What is your company background, how did you start the business?
Hugh and Christine Steadman were founders of the company and remain directors and 50 percent owners, though no longer involved in line management. In 1988, the Steadmans had a pear and cherry orchard on the outskirts of Blenheim. Hugh was experimenting with the distillation of essential oils out of native plants. Showing some of his samples to French companies involved in the perfumery business, he met a Robert Wuest, whose family had been artisanal distillers of fruit brandies in Alsace for many generations.
Due to a change in legislation, Robert was the first in his family not to inherit the license to distil. He offered to transfer all his family’s know-how and suggested a joint venture in New Zealand as a boutique distillery of fruit alcohols.
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Prenzel was the first company in New Zealand to:
- Set up a commercial artisanal distillery of fruit brandies.
- Establish a food service business manufacturing all natural fruit and alcohol flavours (it remains the largest operation doing so in New Zealand).
- Retail alcoholic beverages via party plan and then via MLM.
- To produce an alcoholic mulled wine concentrate. Simply add boiling water and drink!
- To produce a concentrate (Vincon White and Vincon Red) to be used in kitchens and by food manufacturers that acts as a substitute for a reduction of table wine.
- As a distillery, to be registered as a certified halal manufacturer of a specific product
- To produce in New Zealand natural herbal and fruit infusions of cooking oils and seas salts.
- Spirit manufacturer to develop a retail range of non-alcoholic food items that accounted for more than 50 percent of the company’s sales.
- To win medals in every international competition ever entered (perhaps not an New Zealand first!)”
Has there been any recent company news?
“Our most recent new product launches were Mulled Wine Zero – an alcohol free mulled wine, and Prenzel Bacon Salt – everything tastes better with bacon!”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“The company is expecting significant investment towards the end of 2017. We hope this will enable us to introduce many more people, both in New Zealand and beyond, to the unique Prenzel range. Watch this space!”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Our ‘Winter Fire’ mulled wine mixer (just add hot water!) is stocked by all Foodstuffs outlets in the South Island and bottom of the North, in addition to many independent liquor stores. Other selected Foodstuffs outlets also stock some of the infused oil range. We also have a number of stockists around the country, who stock our alcohol and culinary products.”
“Food service and manufacturing sales are handled directly from the main office. Unbeknownst to them, Prenzel products reach the mouths of thousands of Kiwis through this channel when they eat other food companies’ products ranging from patisserie to meat pies and from cheese to chocolates.”
“The full range of retail products is available from a growing number of retailers around the country, from our on-line shop and from the Distillery’s cellar door on Blenheim’s Riverlands Estate.”