About Us

           The ALTVATER GESSLER - J.A. BACZEWSKI Companies, which enjoy a centuries’ old world-wide reputation for producing the highest quality of alcoholic beverages, can look back to the first half of the 17th century for their origins.  The original Company was founded in Bromberg, Pomerania,  under the name “GEIGER BROTHERS, Spirits and Rosoglio [1] Production”.  It remains a family-owned enterprise to this day.

            In 1777, after Austrian annexation of Bukovina, a branch of the original Company was established in Czernowitz, the capital city of Bukovina.  Enlarged by marriages, two more branches were established, one in Lwow (Lemberg) in 1782 under son-in-law Joseph Baczeles, later known as J.A. BACZEWSKI, the other in Zuckmantel, Silesia, under the second son-in-law, Paul GESSLER.

            In 1873, the original Company, which by then was supplying the entire Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy and all corners of the Empire, was reorganized in Jägerndorf (Krnov), Silesia.  During the Monarchy, the brand name “ALTVATER” gained world renown under the popular slogan “3 Worte: Altvater-Gessler-Jägerndorf”.  The Company was permitted to use the title “Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Household”, and in the 19th century participated in some of the most important world exhibitions.

k. u. k. Hoflieferant

            The GESSLER Company, as it was then known, was honored with gold medals in 1888 in Melbourne and St. Petersburg, and in 1889 in Barcelona and Brussels.  In 1900, it received the gold medal in Paris and in 1904, in Vienna.  These awards attest to the world-wide reputation the Company had earned as a result of its tradition and the high quality of its products.  The Imperial and Royal Chemical Laboratory in Vienna attested to this quality in 1886, in an endorsement by its Chairman, Prof. Dr. Richard Godeffroy regarding the especially beneficial characteristics of the ALTVATER herb liqueur [2].

            After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, independent branches of the Company were founded in most of the countries originally constituting the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and licenses were granted to such branches for the manufacture of GESSLER products in Vienna, Budapest, Czernowitz, Bielitz (Bielsko) and Agram (Zagreb).  The Jägerndorf branch continued according to its old tradition, while another branch, founded in 1834 in Mocker, Prussia, was transplanted to Berlin-Hohensee where it merged with the venerable house of DANZINGER GOLDWASSER “DER LACHS”, founded in 1598.

             After the Second World War, most of the branches in Eastern Europe were nationalized and became state operated.  The House of Vienna alone remained owned by the GESSLER family and was run for 60 years by its patriarch Eduard Gessler, who also reacquired J.A. BACZEWSKI, originally established in Lwow in 1782. 

             Under Eduard Gessler’s guidance, ALTVATER GESSLER and J.A. BACZEWSKI   reunited under the combined name ALTVATER GESSLER- J.A. BACZEWSKI, with its   principal    place of  business in Vienna.

Eduard Gessler

             The reconstituted Company continued to specialize in quality alcoholic products for domestic consumption in Austria and for export to various countries in various continents, to include Australia, Africa, Europe and North America, most notably the United States.  Its centuries’ old reputation and record of quality led to its being selected as the only representative of the Austrian liquor industry at the International World Fair in Chicago in 1950.

             Eduard Gessler was responsible for the reintroduction of J.A. BACZEWSKI VODKA MONOPOLOWA.  MONOPOLOWA is a distinctive potato vodka, produced of a traditional formula, imbued with a distinct intensity, smoothness, depth of flavor and complexity of character, all attributable to a “back-to-basics” tradition of being distilled from potatoes. (Vodka, native to Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, as well as Russia, was traditionally assumed to be made from potatoes.  Presently, most other vodkas are produced from grain.)  

              Following Eduard Gessler’s death in 1979, his son Elek Gessler consolidated the affairs of both traditional companies into one new legal entity in 1980, which to this day is known as “ALTVATER GESSLER - J.A. BACZEWSKI, GmbH”, an Austrian corporation.

Elek Gessler

              In 1983, Elek Gessler established ALTVATER GESSLER - J.A. BACZEWSKI INTERNATIONAL (USA) INC., a New Jersey Corporation, to manage United States operations.

             Sadly, Elek Gessler passed away on May 9, 2008.  However, true to tradition, both companies continue to be managed by the Gessler family.

              To this date the ALTVATER GESSLER - J.A. BACZEWSKI Companies continue to produce specialized quality products for domestic consumption in Austria and for export to a variety of countries, in particular to the United States.   

[1] Rosoglio or Rosolio is a sweet cordial made from raisins, whose flavor was originally extracted from the rosolio plant.

[2] The ALTVATER herb liqueur, also simply known as “Altvater” or “Altvater Kräuter-Liquor”, is produced to this date and is considered one of the most traditional of alcoholic beverages in Austria.




Altvater Gessler - J.A. Baczewski
Likörerzeugung Gesellschaft m.b.H.
Strobelgasse 2/6

Tel.: +43 2247 70 70

Firmenbuchnummer  98516 b
Handelsgericht Wien

Behörde gem. ECG.: Bezirkshauptmannschaft Gänserndorf

WKO: Wirtschaftskammer Niederösterreich

UID Nr.: ATU 59052599