Zipz became a household name by popularizing single-serve wine in creative containers. Its founder, Andrew McMurray, pitched this on Shark Tank and bagged one of the largest ever investments on the show. Zipz has stopped making wine to focus on packaging and licensing. As of 2023, Zipz Wine is worth an estimated $1 million.
The Founders’ Background
Andrew McMurray is from Scarsdale, New York. He studied business, management, and marketing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, graduating in 1990.
Three years after getting his bachelor’s degree, Andrew became the vice president of Zachys Fine Wine, a position he still holds today. Although he appeared on Shark Tank by himself, he ran the company with his partner J. Henry Scott.
Scott is an engineering graduate from Rutgers University. In 2005, he landed his first job as a producer at the indie film company HD Productions. In 2010, he worked in corporate development at AirSpa, a health and wellness enterprise.
From Idea to Reality
Zipz started when McMurray and Scott met at Citi Field, New York. There, Andrew shared his idea of developing a wine product with single-serve packaging, and his partner loved it. So, they teamed up with Fetzer Vineyards to kickstart the business.
The startup was officially launched in 2012 but the initial set of designs was poor and lacked any wrapping that prevented wine leakage. This inspired Scott to create a dual-function coaster and lid.
The packaging is a plastic vessel in the shape of a wine glass. To drink, you simply need to unwrap and unscrew the top part. Fetzer Vineyards helped the product get into stadiums and generated over $650,000 in sales.
Zipz’s Shark Tank Pitch
It was a very promising product, with about 25 seasoned investors lining up to fund $8.5 million. Even with this, the founders specifically wanted help from the investors on Shark Tank. Andrew McMurray appeared on season six of the show in 2014, offering 10% equity for $2.5 million.
Despite Andrew’s appeal and Zipz’s ingenious design, the Sharks weren’t convinced. After a strong start to the pitch, Andrew started to become more anxious when Mark Cuban said he was out. Three other sharks soon did the same.
This left the entrepreneur with Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary. Luckily for the entrepreneur, Kevin is a big wine connoisseur and wanted to get into Costco. After a little back and forth they struck a deal. Kevin agreed to invest $2.5 million for 10% but also got the option to buy an additional 10% stake later at the same valuation.
Post-Shark Tank Challenges
Zipz Wine secured one of the biggest ever deals in Shark Tank history but unfortunately, the company’s future was not as bright as the founders predicted. Once the show aired, the company was met with a lot of hurdles to overcome.
With the help of Kevin O’Leary, they secured a contract with Arctic Beverages. The startup’s product was sold at over 1,200 locations across the United States. They later sold wine packets through online shopping platforms. However, the competition was tough and the business model of selling wine to consumers wasn’t profitable.
Brands like the Chilean Chardonnay maker Chillin were always one step ahead. This led Zipz to stop producing wine and focus on packaging for other companies.
Zipz made around $600,000 annually for a few years after the show but couldn’t make a profit. The company rebranded from Zipz Wine to Zipz Packaging and is worth an estimated $1 million.