Just Wines rescues second company from voluntary administration

April 19, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Leading Australian online wine retail outlet Just Wines has announced the acquisition of craft spirit subscription service Liquor Loot in a deal believed to have been worth $1.2 million.

Liquor Loot, originally Whisky Loot, started as a service that provided subscribers with three 60ml serves of premium name-brand whiskies each month. In 2020, it expanded away from whisky for the first time to offer a similar subscription model based on gin. Since then, it has since broadened even further to also include tequila and rum. The Liquor Loot website also now doubles as a traditional e-commerce store.

Liquor Loot was forced into voluntary administration last month as a result of ongoing economic pressures. Since then, it has agreed to sell its business and assets to Just Wines through the appointed administrator from the Jirsch Sutherland insolvency firm. 

“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,” said Nitesh Bhatia, Founder of Just Wines.

Just Wines’ acquisition of Liquor Loot marks the retailers’ first foray into the sales of spirits. It is also the second time that Just Wines has purchased a company at the brink of collapse, following its purchase of Sans Drinks in August last year.

“Adding spirits into our portfolio marks a new category for Just Wines, which positions us as a comprehensive liquor and beverage company,” said Bhatia.

“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.”

Both the Liquor Loot and Sans Drinks voluntary administration processes were handled by appointed administrator Andrew Spring of the Jirsch Sutherland firm. 

“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,” said Spring.

“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.”

Joel Hauer, who founded Liquor Loot in 2016, is optimistic that the new ownership will mark a positive new chapter for both companies.  

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

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