Husband and wife duo, Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar pitched their cheese company during
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview of what happened to Rebel Cheese after
Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar appeared on
|Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban
|Accepted deal for $750,000 for 10% equity
Shark Tank Rebel Cheese Update
- Entrepreneurs: Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar
- Business: Gourmet vegan cheese
- Ask: $750,000 for 5% equity
- Result: $750,000 for 10% equity
- Sharks: Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner
Fred Zwar and Kirsten Maitland are a couple who love European-style picnics, which are heavy on cheese. However, after they both went vegan, they were looking for an authentic-tasting vegan cheese. This led them to create Rebel Cheese, which makes gourmet, artisan-style vegan cheeses.
The cheese that they make is real cheese, however, it’s made only from plants. In terms of the process, they don’t cut any corners.
They use techniques that any artisan cheesemaker would use, which in turn creates products that would fool any cheese lover.
They have over 20 varieties of cheese in their inventory, and with them, plan to revolutionize the cheese market.
At this point in the pitch, the couple presented samples of their top 5 selling cheeses to the sharks to try. These included Brie, Honey Pistachio Chèvre, Pimento, Sharp Cheddar, and their Sun-Dried Tomato Fermage.
The sharks were impressed, to say the least. The only shark that didn’t love it was guest shark Emma Grede, who was a little thrown off by the texture.
Kevin O’Leary inquired about whether or not they use cashews for their base, and Kirsten responded that they use a variety. She adds that they are the only vegan cheese company that is making items to the standard that they are.
Further, they just built their own production facility, where they can produce 8 million wheels of cheese per year.
In regards to their business model, Rebel Cheese has 3 different channels that they’re selling through. This includes e-commerce and a subscription service, which makes up about 16% of their business.
They also have a wholesale program, which makes up for about 17% of their business. Lastly, they own a restaurant in Austin, Texas, which makes up 65% of their sales.
However, during COVID-19 they had to pivot to mostly e-commerce, and they also got their brand in over 100 retail locations. Although Whole Foods reached out to them, the duo wasn’t ready to take on such a big account.
Kevin wants to know how their Brie compares cost-wise to a high-end wheel of traditional Brie cheese. Fred shares that it costs them $4.67 to make a wheel, they then wholesale it for $9, with an MSRP of $15-$20.
To answer Kevin’s question, a traditional, high-end wheel of Brie cheese costs anywhere between $10-$20 a wheel. Therefore, Fred says they are pretty comparable.
In the year prior to filming, sales were $2.5 million, with projections to make $3.5 million in the current year. Further, they are also profitable, however, because they just built a new facility, they plan to break even in the current year.
With goals in mind to have their products in over 500 stores next year, they’ve come to a turning point where they need help from a shark.
Unfortunately, Kevin drops out first. He doesn’t understand or agree with the high valuation.
Immediately following this, Mark Cuban offered $750,000 for 10% equity. However, before the couple can answer, Lori Greiner insists that she wants in too.
Lori says that she is already a part owner in Boarderie, a successful cheese and charcuterie board company. Eventually, she and Mark agreed to join together for the offer of $750,000 for 10% equity.
Just then, Robert Herjavec and Emma drop out of the negotiations. Robert says he’s not a big cheese guy, and Emma isn’t that fond of the product.
At this point, Fred counters Mark and Lori with 6%, but the sharks are not interested. Then, Kirsten counters with $1 million for 10% equity, but it’s also a no for the sharks.
Fred and Kirsten keep trying to get the sharks to budge, but when it appears that they may lose the offer altogether, they finally accept the deal.
What happens following
We have great news to share in our Rebel Cheese update. As is common with companies when they appear on
It will also be exciting to see if Rebel Cheese and Boarderie really will team up to offer some Vegan options. They also have a huge Instagram following!
It also seems like the deal with Mark and Lori went through, as the Rebel Cheese website is offering custom boxes called Lori’s Box and Mark’s Box.
The future looks bright for Kirsten and Fred and we will keep you updated as we get more news on a Rebel Cheese update.
In the meantime, you can check out our other company updates from Season 15 Episode 9, by following the links below!
For even more on companies and products, be sure to stop by our Season 15 Products Page!
Andrew Smith is the founder and owner of Shark Tank Recap. He is a longtime Shark Tank fan that has been watching it for years and has seen every episode multiple times. His friends know him as the Shark Tank expert, because he can answer any question about the show! His favorite Shark Tank products are Bertello's pizza oven and Bug Bite Thing!