“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!”
How did you decide to go into business for yourself making egg liqueur?
It really was a “spirited” idea, so to speak. I wasn’t thinking about business at all at first. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was invited to a New Year’s party in 2012. Everyone was supposed to bring something, and I decided to combine the rest of all the bottles of schnapps I had and make egg liqueur out of it. I ended up creating some crazy things, including one featuring the French vodka that is now the base for Eierlikörz. It was so well received that people started asking whether I might be able to make liqueur for friends and family during the year at some point, too. And then, just for kicks, I started a Facebook page. At some point, the word was out, and I started hearing from bars and restaurants around Chemnitz.
There’s even a German egg liqueur championship, which you participated in. Tell us about it!
Right, it was in Oberwiesenthal in 2014. I made a long drink with egg liqueur, and the judges obviously liked it. I came in first!
It's a big jump to go from being passionate about egg liqueur to starting your own business. How did you end up taking the plunge?
Why do you think egg liqueur has such a cult following?
It’s an emotional subject for many people. I’m one of them myself. When I was little, I always got my grandmother’s waffle dessert cup after she had drunk the liqueur out of it.
How many bottles do you sell each month? What flavors do you carry?
It varies a lot with the seasons. We don’t do much business in the summer, but we're really busy at Christmas and Easter. We produce an average of 1,000 liters a month in five different flavors: Traditional, Hazelnut, Coffee, Coconut, and Salted Caramel.
What’s the secret of your egg liqueur? Do you rely on a specific ingredient?
I can’t give away my secret, but what I can tell you is that we use a quintuple-distilled French vodka as the base alcohol. It is made from grapes, and it brings a character all its own to our products.
What were your biggest challenges in the early years, both personally and as a businessman?
Just not having a clue. I was breaking in from a whole other industry, and I sort of just fell into it. And the strategy I chose, of trying to grow on our own steam and take small steps, also ended up taking a lot of time and energy. We’ve moved three times in the past five years, and we’re actually already looking for a new spot again.
You’re a Chemnitz native. Do you enjoy living and working in Saxony, and if so, why?
Not entirely. I feel about it like the title of the song by Kraftklub, the city’s best-known band: I’m from Karl-Marx-Stadt. To me, it just wasn’t an option to move away just for work once I finished school, although I did think about it at times. I just like living here too much. In the winter, I can be at the slopes to ski in 45 minutes, and in the summer, it takes just 45 minutes to get to the Neuseenland lake district.
Did you benefit from a special environment here as a startup?
Definitely! Chemnitz still offers a wealth of potential and room to grow and develop in general. Although it’s still a little rough around the edges at points, it does have a distinctive charm waiting to be discovered. True, though, you might have to dig a little to find it. Rents are still pretty affordable, too, which means the conditions are great for starting a business. But I do have to say, compared to other cities, we’re starting from a bit of a disadvantage here. It took quite a bit of work to convince people that high-quality products don’t sell for discount prices. I like to say Chemnitz is like New York, in a way. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.