Sap! Beverages: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

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Chas Smith and his cousin Nikita Salmon did not expect to appear on "Shark Tank" when they first founded Sap!, a Vermont-based company specializing in beverages made from the sap of maple trees. After the two opened shop in 2015, they successfully grew their business with the help of local farmers and a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By the time they received an inquiry to appear on the show, Smith and Salmon had already made a name for themselves. They expanded Sap!'s products to include beverages made from birch tree sap, and appeared in the 2017 Fancy Foods Show in New York City. Even with all that splash behind them, the two cousins didn't believe the offer to appear on television — at least, not until they received a phone call following up with them. Smith and Salmon did not let that opportunity pass by, and flew off to Los Angeles just three weeks later to present their product to the Sharks on Season 9, Episode 21.

What happened to Sap! on Shark Tank?

Before presenting to the judges a small set of samples of Sap! beverages, Chas Smith and Nikita Salmon went ahead and requested $600,000 for 12% of their company. Collectively, the Sharks expressed mixed reactions to the products. Lori Greiner adored all three drinks, while Robert Herjavec sarcastically asked if the birch sap soda was "for humans."

Mark Cuban, who's officially leaving Shark Tank after Season 16, was the first to drop out of the deal. While he liked some of the Sap! sodas, he ultimately cited Smith and Salmon's long-winded marketing as the reason he left. Barbara Corcoran also dipped out for similar reasons, also noting that she didn't like the taste of the drinks. Greiner backed out from making a deal due to the lack of research behind the benefits of Sap! sodas, leaving Herjavec to shock the room by offering the $600,000 for 30% of the company. Smith and Salmon countered back by asking him to take a 20% stake, but the Shark ultimately canceled the offer after that. With guest judge Rohan Oza also backing out due to poor marketing, the Vermont cousins left the show with no deal.

Sap! after Shark Tank

Sap!'s sales boomed shortly after Chas Smith and Nikita Salmon appeared on the show. In just 10 days, the company garnered more than $100,000 through online sales alone. The two did not get any rest during the period known as the Shark Tank effect, a term coined to describe the boost in commerce contestants receive after appearing on TV. Just days before the episode went on air, Smith and Salmon spent days updating their website in order to make it as customer-friendly as possible. They worried that the increased traffic would cause it to crash, but they lucked out, and had no issues with orders after the show.

The Vermont cousins did have some regrets after the episode aired. In an interview with the University of Vermont, Smith told his alma mater that he wished he could've marketed his product to the Sharks more succinctly. He mentioned that the showrunners cut a lot of the positive feedback Sap! got from the judges out of the episode due to time constraints, but he still felt proud of how successful the company remained.

Is Sap! still in business?

Flash forward, and Sap! has not left the market. The company not only spread its e-commerce to cover all 50 United States, but expanded its product line considerably. On top of its original flavors, Sap! now sells a wide number of birch sparkling waters with different flavor combinations, including cranberry-goji, ginger-lemongrass, and tangerine-chamomile. Reviews are pretty favorable as well, with one user on Amazon describing the maple soda as "light, tasty, and natural."

The sodas even got sold at physical grocery stores for a brief amount of time, as Whole Foods announced that the products hit its shelves in 2018. While it appears that you can't order Sap! through the chain or Amazon any longer, you can still get its products through its website. That alone puts it in a better spot than other failed sparkling water companies that appeared on "Shark Tank," such as the ill-fated Luma soda.

What's next for the Sap! beverages?

Unfortunately, Sap! has not experienced the social media surge that fellow "Shark Tank" contestant Poppi, another sparkling beverage on the market with a substantial TikTok following, has enjoyed in recent years. The company's last social media post was in 2023, and its Twitter account has been inactive even longer. Additionally, Sap! now faces increased competition, with companies like Sapsucker commanding a larger presence online and in retail stores.

The two cousins remain involved as co-founders of the company. Chas Smith continues in his role as CEO of Sap!, and he has also joined the operations of Four Quarters Brewing, a taproom bar in Vermont. Meanwhile, Nikita Salmon has started a general construction business called Flynn Hill Contracting. The future of Sap! is uncertain, as there have been no new marketing campaigns or product launches, and the company has not announced plans to close or scale down production. Nevertheless, fans of the beverage can still order their favorite flavors online.