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Former Canterbury schoolboy appears on BBC's Dragons' Den to pitch alcohol-free beer company Impossibrew


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A former Kent schoolboy has appeared on Dragons' Den to pitch his alcohol-free beer.

Entrepreneur Mark Wong, who attended St Edmund's School in Canterbury, appeared on the BBC One show this evening to promote his company and concept, Impossibrew.

Entrepreneur Mark Wong, who attended St Edmund's School in Canterbury, appeared on the BBC One show. Picture: BBC
Entrepreneur Mark Wong, who attended St Edmund's School in Canterbury, appeared on the BBC One show. Picture: BBC

Dragons' Den, which was first broadcast in 2005, gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business to successful investors in return for investment while offering a stake in the company.

The current lineup of investors is Peter Jones, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett and Touker Suleyman.

They praised Mr Wong's pitch but took issue with the price of the product.

The 24-year-old started studying alcohol professionally when he turned 18 and he became one of the highest scoring French Wine Scholars - a renowned wine tasting course.

He moved to the UK from Hong Kong with his brother at 13 - with his parents staying behind.

Touker Suleyman praised Mark Wong for his pitch. Picture: BBC
Touker Suleyman praised Mark Wong for his pitch. Picture: BBC

But he was forced to give up his love of drinking after he received worrying news about his liver.

And he soon discovered he missed the experience of boozing but none of the alcohol alternatives did it for him.

He told the Dragons: "I love beer but because of my health, I had to stop [drinking] two years ago.

"Since then, I’m on an impossible mission to find a healthier alternative to alcohol for when you don’t want to drink but still want to unwind with a pint.

"I found the solution when I went back home to Asia when I found a whole new world of functional plants with which my ancestors would brew teas with for their relaxing medicinal benefits.

Entrepreneur Mark Wong, who attended St Edmund's School in Canterbury, appeared on the BBC One show Dragons' Den. Picture: BBC
Entrepreneur Mark Wong, who attended St Edmund's School in Canterbury, appeared on the BBC One show Dragons' Den. Picture: BBC

“Inspired by this, I began brewing my own beer using these ingredients, and after two years, the Impossibrew Lager was born.

"It has only 49 calories per bottle and is packed full of active nutrients that support relaxation without drowsiness."

Mr Wong was seeking an investment of £45,000 in exchange for 10% of the company.

Steven Bartlett was the first Dragon to drop-out after saying it was “probably not” the best beer he had ever tasted and raising concerns with the product being able to standout on supermarket shelves against the likes of Brewdog.

Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman soon joined.

Mr Wong's last hope was Peter Jones, who said: "You’ve done everything right. You’ve pitched at the right amount. You’ve answered the right questions.

"Normally we’re saying, ‘Why don’t we just have a punt and let’s see where this goes?’.

"But the reason why I’m stopping, is ultimately, it comes back to penetration against product positioning and price.

"So I think you have a nice little business for you, but it’s not as exciting as the taste of the beer.

"Sadly, for that reason, I’m going to say that I’m out but good luck."

Speaking after the pitch, Mr Wong said: "I thought that it might be too early for them and I think that’s right but lessons learnt there. I think it will really help us move forward.

"I’m quite happy with what I’ve achieved so far, being 24, and I think there’s a lot more to come and I can’t wait."

Tonight's episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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