The Ice Cream Canteen: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

In 2017, Jordan Stern came up with the idea for The Ice Cream Canteen while road-tripping in Yosemite. As he contemplated the coffee thermos in his camper van, he wondered if the heat-trapping device could be used to keep America's favorite dessert cold. He envisioned an invention that would keep ice cream frozen while on the go, without the need for a freezer.

The idea opened up a world of possibilities ... imagine being able to take ice cream along on camping trips, picnics, boating, barbecues, to the beach, the movies, tailgating, and more. Imagine buying a pint at the grocery store and not worrying about it melting before you get it home. Stern got to work trying to solve this thawing conundrum, immersing himself in researching, designing, prototyping, and testing. The result worked better than he could have hoped for. 

By 2019, he launched a Kickstarter to fund the project. The initial goal of $20,000 was raised within only four days, and by the 30-day mark, more than six times the starting goal had been reached, with backers pledging over $121,000.

The next steps involved refining the product based on early adopter's feedback, extending the product line, and preparing the world's first vacuum-insulated pint ice cream container for the retail market. With sales going well, Stern needed more funds for inventory and to take things to the next level. The opportunity to go on "Shark Tank" couldn't have come at a better time.

What happened to The Ice Cream Canteen on Shark Tank?

On March 31, 2023, in season 14, episode 18 of "Shark Tank," Stern asked for $100,000 for 5% equity in his company. To demonstrate The Ice Cream Canteen's ability to keep its contents cold, he had Mark Cuban blast the canteen with a blow torch until its surface reached 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside, the pint of ice cream had remained frosty. The retail price for the canteen was $44.99, but Stern's cost was only $7.50. Revenue that year to date was $185,000 with a net of over 50%. The projection for the rest of the year was over $400,000.

Kevin O'Leary offered $100,000, but he wanted in with a higher 30% stake. Daymond John had a lot to say about Stern offering them so little for their investment, and he was out. Lori Greiner mentioned her successful investment in Frozen Farmer ice cream and Cuban's in Ice Shaker. The two partnered to offer $100,000 with a $100,000 line of credit at 25% equity.

Guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky tried to make an offer, but he was interrupted by Stern who first wanted to counter the previous offer. Rebuffed, Lubetzky noted that wasn't the smartest way to negotiate. Stern asked the partnered team for 15%, to which Cuban countered 20% with a higher $200,000 line of credit. With Lubetzky still patiently attempting to get an offer in, Stern cut him off one last time by accepting Cuban and Greiner's deal.

The Ice Cream Canteen after Shark Tank

The positive outcome on "Shark Tank" was proudly announced on The Ice Cream Canteen's website, noting the intensity of the back and forth between the judges. The company communicated that the funding would be put towards expanding and to "take ice cream where it has never gone before" (via The Ice Cream Canteen). The brand experienced the much sought-after "Shark Tank" effect after the show aired, immediately selling out from so many orders. By June 2023, all items were back in stock and came with free shipping. 

The "Shark Tank" deal does appear to have gone through, with Lori Greiner listing the company along with her other successful entrepreneurs and products on her website. She also ran a giveaway promotion on social media during the 2023 holiday season, with prizes including The Ice Cream Canteen along with Scrub Daddy, Cup Board Pro, and Souper Cubes. While there are no indications that Cuban did not go in on the deal, there are also no signs of his involvement, and the brand is not listed on his Mark Cuban Companies website.

The canteen is now available in more color options, including mint green, blueberry blue, strawberry pink, coconut white, and the original stainless steel. The coolers are both BPA and plastic-free and are fitted with a silicone gasket that makes them water-tight and leakproof. The product will keep a pint of ice cream frozen for four hours or eight if stored in a cooler.

Is The Ice Cream Canteen still in business?

The company is still in business, and the product is available to purchase on The Ice Cream Canteen's website, as well as on Amazon and other online retailers. Your purchase comes with a lifetime guarantee. Both the brand and Amazon sell it for $34.99 with free shipping, while Uncommon Goods sells it for $45.00 plus shipping. Despite Stern holding three trademarks as well as patents pending, there were some knockoffs on the market, which the brand will eventually have to deal with.

The canteens can now also be customized. Laser engraving is offered for $10 extra and makes for a unique personalization or gift option. The coolers are also available for co-branding with custom printing, including the aforementioned laser engraving, as well as color screenprinting. Examples include logo branding for local ice cream shops, or as commemorative swag for events.  

The business also offers its products wholesale and works with everyone from small shops to well-known retailers. A number of brands have opted for the customization feature for their reselling, like Weston Table, which sells its version in either stainless steel or white with a metallic monogrammed ice cream cone graphic. Ice cream chain Salt & Straw sells a white version printed prominently with its large red ampersand logo. Pint's Peak, a small batch artisanal ice cream truck from Denver has been selling them in various colors with their logo as well, but they've proven so popular that they're frequently sold out.

What's Next for The Ice Cream Canteen?

The company and its founder have kept a low profile but appear to be focused on improving existing products as well as working on new ones. The brand has a small presence on social media with just over 4,400 followers on Instagram (which hasn't been updated since Christmas 2023), and under 800 followers on Facebook (which hasn't seen an update since pre-"Shark Tank" in 2020). Still, as Stern explained on the show, he made nearly $450,000 in sales all without advertising, so it may be a strategic decision to not bother with social media. 

Initial feedback on the product has been mixed, with many positive reviews as well as some complaints. Kickstarter backers and Amazon reviewers reported problems with the canteen's lid either not closing or being too difficult to open. Others grumbled that the container doesn't hold all pint varieties as claimed; however, the company does explain in its FAQ that it's meant for paper pints (like Ben & Jerry's or Häagen-Dazs) — it's not designed to fit plastic pints like those made by Talenti. Subsequently, the company announced that it's working on its own reusable paper pint containers. These will be perfect for transferring any kind of ice cream for a guaranteed fit.

The company also announced the launch of its latest version 2.0 canteen. The updated edition addresses the malfunctioning lid issue with new threads that are meant to make opening and closing the container much easier.