Sussex man's rum business soars after Dragons' Den appearance

Paul Stanley with his Cloven Hoof rum. Photo by Steve Robards
Paul Stanley with his Cloven Hoof rum. Photo by Steve Robards

A Sussex man's rum business has soared since he appeared on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den.

Paul Stanley sent this year’s five dragons wild with his Cloven Hoof spiced rum and was even told by multi-millionaire Peter Jones his pitch was ‘one of the best he had ever seen’.

Photo contributed

Photo contributed

The 43-year-old, who lives in Haywards Heath, did not walk out with investment from the dragons but said since he appeared on the popular TV show online sales have ‘absolutely rocketed’.

“This week my rum has been the top selling rum on Amazon and things have gone crazy,” he said.

Paul appeared on the first episode of season 17 of the show and asked dragons Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Touker Suleyman, Tej Lalvani and new dragon, Sara Davies, for an investment of £50,000 for a five per cent stake in his business.

He was joined by rock band Ryders Creed, which sang a song about drinking rum.

Photo contributed

Photo contributed

But the father-of-three revealed his appearance on the show was just a publicity stunt as he had already been offered a £60,000 investment from two ‘drink experts’.

“I wasn’t particularly nervous as I did a deal backstage before I went on but I thought, let’s ask for a bit more equity,” he said.

“It was going really well, they all loved the product, Deborah Meaden nearly made an offer but I didn’t want to give away half of my business.”

Paul revealed to the dragons that he had made a better deal elsewhere so he walked out of the den with no offers. He said the dragons ‘have missed out on an opportunity’.

"I valued their expertise and knowledge but their egos are as big as their bank balances,” he commented.

Paul owned a pub in Oxfordshire for nine years before seeing a gap in the rum market. His spirit now sells in 400 pubs and bars across the country.

He said: “I was fed up and disillusioned with all the bland pirate branded Caribbean rums imported in bulk, flavoured with fake flavours.

“So I got off my backside and did something about it and imported aged rum from Guyana and Trinidad and flavoured it with natural spices.”

To find out more about Cloven Hoof, visit or follow the business on Facebook @clovenhoofrum and Instagram @clovenhoofrum.

Two Worthing-based entrepreneurs have secured £60k investment for their business, The Great British Porridge Co, after appearing on Dragons' Den.

Founder, Jacqueline Barleycorn along with business partner, Matt Hunt who is also founder of The Protein Ball Co., endured a one and a half hour grilling in the den.

Their pitch included bears dancing to playful music wearing Union Flags and saw all five Dragons making offers.

Read more here: Worthing entrepreneurs secure £60k for porridge business on BBC2 show Dragons' Den