Jake Rutledge, Chase Terrell, and Chris Diede came in Shark Tank season 13 to reel in a Shark for their drink insulator business, Chill-N-Reel. Jake, who had worked as a Tusla firefighter, always wanted to create something fun and out of the box and thought his product was just what he envisioned. The trio relied on hyperboles and their acting skills to pitch for their business, and the Sharks couldn’t contain their amused laughter.
The trio sought a $300,000 investment for 10% equity stakes, and the Sharks knew where to bite.
What Is Chill-N-Reel
Chill-N-Reel is a drink insulator supplied with a hand-drawn fishing line on its side. The product allows you to enjoy your beer while fishing; all you need to do is tip back without putting your beer down and reel in the catch. Chill-N-Reel is not to replace your standard fishing equipment but can redefine “fun” for you.
Inventor and entrepreneur, Jake Rutledge, appeared on Shark Tank season 13 with his son, Chase Terrell, and brother-in-law, Chris Diede, to pitch their unique fishing reel business, Chill-N-Reel. The trio opened their pitch by claiming they had solved the world’s biggest problem, i.e., drinking beer and fishing simultaneously. They took out their fishing rods and beers and demonstrated how someone’s relaxing time on a fishing trip can be ruined if they fail to reel in their catch without spilling their beer.
Jake introduced his invention by calling it the only drink insulator with a hand line reel on the side. Chase explained that Chill-N-Reel makes fishing hassle-free and fun by allowing users to casually pitch out a line while enjoying their beer. Chris added that the product was not meant to reel in a marlin; however, what it can reel in is a “real good time.” Jake designed the product to be easily castable, bearable, and drinkable; all you need to do is pitch it out, grab your slack, tip back and start reeling in.
The trio boasted that they had caught bass, crappie, and catfish on the Chill-N-Reel, but they were fishing for Sharks today. They ended their pitch by asking the Sharks if they were ready to take the bait.
The Sharks were thoroughly amused by the trio’s theatrical pitch and laughed loudly whenever the trio struggled with fishing rods during their demonstration. Lori asked where was the fishing rod, and Mark quipped; Chill-N-Reel is all she needs to fish.
Daymond wanted to know how much pound test line is on Chill-N-Reel and Jake replied with 8 pounds. His answer was met with shock, so he explained that he had caught a 16-pound blue cat with a 50-pound bait and even a 3-and-a-half-foot hammerhead shark. The Sharks, especially Robert, had a hard time believing his claim, so Jake elaborated that if you hold the line and reel it in, you are bound to cut your hand; the key was to tip back and pull with your weight.
Chase emphasized that the product was not meant for serious fishing but to facilitate a fun lounge by a water body.
Jake revealed that he invented Chill-N-Reel on a whim when he was on a family vacation in Florida. They were out in the water when one of his buddies looked down at the abundance of fish and said if only they had a fishing rod on them, they’d catch big. Jake reminisced that he didn’t even say hold my beer; he wound a line at the bottom of his koozie, threw out the line, and caught the fish.
The Sharks loved his storytelling, but Kevin wanted to talk numbers, so he asked them about their sales and profits.
Chris announced they had made 1.34 million in sales in the last 12 months, explaining that they made $500,000 until June and $680,000 in the second half. His reveal garnered explosive responses from the Sharks as they struggled to make sense of the impressive sales. Robert admitted that he was not expecting that answer.
Kevin grew curious about the current year’s sales, and Chris’ answer didn’t disappoint the Sharks. At the time of taping, Chill-N-Reel had made $760,000 and was projecting 1.65 million by the end of the year. Kevin commented that the product was a piece of crap, so how was it selling this much? Chris admitted that he thought the same but couldn’t deny the sales.
Lori inquired about the product cost and was impressed by the margins. Robert asked if they had spent any money on marketing, and Chris replied they had spent 40% of their sales on marketing, which is a little lower than $400,000. Robert commented that was a lot, and Jake added they had made $700,000 last year, were in negative $25,000, and had $350,000 worth of product in the inventory. Mark interjected that this is where all their money went, and they were tight on cash flow.
Kevin thought the product was crap, but he couldn’t help but respect their sales. Still, the product didn’t excite him, so he was out.
Lori commented that the product was fun for the trio but not an investible venture, so she was out.
Daymond admitted the product was fun, and when Chase supplied that they were selling good times, he countered that that’s all there was to it. He didn’t think it would be any fun for him as an investor, so he pulled out.
Mark cited that there were not enough net margins in the business, so he was out.
Robert expressed that he was on the fence about the deal, and Kevin supplied that if not equity, why not propose a royalty deal? Kevin’s suggestion got Robert’s attention, and he offered the trio $300,000 for 10% equity and $2 royalty per sale in perpetuity.
Jake countered with $300,000 for 15% equity stakes, reasoning he was not looking for a royalty deal. Robert said he’ll do 35% equity stakes if an investor is all he wants. Jake asked if he’d be willing to go down to 20%, and Robert refused.
In the end, Jake refused Robert’s offer, and the trio walked off the Shark Tank season 13 stage, hoping to catch a Shark in new waters.
Our Review of Chill-N-Reel
We somewhat agree with the Sharks that Chill-N-Reel is not a problem-solving invention as Jake had claimed. The product might have a novelty effect, but it was hardly an alternative to traditional fishing equipment. Additionally, any Chinese or foreign manufacturer can duplicate the design and launch it for much cheaper than it already is. And while Chris claimed the product would soon be patented, we see no long-term scalability and efficiency in the business model.
Pros of Chill-N-Reel
- Insulating properties
Cons of Chill-N-Reel
- Sold exclusively from the website and Amazon
- Risk of spills
- Reeling can cut hands
Who Is Chill-N-Reel for?
Chill-N-Reel is for people who want to hang out and have fun while fishing. The product promotes fishing not as a sport but as a relaxing hobby with the added chance of catching some fish. If you are out in the water with your buddies and want to drink your beer and fish at once, this reeling beer insulator is perfect for you!
Are There Any Alternatives?
Chill-N-Reel is one of its kind and has no known alternatives in the market. There are many drink insulators in the market, but none come with a fish reel attached to it.
Our Final Thoughts
We think Chill-N-Reel is a fun family business that people buy for its novelty effect, but that’s all there is to it. The product does not match traditional fishing equipment, and the business model is tight on cash flow. It’s only a matter of time before its novelty effect wears off and the sales plummet!