Lions Den 2018 – RECAP

Lions Den 2018 – RECAP

This was the third year Bradley Brand organised The Lion’s Den event at the Food and Drink Conference in CityWest. The event was targeting young Irish food companies who are ready to start exporting. The Lion’s Den is a similar concept to the Dragon’s Den where Irish food companies would have a set time to pitch their business and product to our Roaring Lion’s. This is then followed by a short ‘Q and A’ from the Lions.

Each finalist competes for the chance to win a free exhibition stand at the International Food Exhibition (IFE) 2019 in London. This prize which is valued at over €5,000 and offers the Irish start-up a chance to promote their food business to a global audience. The prize was supported by national and international PR coverage, exposure to Irelands largest stockists and €1,500 in expenses for the trip.


To engage food company participation a new visual identity for the event was needed along with the Lion’s den website which targeted young Irish food companies and allowed them to apply online. There was a significant increase in the number of applications under the new identity when compared to to 2016s event. Over 20 businesses looking to be chosen for final apply for the event each year.

The event kicked off on the main stage at this year’s Food and Drink Expo in the Citywest convention centre. Andrew Bradley, our Managing Director, was the moderator for the day. Our shortlist of food start-ups were  Drink Botanicals, Everest Granola, The Whiskey Experts and DropChef.




Our chosen Lion’s this year were successful food industry professionals which included Alison Cowzer from East Coast Bakehouse who is also known for her entrepreneurial expertise on RTE’s Dragon’s den. Gary Lavin founder and chairman of the hugely successful VITHIT- the low sugar, low calorie drink, Peter Hynes senior manager and head of Operations for Applegreen for his knowledge and expertise in the retail side of food production in Ireland and Jacquie Marsh an experienced managing director with leading brands within the Food & Retail industries and a Board member of the successful Butlers pantry.

Our Lions

The competition began with a presentation from Seamus Tighe of Everest Granola with his healthy and nutritious on-the-go breakfast granola pots. He told the Lion’s about his extended ventures into protein bars.

He was then followed by Andrew Rooney of The Whiskey Experts who explained his niche market services in whiskey tasting and training of staff in Whiskey heritage and expertise.

This was shortly followed by Laura McCarthy, founder of The Drinks Botanicals who presented her interesting range of Gin Fusion Kits which hold a niche in the market to add some flavour and style to drinking gin at home.

And finally, we had a pitch from Ryan Scott from DropChef- a company which delivers high-quality ingredients and instructions to cook meals in your home.
Our Lion’s and audience members enjoyed very tasty samples of all of the food and drink products and the judges assured each contestant it was a very tough decision to make.


After deliberation, Everest Granola was selected as the Lion’s believed Everest had the best potential to be exported. The ‘healthy on-the-go snacks’ market is ever growing in Ireland and the emergence of a yogurt granola pot brand has the potential of growing success internationally.

We wish Everest Granola- Seamus Tighe every success at the IFE in London 2019.

The Lion’s will return in 2019!