Beer is already delicious, sure. But even during our first months of college no house party (at least not the good ones) went down without this one spicy tomato schnapps. Naturally, there were plenty of these parties going on when we, five friends fresh on campus, stood on the “Hamburger Berg” (a famous strip in the heart of Hamburg’s entertainment district) one night. It was there and then that we came up with the idea to share that special drink with more people than just our friends.
Sure, our secret recipe was already pretty tangy. We had dabbled with the ingredients, refined the mixture and perfected every step of the process. But how do you get your own booze bottled and how do you get your favorite bar to serve it? Our dorm room kitchen sure didn’t have the answer.
No money in our pocket, let alone the bank, we came to realize that our own bottling plant was out of the question for now. Eventually, help came in the form of a small cidery in the heart of Hamburg. Here, so we were told, we could pay off our debt for their bottling services by squeezing apples at their plant. Suddenly, we started learning as much about apples as we knew about tomatoes and chilies, all the while saving the money we didn’t have. It was at another one of those parties where we proudly presented the first bottles of our very own Lioko Mexikaner. L-I-O-K-O, five letters to represent the five friends who once founded Lioko.
In the meantime, Lioko Mexikaner’s fan base has spread far beyond Hamburg’s borders. From Flensburg to Munich and from Dusseldorf to Berlin party-goers enjoy that spicy schnapps from the coast. Today, more and more hard-working hands are making this success possible. And just like back in the early days, we value few things higher than our independence. Independence from the titans of our trade, investors, banks and the like. To this day, Lioko is headed by a founder and still finds itself as the David on the liquor shelf, surrounded by the brands of giant global players.
Ultimately, we’re trying to be like our Lioko Mexikaner: maladjusted and straightforward – “Mundfeuerwerk statt Zuckerflash”.