When Craig Lieberman flew to Sydney to study for a Master’s Degree in International Relations in the mid-1990s, his goal was to be a diplomat. But not long after he arrived, the idea for another, very different, career started to take shape.
A self-confessed cheese junkie, Lieberman was bowled over by the great wine and artisan foods he found in Australia, and in 2003, he started a small importing business in Denver, Colorado, called 34° (the latitude of Sydney) supplying these items to specialty food stores.
But nothing was setting the world on fire apart from one line of thin, crêpe-like gourmet crisp-bread crackers that went perfectly with cheese - and pretty much everything else - and was selling like hotcakes.
It gradually became clear that this could be the start of something big, so in 2007 Lieberman found a co-manufacturer in Boulder to help him launch his own gourmet crackers under the 34° brand, and became a food producer and marketer, rather than an importer.
By October, 34° Crisps hit the market, and the gamble paid off, says Lieberman. And since then, he’s never looked back, and predicts he’ll do “over $10m” in revenues this year.
“There are so many really boring, generic water-type crackers out there. We want to reinvent what people think about crackers.”