A Manchester-based rum entrepreneur has done the whole region proud by winning a double investment on the hit TV show, Dragons Den.
Following the death of his mother in 2018, Tom Hurst took a step back from his twenty-year long career in the corporate drinks industry to chase his dream of launching his very own rum brand.
He made his first batch in his home in Worsley and thus, Rockstar Spirits was born.
His unique rum, which includes the overproof Grenade range and the Two Swallows brand, has gone from strength to strength and has since enjoyed a partnership with Coca-Cola and coverage on ITV’s This Morning, where it proved a huge hit with host Holly Willoughby.
So, after two foiled attempts at getting on the BBC show, Tom decided that this year was the time to finally seek an investment from the notorious Dragons on Dragons Den.
He appeared on the show earlier this month and despite the Dragons’ reputation, the entrepreneur received overwhelmingly positive feedback, particularly from Deborah Meaden, who described the product as ‘lovely,’ adding: “They look very good-quality so I’m expecting the drink in it to be lovely. You clearly know what you’re doing which is quite refreshing and a joy to listen to.”
He was helped during his pitch by bartender, Xavier Lequitte from Revolucion de Cuba in Manchester’s city centre, who created a cocktail called the ‘Dragons Daiquiri’ – a concoction of his own Two Sallows Citrus rum, pineapple and lime juice. The cocktail will be going on to the menu across all the Rev de Cuba sites in the UK later this month.
Tom was overjoyed with the outcome, saying: “My main goal was that they would like the products so once they all said they loved them I really relaxed and then when the offers started flying in.
“I was on cloud nine. The best moment was getting told I was an excellent entrepreneur which is quite something from the Dragons. I think I will get a t-shirt printed up with this on it to wear around the office.”
The hefty investment has helped Tom to gain a trade deal across the pond in Australia, where Rockstar Spirits will be stocked in 240 Woolworths stores across the country. The money is also been used to make new products and flavours for the Rockstar brand.
To check out Rockstar Spirits’ vast rum selection for yourself, click here.
Community village for homeless people in Manchester secures £3.5m in funding
The pioneering village will include a village hall, lots of green space, allotments and a multi-use sports area
A purpose-built community village for homeless people in Manchester has just received a massive £3.5m donation.
The Manchester-based charity Embassy first dreamt up the idea of the Embassy Village in 2021, envisioning a pioneering new safe and secure community for the city’s homeless and vulnerable men.
Embassy Village will provide forty purpose-built homes in a housing-led community, which will be built within a derelict site below the railway arches between the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell in the city centre.
Plans also include a village hall, lots of green space, mini allotments to grow vegetables and a multi-use sports area.
Embassy Village will operate as a housing provider rather than a shelter, and all potential residents will be interviewed and triaged. Only those who are ready and, crucially, keen to work will be offered accommodation.
While Embassy has been working with regeneration business and landowner Peel L&P, Capital&Centric to develop the village, it has now been gifted a huge £3.5m donation by The Moulding Foundation, an organisation that aims to tackle social inequalities that exist in the North of England.
The astonishing donation will ultimately pay for the construction of the Embassy Village
Jodie Moulding, founder and trustee chair of the Moulding Foundation, said: “We are hugely proud to be supporting Embassy Village with this incredible project, helping to reduce homelessness in Greater Manchester.
“The village will be transformational – in addition to safe housing, it will give residents the life skills, community support and access to the resources needed to lead thriving and healthy lives.”
Sid Williams from Embassy added: “To receive this extremely generous donation from The Moulding Foundation is just incredible and puts us in a position to get the village built sooner than we had expected.
“The latest government figures show that Manchester has the second highest number of people sleeping rough in England. This project is critical in helping us transform the way homelessness is tackled in our city, providing a long term and sustainable solution.”
The donation from the Moulding Foundation will fund the construction of the project, which will start later this year and is expected to complete in 2023.
Martin Lewis calls on ‘zombie government’ to intervene with soaring energy costs
Lewis described the situation as ‘desperate’
Martin Lewis has urged the government to ‘wake up’ as energy bills soar to unprecedented costs.
This morning, damning new figures presented by energy consultancy firm Cornwall Insight forecasted that, from January 2023, the average household will be paying over £4,000 for its annual energy bill.
The previous prediction was £3,729 – that’s a price increase of £650.
Following the grave announcement, the Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis briefly broke his social media sabbatical to issue a stern warning to the ‘zombie government’ about the impact these new prices will have on the British public.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Lewis slammed the news as ‘tragic’, writing: “The latest @CornwallInsight prediction, based on Ofgem’s new methodology, is an 81% price cap rise in Oct (taking typical bill to £3,582/yr) and a further 19% in Jan (so £4,266/yr).
“Action and planning is needed now. The zombie govt [sic] needs wake up sooner than 5 Sept.”
Criticising the government’s response to the crisis so far, Lewis went on to point out that these new figures equate to 45% of the full new state pension and swallow up the £400 ‘help for all homes’ scheme.
He continued: “This will leave many destitute. Tax cuts won’t help poorest [including] many elderly and disabled who’ve higher usage.”
Lewis then stressed that the ongoing leadership debate ‘must not ignore this portentous national cataclysm any more’, writing: “An action plan is needed TODAY.
“They are all in the same party, let’s call on them to come together for the good of the nation rather than personal point scoring. People’s livelihoods, mental wellbeing and in some cases, very lives depend on this.
“This is a desperate.”
Over 94,000 people have pledged to take part in Don’t Pay, a campaign protesting the rising energy bills. Those signed up to the campaign have vowed to cancel their direct debits to energy companies from October 1st if the situation hasn’t changed by then.
It is hoped that if enough people take part in the pledge, energy companies will be faced with no other choice but to reduce monthly costs.
Gogglebox’s Malone family ate at ‘rudest restaurant in Manchester’ and fans are loving the footage
There was no VIP treatment for this famous family…
Gogglebox’s Malone family endured a meal out at the ‘rudest restaurant in Manchester’ this week and, much to the delight of their fans, they documented the full and sweary experience.
While the Mancunian family are firm favourites on the Channel 4 reality show, they didn’t get any special treatment over at Karen’s Diner, whose staff pride themselves on being as rude as possible to those who dare dine in.
The restaurant, which opened in Prestwich last month, ensures each and every guest gets the ‘full Karen treatment’, celebrities and TV stars included.
So when the Malone family arrived for dinner yesterday, staff went above and beyond to make sure they were treated no differently to the other unfortunate guests.
In a video posted onto the official Malone family Instagram page, Tom Sr, Julie and their son Tom Jr could be seen being sat down by a waitress who reassured them they wouldn’t be getting any special treatment.
She was heard informing them: “Alright the Malone family. I know you’re on telly and everything, yeah, but I’m not treating you any different, you’re all s***s”.
Tom Sr seemed amused by the casual insult and, chuckling, responded: “Thank you very much… best compliment I’ve had all day.”
Later in the video, waiting staff sang an x-rated version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Julie, who had been forced to wear a paper hat emblazoned with the unsavoury title ‘Cheapest p***** on the council estate’.
Tom Sr and Tom Jr were also made to done the crude paper hats, one with the unfortunate title ‘TV w****r’ and the other with “Gaping a******e”.
Later in the video, Julie was seen being encouraged to down one of Karen’s Diner’s infamous shots, served in a miniature toilet cup, by a number of waiting staff and fellow diners, all of whom seemed delighted to have the Channel 4 stars in their company.
The video has gone down a treat with fans of the family and, rather than be put off visiting, many seem keen to pay the explosive diner a visit themselves.
One person tagged their friend and asked: “Can we go just for the laughs?” while another commented: “We need to go to Karen’s!!!!”.
And much to the delight of Gogglebox fans, the offical Karen’s Diner Instagram account later commented on the video: “Don’t come back unless you’re bringing Dave with you”.