Manufacturer behind Cowboy liqueur placed in administration after two decades in business

Australia’s leading manufacturer of cream liqueurs has collapsed, with the spirits and pre-mixed beverages market coming under a significant amount of pressure during the past several years.

The Bacchus Distillery located in South Dandenong, Victoria, manufactures the popular liqueur brands Cowboy and Forbidden, a selection of pre-mixed and ready-to-serve drinks, Damirov vodka and a number of products under its own Bacchus brand.

On September 9 the business was placed in administration, with Bruno Secatore and Daniel Juratowitch appointed as administrators from Cor Cordis.

SmartCompany contacted Secatore and Juratowitch, but no comment was available prior to publication.

Bacchus Distillery products are currently distributed by Epoch Wine Group, a partnership formed in July this year.

The manufacturer was established in 1994 and has grown to be the largest cream liqueur manufacturer in the Asia Pacific Region. As well as manufacturing products, the company has a research and development team dedicated to formulating new products and improving existing recipes.

In 2005 the distillery won a federal government grant for SMEs and received $335,748 to develop the technology to produce a clean wine spirit aimed at delivering a low-cost, high-quality product.

Bacchus Distillery chief executive Damien Hajdinjak moved to Australia in the 1980s. His family had a long history in alcohol manufacturing in Croatia, and they had previously produced premium liqueur for the royal courts of Europe.

SmartCompany contacted Bacchus Distillery, but no one was able to comment prior to publication.

According to IBISWorld, the spirit and liqueur manufacturing industry in Australia turns over $507.3 million annually.

Over the past five years IBISWorld found the industry has grown at 0.4% per year.

“The spirit production industry grew moderately in the three years ending 2007-08, buoyed by strong growth in consumption of RTD spirits,” IBISWorld says.

“This run of growth came to an end in late 2008 as the federal government increased excise on RTDs and a deteriorating economic climate causes dales of these products to slump.”

Domestic manufacturing of spirits represents a relatively small proportion of the $5.2 billion market and the local industry is dominated by some major players. Diageo Australia and ILNZ Group Holdings dominate almost 50% of the market collectively.

In the next five years IBISWorld predict the industry to grow at 2.7% per annum, with modest growth a result of a weak consumer environment and competition from other alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine.

You can help keep SmartCompany free for everyone to read

Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.

That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.

Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany Supporter.

Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.

And it’s not all one-way traffic either. SmartCompany Super Supporters get to dial into our monthly editor’s meeting and attend a monthly, invite-only webinar with a big-name entrepreneur.