This past year marked two significant milestones for South African business icon Mr Manny de Atouguia. He turned 70, and his company, Liquor City,celebrated 20 years in business. The fact that he is still very actively involved in everyday1 decisions pays testament to the hard work, perseverance, dedication and strong will that has seen him drive the growth of the brand, which now boasts a national footprint of over 300 stores and is set to soar into the year ahead.

Liquor City opened the doors to its first store, Liquor City Sofa Town, in 1994, with the goal of bringing affordable liquor to a broad market. Realising that the South African retailing liquor industry was short on world famous brands at that time, De Atouguia began importing a diverse range of products from several different countries; a bold move which has been a key success in stimulating company growth. These products now form part of the Liquor City exclusive Signature House Brands.

While originally a family business, in 2008 Liquor City made the decision to expand into the franchising/licensing arena, offering independent liquor business owners in South Africa the opportunity to grow in what is a saturated, highly regulated market. The franchise network now represents over 50% of the total business, and the company’s drive and focus is to service franchisees with excellence.

According to industry projections, the South African liquor market is expected to top R91 billion this year. Retail channels account for more than a third of the total and Liquor City believes continued growth can be achieved by smaller players who embrace franchising on the Liquor City model.

Benefits for prospective franchisees

The franchising strategy is based on affordable set-up costs, fixed monthly fees and advertising and market support, with access to the company’s internal systems and weekly newsletters offering ideas and suggestions. Franchisees benefit from Liquor City’s strong brand, 20 years’ experience as well as being included in the equity of Liquor City Signature House Brands. Many of these brands have achieved great success in the global market – Label 5 whisky, for example, is in the top 20 in the world by sales volume,
and is currently the top selling whisky in France.

Franchisees benefit from another of Liquor City’s unique selling points in that customers know and rely on the fact that they offer a wide range of products.

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