„If it works here, then it works elsewhere”

August Ullrich and Philip Morsink from Moonshine O‘Donnell want to sell 120,000 jars with quality liqueurs. Soon also throughout Europe.



he two founders, August Ullrich and Philip Morsink, have their small office on the Udtinger Straße in Wedding. The aswer is: O’Donnell Moonshine – which is liqueur in a jar. August had the idea while he was in America. There, the term moonshine has been around since the prohibition era.

Sometimes, the neighbors come by and ask what kind of honey we sell

Spike O’Donnell was the “most shot at gangster of the country” and one of the protagonists in the bloody wars between the gangs during the prohibition of the 1920s. Even if today the founders produce their liqueur quite legally, the notorious jars, in which the alcohol was secretly transported then, is a leftover from those times.

Production started in their own living room. During the development process of the different liqueurs, different drinks were bought at the kiosk and mixed together spontaneously to see what worked. After suitable distilleries were found, they both moved to Berlin. The two evaluate Berlin as an interesting test market: “If it works here, then it works in other cities.” Meanwhile, besides the original, they have produced new liqueurs flavors like hard nut, baked apple and bitter rose. The hazelnut-nougat-caramel mixture is the newest creation of the two Colognians.

Both had no desire to go into a big company after graduation, so they just decided to jump into the cold water. The two have learned to value small successes and to have a lot of patience. With their six-headed team, they were able to sell 80,000 glasses last year. The target for 2017 is 120,000 glasses. A second office has just opened in London, and further internationalization is planned across Europe.

August and Philip have a special focus on the quality of the liqueurs. The segment of high quality liqueurs needs to be filled, and taste is the most important factor. This is also the most basic element in the food startup scene, says Philip. “Good marketing and a nice packaging alone will not get you far. For a product to be sold, it’s all about the taste. That has worked quite well for us so far”, he says, smiling. “If it tastes good to us, it tastes good to everyone.”