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Medford inventors strike it big with homegrown business

Brother and sister-in-law Randy Rothfus and Jennifer Sullivan invented the Guzzle Buddy, a creation that allows drinker to sip straight from their wine or beer bottles. (Genevieve Grippo/KTVL)

Two Medford residents seemed to have hit gold in their homegrown business, a concept called the Guzzle Buddy.

The Guzzle Buddy is a glass that plugs into the tops of beer or wine bottles, allowing drinkers to sip right from the container. Inventors Jennifer Sullivan and Randy Rothfus say the idea was born after watching the sitcom 'Cougar Town.' One of the show's episodes features an item similar to the Guzzle Buddy.

"She [Jennifer] called me and said, 'We gotta find this thing, it's awesome, you can drink it straight out of the bottle,'" said Rothfus. "So we looked all over the internet and we found a lot of people looking for a bottle like that, but we didn't find anything. There was literally nothing on the market like it."

Thus the Guzzle Buddy was born. It went into production in early 2016.

Rothfus says it was a slow start, but the concept went viral that fall.

"Somewhere in October, somebody got ahold of a tweet I put out," he said "One of the big social media places took our pictures and videos and did a compilation, and put it on their website."

From there, the Guzzle Buddy became an internet sensation.

"I think one of those videos now has over 100 million views. It just went nuts. We sold out of product overnight."

As of early 2018, the Medford duo says they've sold about 65,000 Guzzle Buddies, equaling about $2 million in sales.

They say there's no limit to how big they want to go.

"We know we would like to get into some large retail chains. We're in Brookstone, Hammacher Schlemmer, Francescas," said Rothfus. "And we're negotiating right now with some other larger companies."

The product has been featured in Ellen, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, LIVE with Kelly, and more.

On Sunday, you can catch Rothfus, Sullivan and the Guzzle Buddy representing Medford on 'Shark Tank' at 9 p.m.

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