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Didsbury Gin lands £75k Dragons’ Den investment

Manchester-based Didsbury Gin has received a £75,000 (US$96,500) investment offer on hit BBC programme Dragons’ Den to help grow the brand internationally.

L-r: Liam Manton, Jenny Campbell and Mark Smallwood

Didsbury Gin founders Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood appeared on the BBC Two programme on Sunday (13 January), which sees entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a group of famous investors.

Manton and Smallwood, who both live in Didsbury, a suburb of Manchester, entered the show asking for a £75,000 (US$96,500) investment in return for a 10% stake in their business.

The Didsbury Gin range, which includes Didsbury Gin Original and Rapsberry & Elderflower, has been created to “reflect the unique vibrancy of the area”. The brand is currently available in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges stores across the UK.

The duo was made redundant in March last year. “Since going full-time with the gin in March, we’ve turned over £16,500 (US$21,228) just to our current customer base,” said Manton.

On the production of the gin, Manton added: “At the moment, we’re outsourcing. Going forward, probably the later part of this year, going into year three, we would look to open a distillery in Didsbury, that’s part of our ambition.”

Following a competitive pitch to ‘dragons’ Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Jenny Campbell and Tej Lalvani, two offers were made to the businessmen.

Both Campbell and Lalvani offered the entrepreneurs the full amount, but for a higher stake in the business, at 33.3%.

Lalvani, CEO of the UK’s largest vitamin company, Vitabiotics, was impressed with the product’s retail presence and the creation of the brand “from very little funds”.

Meanwhile, Campbell, the founder and CEO of Your Cash Europe, claimed she loved gin and had planned to invest in a gin business “at some point”.

She said: “I do like your product but it needs some work. It needs better branding, it needs a better profile, a better story, the whole thing.”

Following a brief deliberation, Manton and Smallwood accepted Campbell’s offer.

There have been a number of offers made to gin entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den in recent years, including Collagin, a gin distilled with pure collagen, House of Elrick Gin, and subscription service Craft Gin Club.

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