Owner Paul Stanley appeared on the first episode of season 17 of the show, looking for an investment of £50,000 for a 5% stake in the business.
Despite not being able to secure investment from the assembled Dragons – captains of industry across a number of fields – exposure on the show has seen a boost in listings for the spirit and seen it rise to become the number one best-selling rum on online marketplace Amazon.
Stanley told Food Manufacture that his appearance on Sunday night’s show, alongside heavy metal band Ryders Creed, was all part of his plan to drum up exposure for his alternative rum brand.
“We had no intention of being on Dragons’ Den,” he said. “One of their researchers stumbled upon Cloven Hoof in a bar in the East End and begged her producer to get us on the show, so we just went on it as a bit of a publicity stunt. We held out on valuation and didn’t want to give equity and didn’t want to debate with the Dragons on that front.
“But the exposure, in terms of going into the Den with a rock band with the rum – there have been a lot of gins on there and a few other strange spirits, but we were the first rum on the show – has opened the minds of mainstream rum drinkers that there are unique, crafted spiced rums out there, completely different to the corporate stuff.”
As well as becoming a best-seller on Amazon, Cloven Hoof has secured listings with drinks wholesaler LWC and had drummed up masses of publicity through its social media sites.
Take the chance
Stanley’s advice to any manufacturer that might be approached by the producers of Dragons’ Den would be to take the chance and appear.
“All five Dragons gave extremely positive feedback on our drink, so regardless of the pitch or the deal, they liked the rum, they liked the packaging and the serve,” Stanley added.
“I was expecting some of them not to like it, but the fact that all five of them were very complimentary about the drink endorsed the product, putting aside me and the business. That’s getting us a lot of credential and weight behind the product itself. The product came out as a hero even if I didn’t with the pitch as they [the Dragons] saw it.”