A SCOTS gin entepreneur has walked away from a partnership with Dragons' Den star Peter Jones after changing his mind over the investment.

Stuart Ingram shook hands with Mr Jones on an £80,000 investment in return for 10 per cent of his Aberdeenshire-based business House of Elrick, which included a new tartan and plans for a fine dining restaurant and distillery.

The businessman told dragons on the BBC show that the gin brand was built around his 18th century home Elrick House which he bought for £650,000 and had links around Bonnie Prince Charlie.


"We built a product around the Jacobite rose, based on Mediterranean citrus and juniper with an additive of heather and this is the only spirit to use Loch Ness as a water compound," he announced.

On the show, which was aired on Sunday, he turned down a rival offer from cash machine entrepreneur and former banker Jenny Campbell for all the money and 12 per cent of just the gin business in favour of Mr Jones' offer for the whole of his enterprise.

After they shook hands on the deal, Mr Ingram said: "Nothing venture, nothing gained."


A surprised Mr Jones said as Mr Ingram told him of his preferred option: "Wow, awesome." He added: "So chuffed."

But Mr Ingram from Newmachar changed his mind after the show was recorded last year, because he did not want to give away a slice of his "whole estate" as agreed.

“I am so delighted they loved the product enough to invest – I was quite overwhelmed with the response. But ultimately, it wasn’t the right decision for me or the brand," said Mr Ingram, who has planning permission for a distillery and a restaurant in the grounds of Elrick House which he bought for £650,000.


"It took a lot to turn down £80,000, especially from someone as renowned as Peter Jones. I just wasn’t prepared to give up 10% of my whole estate – it’s everything I’ve worked for and it needs to be completely my own.”

Mr Ingram, who works as an oil and gas contracts engineer, decided instead to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign following a meeting with Mr Jones’ investment manager in London.

He added: “What had been offered and what I accepted, I thought, was investment in the whole of the business.


“His interpretation when I turned up in London was that he was getting 10 per cent ownership of my land and assets as well.

“I wasn’t trying to offer up 10% of what Stuart Ingram owns. House of Elrick just operates from my premises.”

The pair reached an agreement after Peter Jones had insisted on having a take on the whole business, including the house.


He said on the show: "This business is based around the House of Elrick. It's a lovely back story.. Owning part of the house, why would you not come in and pitch that? Are you willing to talk about that?"

Mr Ingram replied: "I am willing to talk about that. But I think that if I add that in that's obviously an increase in what we need for investment."

The startup business owner had predicted £640,000 in sales in year two after turning over £85,000 in his first six months and £1.3 million in year three.


Mr Jones went on: "That makes much more sense to me if you are happy with that, because the House of Elrick, it's the whole business.

"You pitched the House of Elrick, and you pitched Bonnie Prince Charlie and it is all a good story. But then when you say I have a property that is £650k... to me it goes together as one. You were potentially willing to discuss that, because you see the whole vision and the whole package.

"So on that basis, I am going to make it difficult and make you an offer. I will offer all the money for 10 per cent of everything."


Fellow dragon Deborah Meaden dropped out after questioning the Scot's £1.3 million valuation of his business.

"You've made a mistake," she said. "I would not be exaggerating if I said to you in the last month I have had four gin companies asking if I would get involved in their business but not one of them has dared to come up with a valuation of over £1m," she said. For me, I have not heard any indicator that it will make that leap from a small craft gin to something that is going to be worth £1.3m."

Mr Ingram's pitch had been well received by the dragons on the show, particularly the sampling.

And Mr Jones admitted that "the more I drink, the more interested I get".


He added: "I do love sitting in this chair sometimes. Almost every pitch should start like this regardless of what their selling."

Mr Ingram added: “It was a bizarre experience pitching in front of the dragons. There were five businesses vying for investment that day and I was the last – I think the dragons were all pleased to see me with my bottles of gin!

“The House of Elrick Estate is pretty incredible and we have big plans. We’ve recently set up a crowdfunding page for our supporters to help us on our journey."

Aberdeenshire gin entrepreneur agrees investment with Peter Jones. Source: BBC