Dragons’ Den and beyond: Drynks Unlimited exclusive interview

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Drynks Unlimited has seen success since its appearance on Dragons Den
Drynks Unlimited has seen success since its appearance on Dragons Den

Related tags Drinks Coronavirus coronavirus

In this exclusive interview, Drynks Unlimited founder and managing director Richard Clark speaks to Food Manufacture about appearing on Dragons’ Den and the support offered to his business by investor Sara Davies.

Drynks Unlimited appeared in the 17th​ series of the BBC TV show, where Clark and his team pitched their alcohol-free drinks to assembled ‘dragons’. The company went on to secure a £125,000 investment from Davies for a 7.5% stake in the business.

In the time since the episode was originally filmed in the summer of 2018, Clark said the alcohol-free drinks market was still emerging, but had gained a lot of traction. The bigger alcohol brands had also started to take notice.

Dragons Den investment

The business has since secured equity investment to help secure its future and succeed in a very competitive market. The appearance on the show also did wonders for publicity, with thousands of people visiting Drynks Unlimited website within hours of the show airing.

Clark went on to talk about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his business.

“We were already in a supermarket called Booths and already starting to trade with wholesalers into the on-trade,” ​he explained. “Our online presence was very limited but now we’ve made it our priority.

Online is always important even when you get multiple major listings, so the biggest​ [most important] thing for Drynks is the development of the online​ [platform].

Hospitality sector shutdown

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced the hospitality and foodservice sectors into an almost complete shutdown as many people in the UK were forced into lockdown. The shift towards a heavy online focus was a natural fit for Drynks.

However, Clark said there were no plans to stop supporting the on-trade business. He made it clear that the biggest opportunity for the company was its online offer. He also discussed how things could change now the UK-wide lockdown was easing and more people started returning to bars and restaurants. 

The change has been slow and the increase in confidence in the economy has been not what the Government expected – especially the people’s confidence to go out​ [and eat],” he added.

Related topics People & Skills Drinks COVID-19

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