In a recent blog post, BrewDog gave us some insight into what happened in 2009 when, as a fledgling brewing company, they applied to Dragons’ Den in the hope of a £100,000 investment in exchange for 20% of their business.
Co-founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie made it through the initial process and attended a screen trial in Manchester. It was at this stage, the producers decided BrewDog wasn’t a good enough business proposition, unique enough or with enough growth potential for them to pitch to the Dragons and appear on the programme.
“It forced Martin and I to go back to the drawing board in terms of how to finance our business. As a result we created a model that lets the people who enjoy our beer own a part of our company. Equity for Punks would not have existed without the Dragons Den rejection.” – James Watt, BrewDog co-founder
— Mark Saxby (@MrMarkSaxby) May 9, 2018
Hindsight’s 20/20 but it’s absurd to think now that BrewDog didn’t even make it on to the programme. Now valued at an estimated £1.8 BILLION, if they’d been successful and received investment from a Dragon, that 20% would currently be worth £360 MILLION. It would’ve easily been the most lucrative Dragons’ Den investment of all-time.
Imagine being one of those producers now, almost a decade later, having to explain to Deborah Meaden why you denied her the opportunity to make 360 million quid… You’d probably need a few pints of Punk IPA after that chat, eh?