In less than a year-and-a-half, the Very Good Butchers have brought their vegan products to thousands of Greater Victoria residents and now — via TV — they’ll showcase their products to infinitely more people across the country.
On Nov. 29, co-owners and bean butchers James Davison and Mitchell Scott’s episode on Dragons’ Den is set to air at 8 p.m.
“There were definitely some nerves,” Scott said of filming their segment. “There was a lot of last-minute rushing around and making sure everything was perfect. Once we got into the Den, the nerves went away. We’d rehearsed and practiced a lot.”
In Victoria, the Very Good Butchers tapped into what vegans were looking for — after more than 1,000 people showed up on opening day, they had to close their doors for a week while they restocked. They were already successful on the farmers market circuit before opening a storefront, now located in Victoria Public Market, where they sell plant-based meat alternatives and serve meals. They’ve expanded online, where customers can subscribe to monthly deliveries of an assortment of their vegan goods, and also ship across North America.
“I think it’s a reflection of the moving shift toward vegan and plant-based food. Especially over the past few years; more and more people are looking to reduce their meat intake. I think our products fill a special niche,” Scott said.
The Very Good Butchers are one of only two vegan butchers in Canada. There is only one in the U.S. Beans, veggies and herbs are prepared to mimic burgers, sausages and other traditional meats like steak. It’s the artisan handcrafted aesthetic and their organic ingredients that draws in customers, Scott said.
“It still a unique concept, which I think is also one of the reasons we had a lot of people show up on our opening day.”
Davison and Scott auditioned for Dragons’ Den back in April when there was an open call in Victoria, in hopes of finding investors. The company is currently running a fundraising campaign for new investors.
The Very Good Butchers isn’t the only Victoria-based company to appear on Dragons’ Den this season. On Sept. 27, Jill van Gyn of FATSO peanut butcher pitched her all-natural spread to the panel of dragons.