Season 4 Episode 12 of Shark Tank featured childhood friends Brant Myers and Dan Grimm from San Luis Obispo, California. They came in with ARKEG, a retro arcade game with an ice-cold surprise. But was the nostalgia enough to get the Sharks on board?
What is The ARKEG?
ARKEG is a classic video game console with a refrigerated beer keg and tap built into its side. It has over 60 licensed classic video games, like Asteroids and Mortal Kombat II, pre-loaded into its onboard PC-based computer system. It also had the option to connect to wifi and to load games to the unit.
Brant and Dan have been friends since 5th grade. Brant is the business brain while Dan is the computer engineering whiz kid. Together they spend their 22-year friendship tinkering with whatever gadgets they could get their hands on to create something new.
Is the ARKEG still Active?
ARKEG went out of business in 2015, two years after the Shark Tank episode aired.
How Did Their Pitch Go?
Brant and Dan walked into the Tank ready to blow the Sharks out of the water with one of the most laid-back pitches the Sharks had ever seen. They started out by remembering their happy times in college with their friends. And how it was then they discovered their talent of combining beer with electronics and invented the Kegerator, a keg built into a mini-fridge.
In a moment that Brant described as a light-bulb turning on inside his head, the two realized they could combine their two favorite pastimes, playing video games and drinking beer.
With great gusto, Dan proclaimed, “Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce to you what has been called the greatest invention of all time, the ARKEG!” The stand slowly turned to reveal the ARKEG in all its glory. Pin drop silence. ‘Oh, Lord!’ Mark said in horror.
The two entrepreneurial drinkers were unfazed. They even had a second ARKEG that had wine on tap. Robert turned to Kevin and joked, “That’s how you drink your wine Kevin, from a tap.”
But the pitch wasn’t over, you could even fill the keg with root beer making it kid-friendly. The ARKEG was the ultimate gaming accessory that could fit into any part of your home, from the family room to the man cave.
Mark was in no mood to entertain this idea any further and was out in record time.
Kevin was dumbfounded; he couldn’t believe these buddies were for real. He wanted some numbers and asked how many they had sold. Brant and Dan said that they had sold 20 units over the past 2 years for $4000 each. Now they need the Sharks to help bring their product to the masses and were asking for $100,000 for 33% equity.
These numbers were not good and the Sharks were unimpressed. Lori couldn’t get behind it either. She saw it as nothing more than a gimmick. She was out.
Robert understood the nostalgia of it, admitting he had a room full of arcade games where he used to spend time with his friends. But he hadn’t been back in that room for over 8 years. He didn’t see a future for the expensive ARKEG and he was out too.
Daymond did not like the bulky entertainment system. He said the gaming industry was moving towards smaller, sleeker handheld systems. The ARKEG was a dinosaur. He was out.
Brant and Dan tried to get Kevin on board but it was no use. The Sharks saw the ARKEG as nothing more than a high-end refrigerator. It was game over.
What Happened After Shark Tank?
A post on their Facebook page from May 2015 said the company was up for sale for $11,500. This included one complete ARKEG console, the parts to make another eight, and the full intellectual property rights. It is unclear whether it has been sold.
Our Review of the ARKEG
The ARKEG is one of a kind. It breathes new life into classic games with its 24-inch LCD screen and 2.1 HD surround sound. The joystick, trackball, and six buttons mean you can play all your favorite games including Mortal Kombat I, II, and III, Paperboy, Street Fighter II, Xenophobe, Asteroids, and Defender. Not only that but the onboard PC system means you can download even more.
The tap and keg are integrated nicely and the whole thing comes apart to be cleaned and refilled. We appreciate the craftsmanship.
Pros of the ARKEG
- It is well-made and sturdy
- Brings back the nostalgia of the 80s – 90s arcade game era
- Can download any PC game and play on this system
- 5-gallon keg – that’s around 55 cups of beer.
Cons of the ARKEG
- Doesn’t have a cup holder
Are There Any Alternatives?
You won’t find anything like the ARKEG online. There are plenty of retro arcade game consoles available but none of them have an integrated keg. The best you can do is buy a separate beer keg for your gaming.
Our Final Thoughts
The whole Shark Tank pitch was bizarre. Brant and Dan were so confident and yet so clueless. It was like a bad American Idol audition. Pointless and yet entertaining.
From a business perspective, the Sharks were right to pass up the idea. $4000 was just too much for an arcade machine that was not selling. If there was a way to reduce manufacturing costs and make it more affordable then maybe it could have been a more appealing pitch.
But the ARKEG was not a bad idea, it just came at the wrong time. It was both 20 years too late and a decade too early. It could have been huge in the 90s and early 2000s, where gimmicky toys were all the rage and people were going out to arcades.
Even now after the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the ARKEG could have found its place in today’s retro revival where everyone seems to want their own personal gaming room.