How BottleKeeper Won a Patent and Beat Competitors in the Growing Drink Container Industry

BottleKeeper, a company that makes insulating outer shells that keep beer bottles cold, has earned a large chunk of the $4.7B drinkware market. Since its official launch in 2013, the company has sold over 1m products direct-to-consumer while meticulously grooming an audience for future product launches. In 2018, BottleKeeper brought in $13.6m in revenue, growing over 800% from 2015.  

In many ways, BottleKeeper has followed a dream startup trajectory. It raised thousands through crowdfunding and appeared on Shark Tank, securing one of the largest investments in the show’s history. After developing a trusted D2C model, it has now expanded to thousands of retail locations. But its path to success was also nearly derailed by copycats. BottleKeeper had to spend $500k on a series of patent protection lawsuits.  

This is how BottleKeeper and co-founder CEO Adam Callinan maneuvered through the highs and lows to run one of the most successful DTC drinkware brands. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on doing one thing really well: Callinan says to learn how to best serve your customer before fragmenting into different customer acquisition strategies. 
  • You gotta fight for your right to party: There will be copycats and people trying to eat your lunch. When push comes to shove, fighting will likely be expensive. Make sure it’s worth it. 
  • Harness your power before negotiating: Tempted with many retail contracts early on, Callinan chose to focus on building BottleKeeper’s brand. Today, BottleKeeper is able to attract much more favorable contracts.