Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Liquor Loot acquired by Just Wines

Liquor Loot, the Australian craft spirit subscription service that went into voluntary administration (VA) in March this year, has been thrown a lifeline, with the business and assets of the company being sold to one of Australia’s leading online wine retailers, Just Wines. The sale was achieved by voluntary administrator Andrew Spring, Partner at business turnaround and insolvency specialist Jirsch Sutherland, who calls the result “another great example of how voluntary administration can be used to save businesses”.

Mr Spring, who last year arranged the sale of Sans Drinks to Just Wines, says the speed of the VA process enables administrators to focus on the best solution to preserve value for creditors and to save jobs. “In the case of Liquor Loot and, previously, Sans Drinks, we have acted like a ‘matchmaker’ in a way, in that we have brought two synergistic businesses together and helped effect a sale,” Mr Spring said. “The VA process takes the pressure off the directors and gives the business the best chance of survival. With Liquor Loot, partnering with an established, experienced online retailer will help improve the business and take it to the next level.”

Just Wines founder Nitesh Bhatia.

Just Wines founder Nitesh Bhatia says: “It would have been a shame to see Liquor Loot close its doors”.

“Over the last few years Liquor Loot has established a compelling brand, and its unique business model, where customers can sample products in small bottle formats before committing to a full bottle purchase, has proven successful, with over 61,000 customers placing orders in recent years,” he said. “Adding spirits into our portfolio marks a new category for Just Wines, which positions us as a comprehensive liquor and beverage company. This acquisition complements our existing offerings, which includes non-alcoholic options from Sans Drinks and overall spirits with Liquor Loot, thus broadening our market appeal and strengthening our competitive position. We are always on the lookout for opportunities in the liquor industry.”

Liquor Loot Founder and Director Joel Hauer.

Liquor Loot Founder and Director Joel Hauer says the sale marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Liquor Loot and that choosing to move forward with Just Wines “was a strategic decision”. “It offered us a unique opportunity to utilise their extensive warehouse facilities, leverage their logistics capabilities, and benefit from their experienced staff and shared overheads. This synergy between Liquor Loot and Just Wines is set to fast-track our path to profitability under the new ownership, creating a right-sized platform for success in a competitive market,” Mr Hauer said.

“I’m proud that the Liquor Loot brand will live on and continue to provide a rewarding experience for our loyal customers. I’m excited to see the brand grow beyond its current boundaries, recapitalised under new management to explore new markets and product categories including collaborations with the wider Just Wines group of businesses. My focus will be on ensuring that our core values of education, experience, and a high-quality curated selection of world-renowned spirits will continue to guide the company. I look forward to contributing to its future success and witnessing the brand grow and evolve, continuing to delight customers with exceptional liquor tasting experiences.”

Mr Bhatia added, “Joel will be instrumental in guiding Liquor Loot through this transition. His role will focus on leveraging his extensive experience to continue the growth trajectory of Liquor Loot, and our team will work closely with him to optimise operations and explore new market opportunities.”

Administration a tough but necessary step

Speaking about the decision to enter into voluntary administration, Mr Hauer says it was a tough but necessary step, aimed at securing the future of Liquor Loot and ensuring the best available outcome for all our stakeholders.

“The process involved navigating significant challenges, particularly in maintaining business operations and engaging with potential buyers to ensure they had the necessary context for an informed decision,” he said. “Working with the Jirsch Sutherland team has been a successful experience. Their expertise, empathy, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for all Liquor Loot stakeholders was evident throughout the process. They were able to provide clarity and support every step of the way and guided the team through some challenging circumstances with efficiency and professionalism.”

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