Dragons den: ‘Most successful’ business turning over £33million | Personal Finance | Finance

In 2016 Jon Hulme and John Burke presented their idea for a wine and gin subscription service and received offers from all five Dragons. When Dragon Sarah Willingham revealed that she was already a customer, they accepted her offer of £75,000 in exchange for a 12.5 percent share in the business.

As the hit BBC show, Dragons’ Den returns for its 20th series, it may have the public wondering, have any of the ingenious and inventive ideas from the reality television program ever been a success story?

NationalWorld have labelled the Gin business one of “the most ingenious products ever featured,” on Dragons’ Den.

Craft Gin Club is a subscription box service delivering monthly artisan gins and sparkling wines, along with snacks and magazines, to subscribers.

Since launching in 2015, Craft Gin Club has achieved rapid growth, with a compound average sales growth (CAGR) of 112.7 percent and an annual turnover of £33.58million in 2021, according to bdaily.co.uk.

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The gin industry itself is reportedly “still booming”, with UK retail gin sales hitting a record 80 million bottles worth £1.3billion in 2020 – 2021, marking 30 percent growth year on year.

Since 2016, the club has gone from strength to strength, developing into the amazing community of over 130,000 gin fans it is now.

In May 2016, Craft Clubs launched a second subscription service: Bubble Club, which focuses on sparkling wines in place of gin.

Together, Craft Gin Club and Bubble Club boast a combined 25,000 active customers, over 150,000 email subscribers and 400,000 social media followers.


Sarah’s involvement helped Jon and John to accelerate the growth of the Club to become the amazing gin-loving community it is today, and she continues to play a close part in the development of the Club as it looks to an exciting future.

When describing his favourite moment of the whole experience, Mr Burke said to bdaily: “For me, the best moment was meeting Sarah backstage after accepting her offer on screen.

“We had a great chat and hit it off from the get-go. So it was a big relief as we knew at that point that we’d made the right choice.”

Last year Craft Gin Club, a London based gin subscription business which featured on Dragon’s Den, followed up on its first successful Gin Bond offering with the Gin Bond 2.

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Targeting a raise of £2million, the Gin Bond 2 offers members and consumers a chance to invest in the business and earn a return in either cash interest or gin boxes.

Backed by former Dragons’ Den star and Craft Gin Club board member Sarah Willingham in 2016, the company has seen its subscriber base grow into a community of more than 120,000 members, sending out over 2.7 million gin boxes since launch.

Investors can choose between three different options for the Gin Bond, investing in either the Cash Bond, the Gin Box Bond, or a combination of the two.

The Cash Bond is a four-year initial term bond offering a gross interest rate of eight percent per annum in cash, with a minimum investment of £500.

The money raised via the bonds will be used to fund the business’ next stage of development as it continues on its mission to “share its passion for fantastic craft gins with the nation”.

Mr Hulme continued: “We were blown away by the success of our first Gin Bond in 2019.

“The money we raised has helped us to double our membership base and grow newer areas of our business, from ecommerce to events.

“Now we can’t wait to welcome even more gin fans on board as investors for the next exciting chapter of our story.”

Ms Willingham added: “When someone walks into the Den, you have no idea what to expect, but when I met Craft Gin Club and heard their pitch, I knew straight away that I wanted to invest.

“And I still say this today and I still think that this could be one of the most successful businesses to come out of the Den.”

Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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