The Manchester moonshine drinks firm bidding for a Dragons’ Den investment

The Northern Quarter drinks firm are a bit hit at Christmas markets - but did they win a slice of the Dragons’ cash?

A Manchester-based company pitched their handmade spirits on Dragons Den.

German-born entrepreneur Max Ruether presented his business O’Donnell Moonshine - which sells a prohibition-style liquor - on the BBC1 series to ask for £200,000 in return for 5% equity.

And while Mr Ruether could not secure an investment in his business, Peter Jones and Sara Davies were both impressed by the drink’s taste and look.

Max with his business colleagues on Dragons Den

Mr Ruether appeared on the show dressed as a 1920s American bootlegger to sell the wheat-based booze concept to the judges.

The dragons sampled the product – and the 25 % alcohol had some eyes crossing.


Veteran Dragon Peter Jones tries O’Donnells Moonshine Credit: BBC iPlayer

Despite the success of the drink, the company’s finances did not convince the dragons, who said they were concerned that the business was overvalued for their liking.

But dragon Sara Davies said: “It (the drink) is so cool. I couldn’t love it any more and it tastes amazing.”

Peter Jones was equally impressed, and said: “I’ve not seen anything like this before…it’s nice, I like it.”

After the show, Max said: “Whilst it was disappointing not to have received investment, it’s important to pick out the positives from my experience on The Den.

“The feedback was really encouraging and tells me that the brand and products are absolutely on the right track.


“It’s certainly not the last you’ll hear of O’Donnell Moonshine. For us it’s only the beginning.”

O'Donnell Moonshine

O’Donnell Moonshine offers customers a quirky drinking experience that combines new and recognisably-flavoured spirits in stylish mason jars, with stories of the US prohibition era printed on the backs.

Their best-selling Tough Nut hazelnut and caramel nougat moonshine goes for £24.90 per 700ml bottle – other flavours include wild berry, sticky toffee, and lemon drizzle - and they are a popular feature at Christmas markets.

They are based in Little Lever Street in the Northern Quarter.