THE founder of a Scots cocktail business is hopeful an appearance on Dragon's Den will open "up a lot of doors". 

Panther Milk has developed a cult-following in Glasgow with venues across the city stocking the drink, but founder and chief executive officer Paul Crawford wants to make it available to more people. 

The alcoholic beverage is inspired by 'Leche De Pantera', which Mr Crawford discovered on a trip to Barcelona, and combines a number of spirits with oat milk.

And he is hopeful that an appearance on BBC's hit show will help it transition from a "cult underground thing to being a bit more readily available". 

"There are not many opportunities to present your product to nearly four million people in one go," the founder said. 

"As Sir Alex Ferguson says when an opportunity presents itself you should try and grab it with both hands."


However, Panther Milk has already seen a boost in business in recent weeks - opening around 20 new accounts with venues and retailers across Glasgow alone. 

Mr Crawford believes the deals made over the past two weeks showcase hospitality is beginning to recover from the pandemic.

READ MORE: Scotland's largest city named UK's most resilient of pandemic

He said: "I think basically it feels like the trade has actually gotten back to normal.

"The trade has taken such a battering over Covid that I kind of found a lot of people were firefighting and not really wanting to engage with new brands but over the last few weeks it feels like people are opening back up properly.

"It’s getting back to some kind of normality and people are interested in new brands and new concepts."

Mr Crawford believes a "wave of hope and optimism" has come back to the industry. 

The business already supplies well-known bars across Glasgow including west end locations such as Vodka Wodka and Bannamoon as well as popular city-centre bars like Howling Wolf, Slouch and Bier Halle.

Recently, Panther Milk has also agreed to supply clubs such as Cathouse, Subclub and the Berkeley Suite. 

However, they also distribute to locations in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and outside of Scotland to London and Liverpool.

"It’s got a real cult following in Glasgow, and people there have been really supportive and got behind it," Mr Crawford added. 

"Now we are finding the same as we are settling into Edinburgh and Aberdeen and just trying to take it around the country.

"It is getting a really good response wherever we go."

Before bottling and distributing the beverage, Panther Milk was launched as a secret pop-up bar in Glasgow in 2014.

It followed a trip to Barcelona when Mr Crawford used to co-own the city's nightclub Sub-Club.

He said: "I used to do club events in Barcelona as part of a music festival and one of the owners and promoters of a club over there took us to a bar in the Gothic Quarter.

"That is where we were introduced to this boozy milk concoction called Leche de Pantera."

After he and a number of DJs and promoters spread the word about the drink, the next year they returned to find the club "full of Glaswegians".   

The pop-up bar selling the drink continued to sell the drink for four years, but it was lockdown that saw it develop into the business it is now.

Mr Crawford said: "I’ve always had the goal to develop it as a drinks brand but during lockdown I got made redundant and I have just focused all of my efforts on getting Panther Milk to market."

Speaking about the expected broadcast of his go at presenting the business plan on Dragon's Den he said the team is "really excited".

He added: "Apart from me - I’ve got PTSD, I think. It is quite an ordeal going out there.

"You only have one take. You know you have to be on your game or you’re going to get savaged.

"Everyone’s really excited about it and hopefully it will be a great springboard for the brand."