Shark Tank is more than just a reality show; it’s a genuine small business incubator that has helped dozens of successful businesses get off the ground. The Square Keg is one of the latest success stories from the new season of Shark Tank, and we recently spoke to Mr. Wonderful, the shark who invested in this company, about why this unique keg could be the perfect Christmas gift for beer lovers.
In case you aren’t familiar, Mr. Wonderful, aka Kevin O’Leary, is a shark on ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank. A panel of multi-millionaire business savants listen to pitches from entrepreneurs and pull out or make investment offers based on how worthwhile the product seems.
Here at SPY, we’re a team of gifting experts who will always point you in the direction of the best Christmas gifts of the year. How do you develop a honed sense for which gifts are worth a purchase and which are better left rotting in a discount bin? You spend time hearing pitches from thousands of brands each year and refine your taste for the ones worth your investment. Basically, you act just like Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank.
We’ve spoken with Mr. O’Leary before about his favorite Shark Tank investments of all time as well as his 2022 gifting trends and it’s no secret to anyone that he’s a tough guy to please. So that’s why when he shared that he hadn’t only invested in a recent pitch but tried it out himself, and personally vouched for it, we knew we had to pay attention.
The brand is called Square Keg, and they have two innovative, space-saving kegs we want to highlight as a perfect gift for men this year.
Square Keg: A Unique Gift for Men and All Beer Lovers
Square Keg has two products — their SquareOne Mini Keg, their flagship product, as well as the SquareOne Nitro Edition made for preserving drinks with nitrogen (cold brew, for example). Both products are designed to keep beverages as fresh as possible through the use of CO2 to maintain flavor and carbonation where applicable.
They both also have their signature square, space-saving design that’s perfect for a fridge shelf, trunk or BBQ tabletop and come with a user-friendly tap system and regulator.
The only difference between the two, besides the difference in color, is the Nitro one uses a nitrogen (N2) cartridge to maintain the pressurized environment as opposed to carbon dioxide.
Mr. Wonderful’s Review of Square Keg
As we mentioned above, Mr. Wonderful spent months trying out the Square Keg, and we got exclusive insight into his takeaways from his time with the product.
He noted he “used this product all summer on the lake with family and friends. We used it for beer, wine and mixed drinks and everybody who saw it, loved it and wanted one for themselves. I think I’m the top Square Keg salesperson now!”
He went on to say that “While this is equally appealing to both men and women, this is the ultimate “guy gift”*. Whether you’re tailgating, barbecuing, lounging by the pool, entertaining at home or hanging out in front of the TV watching sports on Sunday, a square keg will make things even more convenient and enjoyable.” Emphasis added.
A Product Founded on One Question: Why Are Commercial Kegs Round?
We also got a chance to speak with the founder of Square Keg, Tim Loucks, who saw a need in the marketplace for a more streamlined, convenient and portable keg.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and sort of had this light bulb moment. It was around commercial kegs — why are they round? It makes no sense.”
“Trucks for transport, walk-in coolers, bars and restaurants — they’re all square or rectangular. And with the contents of kegs being ultimately the profit and potential revenues, it just didn’t make sense that they couldn’t maximize those finite spaces.”
He went on to add “and also round kegs, they don’t stack safely and efficiently, so really the goal was to be able to have more volume in less footprint, and to be able to stack and tap kegs simultaneously.” That’s where the Square Keg business began, which primarily served clients like bars and breweries until the pandemic hit.
“When COVID hit, naturally a lot of our target customers, like small and medium-sized breweries, their doors were all closed so they weren’t going to be spending any money on capital. So that’s where SquareOne was born, it was always an idea that we had in the back of our minds that would crush in the consumer market. People love having drinks on tap, it’s convenient for so many types of events or just things throughout an active person’s lifestyle.”
“In the very beginning we were thinking instead of a glass growler for people who love craft beer they can fill it with this. It’s got two growlers’ worth, it’s got CO2 that keeps it fresh and the footprint of it fits in the fridge.” Loucks also noted that the use case for it has expanded rapidly since their launch, and now includes batch cocktails for boating and even nitro cold brew with their new NITRO edition.
“We went through multiple iterations and really just dialed it in. One of the number one criteria was that it had to be able to fit in the majority of people’s fridges without them having to reconfigure shelves.”
The Perfect Gift for Men
When asked who this product is for, Loucks noted it can be used by virtually anyone who wants to take their drinks with them in a durable container designed to keep them fresh. Boaters, golfers, craft beer lovers, older couples who go RVing and even sober individuals who prefer mocktails can all use get a ton of use out of this product.
If you have a guy in your life who loves craft beer and wants a better way to travel with it, consider a SquareOne Mini Keg.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out SPY’s guide to the Best Gifts for Beer Lovers.