Hogsback Brewing Company Takes on the Big 5 from Dragon’s Den

Four friends, united by service in the Canadian Forces and then as business partners are hoping to score a deal with Mr. Wonderful and the rest of the dragons on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. Ottawa’s own Hogsback Brewing Company will appear on the January 29th episode at 8 p.m. on CBC. For these brewing masters, pitching in front of the business gurus was an experience they were happy to have.

“All of them were really great,” said Jerry Demetriadis, one of the four Hogsback partners. “The dragons were all talking to Jim Treliving about the beer industry since he owns a number of bars and chain restaurants. David Chilton was really helpful and also understood the industry. Arlene Dickinson gave us great tips about packaging and product placement and Bruce Croxon was the best in really understanding what we were all about. Kevin O’Leary was the least receptive but his goal is to make money fast and the beer business is not going to do that.”HogsBack on Dragons' Den 3

Grabbing a coveted spot on the show began when Paige Cutland, another Hogsback partner, completed an online application to appear on the Den. Demetriadis explained that a few months went by and they never thought more about it until CBC came calling.

“In all honesty, we weren’t really interested in a deal at the time but they were persistent and said how much they liked our product and thought we’d be good for the show,” he added. “We decided to get serious and figure out how much of an investment we’d ask for. We created a pitch and did a dry run with the producers in my living room.”

Taping took place in late spring and took about 45 minutes for them to complete their pitch.

“Waiting to see the dragons was really nerve wracking because they’re famous and it’s national TV,” said Demetriadis. “They’re really great about getting that nervousness out of you quickly though with casual conversation and trying to make us feel relaxed.”

HogsBack on Dragons' Den 4The dragons sampled two Hogsback specialties: the gold-medal winning Vintage Lager and the fan-favourite Aporkalyse Now Oatmean Bacon Stout.

“I can’t reveal too many details about our pitch but we basically wanted to know if we were to expand, where could we?” he said. “We are a craft beer and until we get to the point where our volume is high enough to sustain a national brand, we’re comfortable in Ontario.”

Hogsback Brewing Company was established three years ago and has since made headway on the craft beer scene, including a GOLD award, People’s Choice award and Newcomer of the Year award at the 2012 Ontario Brewing Awards. Demetriadis said it’s an exciting industry to be a part of, especially since Ottawa has seen so many other new craft breweries spring up like Beyond the Pale and Broadhead.

“It’s a great indication of what’s happening in the beer industry and that craft beer is really becoming popular,” he said.

As for their hope in appearing on Dragon’s Den, he said he and his partners were hoping for two main things.

“We wanted the national exposure that comes from being on the show and hopefully offers from other investors who see us on it,” Demetriadis said.HogsBack on Dragons' Den 2

For more information on Hogsback Brewing Company, visit www.hogsback.ca.