Online retailer The Whisky List barrels into festivals with The Whisky Show acquisition

Online retailer The Whisky List barrels into festivals with The Whisky Show acquisition

The Whisky List founder Oliver Maruda.

Australia's largest whisky tasting festival has been acquired by the country's largest online-only retailer of the spirit after The Whisky List purchased The Whisky Show for an undisclosed sum.

Starting as a side hustle in 2018 for Oliver Maruda, who at the time headed up innovation at Arq Group in Sydney developing apps for the likes of Qantas (ASX: QAN) and the NSW Rural Fire Service, The Whisky List has rapidly grown its retail presence and industry impact.

Maruda recognised a gap in the market and soon acquired a liquor license and set up an online platform, focused not just on great prices, customer service and delivery, but also education and building a community of like-minded individuals with a motto of 'made by whisky lovers for whisky lovers'.

To support this vision, The Whisky List hosted virtual tastings to connect global distillers with an Australian audience, which eventually led to in-person tastings as well and the release of more than 25 exclusive bottlings.

The company now has eight full-time staff, a warehouse in Sydney, and is importing and distributing more than a dozen whisky brands from all over the world and Australia.

The Whisky List already has an ongoing partnership with The Whisky Show, travelling the country year-round showcasing some of the finest local and international whiskies. The Whisky Show has nine events locked in for 2024 in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane.

Bagpipes player at one of The Whisky Show's festivals.
Bagpipes player at one of The Whisky Show's festivals.

 

The events company was founded in 2012 by David Ligoff and Larry Aronson, who had previously worked together founding Australia’s first whisky specialist retail store, World of Whisky. 

Aronson has actually been an employee of The Whisky List since 2021 to lead its import and distribution division, having left The Whisky Show while retaining a small shareholding.

"David (Ligoff) and I had an absolute blast together in the past, introducing new whisky brands into the Australian market," Aronson says.

"Having The Whisky Show join with The Whisky List feels like family reuniting, whilst enhancing our ability to build brands and maximise value to our customers and exhibitors."

The Whisky Show co-founder David Ligoff.
The Whisky Show co-founder David Ligoff.

 

Ligoff will join The Whisky List full-time in the newly formed leadership role of director experiences and events.

"We’re immensely proud of what The Whisky Show brand has accomplished. For over a decade over 55,000 Australians have discovered new whiskies and made new friends at our festivals," Ligoff says.

"The TWL team has been a valuable partner for the last few years, helping us pivot quickly and stay connected by launching the first global virtual whisky festivals during lockdowns, as well as creating the world’s first whisky festival app which captures and shares real-time data on each SKU’s (stock keeping unit) performance to our exhibiting brands.

"Through partnering on innovations such as these, we realised our united capabilities significantly enhanced the overall Show experience for both consumers and trade. I’m personally looking forward to the next decade of Whisky Shows in Australia with our continued single-minded purpose of providing Australian whisky lovers with their favourite whisky festival."

Maruda says he is thrilled to welcome The Whisky Show to the company's growing family of brands and experiences.

"We’ve been working in close partnership with The Whisky Show for several years now, initially with the development of the Show App, facilitating the rollout of virtual shows and events during COVID lockdowns, and assisting the running of their pop-up bottle shop at each show," says Maruda, who was a finalist in the 2023 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Awards.

"Whilst the last couple of years has been a time of innovation and optimisation for The Whisky List, we’ve updated our operating model to better service our growing customer needs to be in line with what global leaders in whisky retail, such as UK-based The Whisky Exchange, have transitioned towards.

"The Whisky List is now one of Australia’s fastest growing whisky companies. The direct-to-consumer online store boasts a growing distribution portfolio of local and international whisky brands and is now complemented by a premium in-person festival experience with the addition of The Whisky Show."

Get our daily business news

Sign up to our free email news updates.

 
Unpacking equity: Finding your funding fit
Partner Content
Armed with a growing business and a great opportunity, a business owner’s next challe...
Australian Business Growth Fund
Advertisement

Related Stories

Space Machines Company’s partnership with Orbit Fab blasts into orbit aboard SpaceX Transporter

Space Machines Company’s partnership with Orbit Fab blasts into orbit aboard SpaceX Transporter

The mission by Adelaide-based Space Machines Company to deliver &ls...

Consortium seeks to transform Sydney’s Rosehill-Camellia into $25b ‘mini city’

Consortium seeks to transform Sydney’s Rosehill-Camellia into $25b ‘mini city’

A consortium comprising three major property groups and the Austral...

Survey finds founders 'more accepting of economic challenges' with earlier push to profitability

Survey finds founders 'more accepting of economic challenges' with earlier push to profitability

A survey of Australian founders conducted by law firm Herbert ...

Accenture buys marketing tech consultancy The Lumery as US giant bolsters Aussie base

Accenture buys marketing tech consultancy The Lumery as US giant bolsters Aussie base

Irish-American professional services company Accenture has acquired...