In the 1970’s, small liquor retailers and hoteliers faced a number of obstacles created by a market that was dominated by a small number of very large wholesalers. These obstacles included restricted marketing opportunities that did not always promote the interests of the smaller retailer and hotelier.
With this came what was then “just an idea” for a small group of liquor retailers to join together and purchase as a group. Founding members include Ivan Markich, Les Walker and the late Gary Sadler.
Gary Sadler, who was ILG’s longest serving staff member and nominated Licensee, formed a partnership with Ken Walsh, then Sales Manager for Gollin & Co., the largest liquor agent in the early 70’s to buy out a little wholesaler called Glenbrook Wines.
In February 1975, Ken Walsh approached Ivan Markich with a view of forming a new partnership to take over Glenbrook. The joint buying for Dural and Castle Hill Cellars started to expand with the acquisition of Glenbrook Wines. Other outlets within the Hills area were later invited to join in and buy together for mutual benefit. In a very short time, about 25 retailers were part of this buying group.
This buying group’ eventually registered a company called Berreca Pty Ltd to serve the activities of the group.
A key man contacted at the time was Les Walker who then owned the Epping Hotel and seven other liquor stores. Les Walker’s interest, support and the business generated through his outlets made the buying group more viable and the idea of a ‘co‑operative’ made possible.
The Independent Liquor Group Co-operative was formed in 1975 and by 1983 ILG was a full range wholesaler. An entrepreneur, Ivan Markich was certainly a prominent figure in the Liquor Industry at the time. He was 10 years president of the NSW Liquor Store Owners association, 5 years president of the Retail Traders Association, an early delegate to the Co‑operative Federation, a Director of the Ryde Catering College and of course Managing Director of The Independent Liquor Group Co‑operative.
In 2000, ILG underwent a restructure to fund its first purposely built warehouse distribution facility in Glendenning through the NSW Treasury loan granted to co‑operatives.
The process required the formation of a second co‑operative, The Independent Liquor Group Distribution Co‑operative Ltd. The original cooperative was renamed The Independent Liquor Group (Suppliers) Cooperative Limited, the entity that extends membership to the co‑operative’s Suppliers.
In 2006, the Independent Liquor Group Distribution Co‑operative Ltd was registered in Queensland to service the Queensland market.
In 2007, ILG moved from Glendenning to its second purposely built warehouse in Erskine Park Business Centre.
In 2016, ILG purchased its second warehouse distribution facility in Townsville to service Far North Queensland.
In 2018, ILG’s pilot liquor store launched in Bacchus Marsh. Our Victorian blueprint is aimed at driving more member benefits, providing a platform to try various commercial initiatives and consumer offerings to pass on to our members.
In 2019, ILG launched Fleet Street. The brand concept was developed to offer a particular group of merchants looking for a polished modern identity that will attract a fusion of clientele within their topographical community.
And as they say, the rest is history, from what the industry would term modest beginnings, ILG has become a significant player in the business of wholesaling and distribution of wine, beer, spirits, and other merchandise, to members across the states of ACT, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.