, this new model could even be used for spraying chocolate, as well as butter. Having come "a long way" since 2016, a new Kickstarter for Biem QX3 was launched in the summer of 2019, with founder Doug Foreman saying the company hadn't been ready, at the time, for what happened following "Shark Tank." But ultimately this fundraising campaign fell short of its target, with just over $4,000 raised towards the $63,000 goal.

The product is currently no longer available for sale on the company's website or Amazon. The last Facebook post from Biem was in December 2019, while the last Instagram post was in July 2019, and the final Tweet was even earlier, in June 2019, likely pointing to the fact that Biem is no longer in business.

What's next for Biem's founder?

Entrepreneur Doug Foreman's LinkedIn profile still lists him as the founder and CEO of Biem's parent company, Brevda, Inc., but the "about" section shows that Biem is now referred to in the past tense. It seems that Foreman has since moved onto a new venture: Austin Automation Design, which specializes in "automation integration for any process."

After his attempt to make a success of Biem, along with Beanito and Guiltless Gourmet before it, it appears that Foreman is still keen to revolutionize the food industry with new innovations. His latest product is Tacomation, which is an automated restaurant food line designed to assemble tacos, burritos, and bowls, without the need for any human contact. It could save restaurateurs "potentially millions of dollars," said Foreman in a press release, even "doubling a restaurant owner's bottom line" in only 12 months.

Automation is big business for the food and drink industry right now, with companies like Sweetgreen looking to fully automate all locations with its Infinite Kitchen concept in the next five years, and Chipotle testing an "autocado" machine to speed up its guacamole prep. Could Foreman be onto something with Tacomation? Possibly. But whether any of the sharks would want to invest again this time around is a different story.