zwack unicum


"This is a Unicum" - this short but pithy statement by Joseph II, Emperor of Austria and King of the Hungarians, around the year 1790 marks the beginning of a spirits and brand career that is extraordinary in every respect. Unicum is a bitter herbal liqueur produced according to an ancient secret recipe by Zwack in Budapest. A unique speciality that is finding more and more friends all over the world.

Unicum has long been a national drink in Hungary - with an imperial and royal past and an eventful history. It was none other than the personal physician at the Austro-Hungarian court, Jozsef Zwack, who composed a bitter herbal liqueur at the request of His Majesty. This elixir, however, remained reserved for the court and the king for only a few years, for soon word had spread of its extraordinary taste. The beginning of a unique story had been made, or - to speak with Joseph II - a "Unicum" had seen the light of the spirits world.

In 1840 Lajos and Joseph Zwack founded J. Zwack & Cie. in Budapest. In 1895, the young company was the first and only firm in Hungary to be granted the privilege of calling itself the imperial-royal purveyor to the court. In 1948, the Zwack family is expropriated by the communists and flees to the USA. In 1958, the Zwack family returned to Europe and began producing "Unicum" in Italy. Finally, in 1988, with Peter Zwack at the helm, the family is able to return to Hungary as the fifth generation of company owners and buy back the factory. One year later, the Zwack Unicum Budapest Ltd. is founded.

The Zwack family has preserved the secret recipe of their ancestors to this day and continues to guard it carefully. How it is ultimately composed is currently known only to the Zwack family. It is they who, year after year, combine the more than 40 different and carefully handpicked herbs from all corners of the globe into a unique blend that forms the basis for further processing. After almost 20 years in office, Peter Zwack handed over the management of the company to his son, Sandor Zwack, in June 2008, with his sister, Izabella Zwack, also joining the family business as a member of the supervisory board. Peter Zwack passed away in August 2012 at the age of 85 after a fulfilled life for the family and the company.