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Leading the cow to slaughter: A 'Shark Tank' debacle

Steve Albert of the ice cream company The Brewer's Cow advised other entrepreneurs that being on "Shark Tank" is like surviving a train wreck.

Larry Blackwell, left, and Steve Albert of The Brewer's Cow
Source: Brewer's Cow
Larry Blackwell, left, and Steve Albert of The Brewer's Cow

"There will be a derailment, and you have to prepare for it," he said. Unfortunately, he and his business partner, Larry Blackwell, learned that lesson the hard way.

The initial pitch for their product, a line of beer-infused ice cream, went well enough. But then the sharks started asking questions, and the entrepreneurs found themselves in hot water.

"We spent hours practicing our pitch," Blackwell said. "We knew we had to get to the numbers at some point. They kind of said that wasn't such a big deal, but we didn't have any numbers, so we focused on the pitch and everything went great for maybe the first five minutes."

So far, so good. But the issue they had been told wasn't such a big deal came up, and the wheels promptly came off the wagon.


The Brewer's Cow ice cream
Source: Brewer's Cow
The Brewer's Cow ice cream

The story of The Brewer's Cow is a cautionary tale: "Shark Tank" shines an unforgiving spotlight on every aspect of a business, and the entrepreneurs just weren't ready for it.

"That cow ran pretty far away from us—it got too big, too fast," Albert said. "We're just looking for one strategic partner that has been there, done that, that can help us through this learning process."

So what would these two guys do differently if they were to step into the tank again? A lot.

"The Brewer's Cow on 'Shark Tank' had multiple derailments," Blackwell said. "There were a few ... where we didn't really have our numbers set. It was awful. … We focused primarily on the product and the pitch, and we probably should have focused a little more on our numbers."


—By Liza Hughes, special to CNBC.com.

Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night.

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