Have you ever heard of shrub sodas? You might think they are something new in the beverages market; however, the origin of this drink dates back several centuries and is first seen in the Arab world. The term ‘shrub’ originates from the word ‘sharab’ in Arabic and it is made with fruit concentrate, fresh herbs, sugar, fresh aromatics, and vinegar.
The roots also go back to medieval Japan when samurais used vinegar diluted with water as a tonic to combat exhaustion in battle.
These drinks were also very common during the colonial era and were a popular way to preserve fruit, but as commercially processed commodities and refrigeration grew more common, they became obsolete.
Jess Sanchez McClary brought these drinks back, and it looks like they are here to stay!
What is McClary Bros?
McClary Bros drinking vinegar is a shrub soda created with organic and natural ingredients. Jess Sanchez conceived the idea while at culinary school, studying preservation techniques. All-natural ingredients and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar are used to make these drinks.
Jess Sanchez’s drinking vinegar business requires a little investment, and therefore, she seeks a shark who could invest in her new medieval shrub sodas.
In the 7th season of Shark Tank, Jess pitched her McClary Bros drinking vinegar seeking one million dollars for a 15% ownership in her company. She then continues to explain the origins of Shrubs as well as how she is modernizing it by using natural, organic materials. She asserts that vinegar brightens up the beverages and invigorates the consumers, exposing them to a new range of refreshing culinary combinations that will modify their perceptions of the medieval drink.
Jess proceeds to ask who would like to try it first among the sharks, and Kevin responds instantly. She distributed the samples among all the sharks, including Ashton Kutcher, who was a guest star that season.
The first few flavors are enjoyed by everyone, especially the apple pie with bourbon. The other flavors, however, have a very strong vinegary hit that makes all the sharks gag, including Ashton Kutcher. Since the primary ingredient in shrub sodas is vinegar, Kevin claims that America might not be ready for it. However, Ashton Kutcher bursts his bubble and informs him that several Americans drink vinegar due to the medical benefits it offers, and Mark agrees to tell them his wife is an avid vinegar consumer.
Kevin asks Jess about her sales figures to which she replies they have made over $315,000 in three years since they started. Ashton Kutcher inquires about her marketing strategy and whether she advertises the vinegar as a drink or a mixer. Jess tells him that they are primarily sold as a mixer; however, several of her clients drink it as is.
According to Jess, they have only recently begun to enter several restaurants in the hopes of capturing the high-end consumer who might buy the pricey drinking vinegar. The business goal is to market the drinking vinegar as cooler and more mainstream; the drinks with McClary Bros drinking vinegar would be categorized as craft cocktails.
This vision is appreciated by Mark, who then shares his ideas and says that the concept is fantastic because drinking vinegar will provide a distinct flavor which indicates that the consumer may leave with a need for more as the distinct taste is something they might not be able to find elsewhere.
Kevin, however, still biased by his presumptions regarding vinegar, says he is not impressed, even more so because the vinegar industry is only worth over $10 million.
While the mixers department seems thrilling, Lori disagrees and informs them she does not consume hard liquor. On the other hand, she does have some expertise on the benefits of unpasteurized vinegar, and she too consumes it on a daily basis. But Lori is the first shark to opt out, saying she would much rather experiment with the combination of alcohol and vinegar and how it would improve digestion and diminish the negative effects of alcohol.
Lori is followed by Robert, who opts out, saying he doesn’t clearly see how an investment would help her business grow. Then next to refuse an investment is Mark only because he is not a fan of vinegar.
This is followed by a classic argument between Ashton and Kevin, where both end up in an ugly disagreement and ends with Kutcher silencing Kevin with a finger. Both of them, however, opt-out, and Jess walks away without a deal.
Our Review of McClary Bros
We think the McClary Bros drinking vinegar is a great new product and could pave the way for an entirely new industry. The idea is unique and could certainly go a long way for consumers of all kinds.
Pros of McClary Bros Drinking Vinegar
Vinegar is highly beneficial for the body as it helps lower cholesterol, improve digestion, and help control blood sugar spikes after meals.
Cons of McClary Bros Drinking Vinegar
There are no drawbacks associated with the consumption of vinegar, and it has long been a staple in numerous civilizations.
Who is it for?
Individuals looking for health benefits along with a nice hit of flavor should definitely consider these shrub sodas. However, these are also targeted at bartenders to use a mixer to create exotic and unique flavors.
Are There Any Alternatives?
So far, McClaren Bros is the only one in the market for drinking vinegar.
Our Final Thoughts
While Jess’s appearance on the show was disappointing, the aftermath was anything but. The after-effects of Shark Tank skyrocketed her sales, followed by several retail orders a month later.
Her business grew, and so did the range of flavors. The McClary Bros drinking vinegars now have a real location in Farmington, Michigan, complete with a tasting room. Jess has also expanded the flavor choices to include new drinks and recipes that can be accessible from the website.
It doesn’t matter if you walk out with a deal or not; the Shark Tank appearance is enough to help you make your dreams come true.