Dragons’ Den product was slammed as ‘tacky’ – it’s now worth millions

Dragons Den: James Nash explains Cup-a-wine

A Dragons’ Den pitch for a cup of wine with the beverage already in the cup was rejected by the dragons, but it went on to sell millions of units.

James Nash, founder of Wine Innovations, presented his idea for Cup-a-Wine on the show in 2009.

He was asking for a £250,000 investment for a 25 percent stake in his enterprise as he was looking to expand his reach.

The product included a plastic cup filled with a single serving of wine sealed with a foil lid. But the dragons thought the concept was low quality, slamming the plastic cup as a “tacky” invention.

Peter Jones thought the valuation was far too high for the fledgling product. He said: “I think you should have come in here saying, ‘I’m unsure with what I’ve got. I’ve got a verbal arrangement but hey it’s a punt, but if it works it could be good for you.’

“I would have invested in that but you’ve placed yourself out the market. £250,000 is ridiculous so I’m out.”

Duncan Bannatyne was concerned the idea could be used by other groups. He asked: “You didn’t invent the plastic glass. And you didn’t make the wine. So what have you got?”

Theo Paphitis also dismissed the wine invention as he thought the risk was too high he would not get his money back.

He told Mr Nash: “For me to invest and not know what could come out of the woodworks, and I don’t have a business and my money is lost, it’s not a risk I’m prepared to take so I’m out.”

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But Mr Nash continued with his business and the Cup-a-wine was taken up by Marks and Spencer, who used it for their popular Le Froglet wine.

The retailer said the product was popular with train commuters and picnic goers who fancied a tipple.

The Le Froglet wine was launched nationwide and the business went on to be worth millions. Mr Nash also secured an investment from a private investor to boost his enterprise.

The entrepreneur said in a a video posted on the Dragons’ Den YouTube channel, that the business was expected to make three million to four million units, bringing in a turnover of £1.8million.

Other alcoholic inventions that flunked in the Den have still gone on to make millions of pounds.

The duo behind BrewDog were set to go on Dragons’ Den in 2009 but they never appeared on the show as the producers decided their idea was not original enough.

But the brewery company has gone on to become an international brand with its beers available at major supermarkets and with bars across the world.

The rejection from the Den inspired the founders to set up a crowdfunding campaign ‘Equity for Punks’.

The fund raised enough to build the world’s first crowdfunded brewery, in Ellon, which launched in 2013.

Founder James Watt said: “Looking back, despite how much of a setback it was at the time we are actually really happy we got turned down.

“It forced Martin and I to go back to the drawing board in terms of how to finance our business.”

Episodes of Dragons’ Den are available on BBC iPlayer.

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