Dutch's Spirits Instagram
Dutch’s Spirits Instagram

This week, Tilman Fertitta meets with Ariel Schlein of Dutch’s Spirits.

Dutch’s Spirits is a moonshine company that offers spirits, bitters, kegs and more. According to the episode description, the company is struggling to bring their products into the mainstream. At their Harvest Homestead Farm, they “aim to follow in the footsteps of thousands of farm distilleries that once dotted the landscape before Prohibition— bringing added value to our crops, invigorating the community around us, and creating a destination where visitors can join us in our shared mission,” according to their website. Prices range from $4.95 to $39.95 on their website.

It's a Winter Wonderland here at the farm! ❄️

A post shared by Dutch's Spirits (@dutchsspirits) on

Given there is still a certain stigma attached to moonshine, Fertitta worries that sales would be an issue. He is, however, intrigued and likes the taste. He’s also disappointed that the company has no mixologist. Last year, they did $250,000 in revenue. Fertitta challenges him to test the moonshine at three different restaurants by designing cocktails for the different themes.

At family-friendly Bubba Gump, they like the taste, but find it too similar to rum. They worry about the stigma. At old-time Morton’s, they like the taste as well, however, high-end Mastro’s doesn’t receive the taste quite as well. They, too, question the stigma and believe it needs a little more “punch.” Given the feedback, Fertitta now challenges the company to test it with customers, but the challenge is sidelined when he learns it can only be sold in New York and New Jersey. Ultimately, however, they agree to test it in those locations. Testing it with millennials, including his son, Fertitta discovers that they don’t like the smooth taste.

In the boardroom, Fertitta is somewhat disappointed with the results of the sales in the two-week restaurant test. He likes the results in Bubba Gump, however, selling more than $2,700 over the two-week period. He still believes, despite liking the smooth taste, the stigma is far too great for both millennials and older generations. Schlein proposes a 6,000-cases purchase order at $200 per case, which Fertitta finds much too high for the issues they have already encountered. Ultimately, Fertitta declines to make an offer, but encourages him to continue focusing on distribution.

Social Media Reacts to Dutch’s Spirits’ Appearance on “Billion Dollar Buyer”

According to CNBC, the reality television show “introduces promising companies across the country to one of America’s most successful businessmen: billionaire hospitality mogul Tilman Fertitta, Chairman, CEO, and sole shareholder of Landry’s, Inc.” Featured entrepreneurs present their small business to Fertitta in the hopes that he will place a large purchase order. But before they make their pitch, they must prove to the hospitality mogul that their product is worth it through challenges and customer feedback.

What are your thoughts on Dutch’s Spirits? Did you think Fertitta should have made an offer? Sound off in the comments section below!