Thomas Aske and Tristan Stephenson of Black Rock bars have secured investment from three ‘Dragons’ from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den for their subscription whisky club, Whisky Me.
The show, which sees entrepreneurs pitch investment opportunities to successful business leaders, airs at 8pm this evening (Thursday 13 May).
The pair’s pitch proposed a 10% share in Whisky Me in return for a ‘Dragon’s’ mentorship and £75k.
Whisky Me, founded in 2017, is a subscription service which sends 5cl scotch whisky pouches to members on a monthly basis.
At the time of recording the show, the service had 2,300 subscribers, with a turnover of £223K.
Stephenson said: “We don’t have any experience of taking a brand from this sort of size and turning it to a multi-million pound brand - and it feels like if we don’t do it right now, we’ll miss the opportunity. So, it’s key from our point of view to get the right expertise on board.”
Impressed by the business and its growing popularity, ‘Dragons’ Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones both offered the capital for 20% of the business, while Tej Lalvani asked for 15%.
At the request of improved offers, Jones offered to partner with Meaden, sharing 15% of the business but after deliberation, Aske and Stephenson negotiated a rare joint investment from all three of the interested Dragons, who took a combined share of 15% of the business for the proposed £75k.
It is only the sixth occasion in the show's 16-year history that three dragons have shared an investment and the first time that a whisky brand has been successful in the den.
Meaden said: “Thomas and Tristan came into the Den with a great pitch, and it was clear that they work really well together and know the whisky market - I knew I wanted to be part of the Whisky Me journey.”
Jones said: “I have been waiting for a great whisky business to come into the den. Now one has, and I’m excited to see Whisky Me reach its full potential.”
Lalvani added: “I share a passion for whisky with the guys and I’m confident that we can grow Whisky Me beyond the UK market. At home subscription companies are on the rise, and this one stands out.”
Having left the den with three ‘Dragons’ on board, Aske said: “With this investment we can grow Whisky Me further, introducing amazing whisky to a bigger audience of curious drinkers everywhere.”
The pitch has been released by the BBC and is available to watch on YouTube ahead of this evening's show.