Dragons’ Den rejects never made it on show but business now worth £1.8billion

Keir Starmer pours a pint as he visits Brewdog bar in London

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Entrepreneurs James Watt and Martin Dicki applied to go on the hit BBC show with their craft brewing business but failed to get past the first stage. The pair were invited to do a screen test and pitched their plan to the show’s producers, which all successful applicants are required to do.

But the show decided the company wasn’t right for them – and the pair never even got to pitch directly to the Dragons.

They’d planned to offer the Dragons’ a 20 percent stake in their company for £100,000.

“We were totally crushed,” BrewDog CEO James wrote on LinkedIn earlier this year.

He said: “We were prepared to offer the dragons 20 percent for £100,000.

“Based on our latest BrewDog valuation, that investment would now be worth almost £360million, meaning the dragons missed out on by far the best deal in den history.

“We got over the rejection eventually. But it took a while.”

Fast forward 15 years, BrewDog is now worth a staggering £1.8billion and would have been the most profitable investment ever on the programme.

Since the rejection, the pair have grown BrewDog to extraordinary lengths and it has now become a multi-billion pound business.

On their blog, the pair explained that when the producers turned them down, it was a “kick in the teeth”, however they needed the setback to keep building their business. It is currently valued at £1.8billion and has raised over £250million.

BrewDog continues to soar in popularity, with its brand well recognised across the world.

Had they have been able to pitch BrewDog and had any of the Dragons’ invested in it, their £100,000 would now be worth a whopping £360million, they said.

The pair have noted on the BrewDog blog that they applied to go on Dragon’s Den in 2009, getting through the initial application process and being selected for a screen test in Manchester.

They wrote: “It would have been by far the most lucrative investment not only in the history of Dragons’ Den but pretty much in investment history overall.”

This figure officiates BrewDog as the pitch which could’ve been the most successful investment in Dragons’ Den history.

James and Martin were both 24 when they kickstarted the business.

On the search for a better brew, the duo decided to make their own in 2007.

Banking on loans and savings, the pair started creating small batches of beer, filling the bottles by hand and selling them at markets out of the back of their old van.

They eventually started making enough to profit to buy a bottling machine in 2008 and created what they claim to be the UK’s strongest ever beer.

By their second year of business, BrewDog had become Scotland’s largest independent brewery.

The company has since won several awards in its 15-year history and has up to 78 bars.

Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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