Lake Paul maple syrup company appears on Dragons’ Den

Published on February 15, 2017

Hutchinson Acres owners Chris and Anna Hutchinson joined the company’s account manager Leanne Dobrota, far left, in pitching the Kings County-based businesses unique line of PURE Infused Maple Syrup on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.


BERWICK - Local syrup producers are in the midst of their first taste of fame.

The Hutchinson Acres maple sugar operation in Lake Paul hosted a screening of the company’s Dragon’s Den debut in the Berwick Lion’s Hall at 8 p.m. Feb. 15.

The television show features prominent Canadian business moguls looking for new ventures to invest in.

Hutchinson Acres owners Chris and Anna Hutchinson joined the company’s account manager, Leanne Dobrota, in pitching the unique PURE Infused Maple Syrup product line to the Dragons during a pre-recorded taping in May 2016.

“You come down those stairs and you walk out and they’re sitting right there in front of you. It’s intimidating,” said Anna Hutchinson.

“It was nerve-racking; there’s no way around it. We’ve never done anything like that before.”

“We’re standing there and there’s people putting makeup on ya, there’s another guy telling you where to stand, how to speak, where to speak, some guy is trying to get a microphone on,” her husband added with a laugh.

The audience at the screening in Berwick shared a few laughs with the Hutchinson trio as they too watched their Dragon’s Den appearance for the first time, and realized that the show’s editors had some fun with the fact that they fumbled their lines on a couple of occasions.

“We were definitely nervous and that was definitely portrayed,” Anna Hutchinson said with a chuckle.

The Hutchinsons asked the Dragons for a 225,000 investment in exchange for 20 per cent of their Pure Infused Maple Syrup business. They offered their potential investors taste tests of three dishes that demonstrated how the various Pure Infused flavours – vanilla cinnamon, nutmeg, lavender chai, maple gastrique and chipotle  - could be used for sweet and savoury dishes, or even cocktails.

Two Dragons bit after sampling dishes drizzled in Pure Infused Maple Syrup. Fashion pioneer Joe Mimran was the first to make an offer – $225,000 for 8 per cent royalty until his money is recovered and 20 per cent of the business after that point.

Franchise wise Jim Treliving, known for his work with Boston Pizza and Mr. Lube along with multi-million dollar sport and real estate ventures, agreed to invest $225,000 in exchange for 30 per cent of the business and a 50 per cent say in the company.

“I like the business,” said Treliving, on the show. “I like what you’re doing.”

Mimran ultimately withdrew his offer when the Hutchinson crew started negotiating with his counterpart, and Hutchinson Acres shook on a deal with Treliving.

Following the Feb. 15 screening, Anna Hutchinson said the negotiations with Treliving’s company are ongoing.

“They’re still supportive of us and we’re still going to them for advice,” she said.

“There’s a lot of due diligence to it. They don’t give out their money unless they are sure that they are going to get it back,” Chris Hutchinson added.

The Kings County-based company was invited to step into the den after participating in a trade show in Toronto. The show’s producers called three years in a row to extend an invite.  

With the Dragons’ Den episode behind them, the Hutchinsons say their 15 minutes of fame has done wonders for promoting their brand and they’re looking forward to continuing to spread the word about their innovative product throughout 2017.