The Zwack story

Zwack Unicum is a liqueur distilled from over forty herbs from all over the world. It was invented in 1790 by one of the family’s ancestors, Doctor Zwack, royal physician to the Austro Hungarian Emperor. “Das ist ein Unicum!” Joseph II is said to have declared, thus giving this herb liqueur in its distinctive round bottle its name.

Ever since, Unicum has been known as the national drink of Hungary, its recipe a jealously guarded family secret, aged for months in oak casks in the cellars burrowing under the distillery. In 2012 Unicum Szilva or Plum was introduced, the first herb liqueur in the world to be aged on fruit in oak. The recipe for Szilva is exactly the same as the original Unicum but, due to the dried plums on which it is aged, it has a smooth and velvety taste which in no way detracts from Unicum’s strong character.

The Zwack Company was founded in 1840 by Jozsef Zwack and in 1892 moved to its present headquarters on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. Apart from a forty five year hiatus during the Communist regime, the Company has been in family hands ever since. The fifth generation heir, Peter Zwack, returned to Hungary in 1988 and together with his partner, the Underberg family, repurchased the distillery.

Peter Zwack died in 2012 having already relinquished his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors, which he had held since 1992, to his youngest son, Sandor, while his daughter, Izabella, is also a member of the Board.

Unicum is exported all over the world and is particularly strong in Italy, Germany and our neighbouring countries, while it has recently been launched on the Chinese market. Zwack is the leading importer and distributor of spirits and liqueurs in Hungary. Apart from Unicum, the Zwack Company’s flagship brands are Fütyülős, the famous fruit liqueur, Vilmos, a pear speciality, St. Hubertus, a bitter orange liqueur and the Zwack vodka, Kalinka.