Here's How Shark Tank's Mother Beverage Is Doing Now

Quick thinking and a readiness to pivot in the face of changing circumstances may have made the difference between success and failure for Allison and Stephen Ellsworth. As Forbes reported, in 2018, the entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team secured an audience with potential investors on ABC's hit series "Shark Tank," where they pitched their product: an apple cider vinegar-based drink that's an alternative to sugary carbonated beverages.

The product was originally called Mother Beverage — Allison Ellsworth was pregnant with her second child at the time, but we're guessing "mother" was actually a reference for the beneficial compound termed the "mother" found in unrefined, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (per Wellness Mama). They developed the prebiotic drink by trial and error in an effort to address Allison's chronic gut health issues.

"In my previous career, I was on the road a lot," Allison told DFW Child. "I traveled town to town ... across the U.S. for about 10 years, living in hotels and eating on the road, and not really living the healthiest of a lifestyle. I had that bloating feeling in the stomach where your gut kind of always hurts, and my face was always a little red. I read online drinking apple cider vinegar could help with a lot of those issues."

Their Shark Tank appearance was a success

While Allison Ellsworth was sold on the benefits of incorporating apple cider vinegar into her diet, she couldn't get her husband, Stephen, to take a shot of the elixir, which can be quite potent in flavor. Undeterred, she began experimenting with recipes to make the beverage more palatable. She eventually concocted a blend that caught on with friends, family, and neighbors. As demand increased — and Stephen joined the venture — they began selling their soda alternative at local farmers' markets. But it was their time on "Shark Tank" that really helped the company take off.

During their 2018 "Shark Tank" appearance, the Ellsworths asked for $400,000 in exchange for 10% equity, and they walked out with a deal. Shark investor Rohan Oza offered $400,000 in exchange for 25% equity, which the husband-and-wife duo accepted (via Shark Tank Tales). 

"In the beverage industry, he's like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates as far as shaping brands and starting at the bottom and working his way all the way up to make you a really successful national brand," Allison told DFW Child of working with Oza. 

From Mother Beverage to Poppi

Following their "Shark Tank" appearance, Allison and Stephen Ellsworth took a good look at market research and concluded that they should change the name of their product. It turns out that "vinegar" is a polarizing term, per DFW Child. Some consumers like the idea of the down-home basic ingredient, while others have a knee-jerk negative reaction based on their relationship with the taste of vinegar. 

With Shark investor Rohan Oza on board, they rebranded the beverage as Poppi and got ready to start selling it through a network of grocery and specialty stores — just in time for the global pandemic to change the landscape of retail sales. "It was a significant hit," Stephen told Forbes in April 2020. "As a new brand working to get placed on the shelf, we were the last priority."

So they pivoted and switched to online sales and grocery delivery services. They also began donating Poppi to hospitals and communities in need. And it appears their strategy worked. According to Shark Tank Tales, in November 2020, Poppi reported year-over-year growth of 531%. In August 2021, TechCrunch reported that the company had closed $13.5 million in a funding round.

Poppi has A-list fans

Olivia Munn, Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger, Halsey, and more stars have all invested in Poppi, per a 2021 press release.

"It's my healthy treat that not only fulfills my craving but it does really offer something that I need, which is real benefits for gut health, and it boosts my immunity, and it gives me great, glowing skin," Munn told People of the beverage in February 2021. The actor added that she loves the drink's taste and carbonation.

The company's press release also noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fan of the prebiotic drink, saying that she swore by it while filming the video for her 2021 song "Cambia El Paso." Clearly, Poppi has plenty of fans in high places, and the company isn't slowing down anytime soon. As the company's press release notes, the drink is available in grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, and more.