Although it began without the best auspices, 2022 was a record year for Distillerie Bonollo SpA. Indeed, the Formigine-based group ended the year with excellent results at the distillery level: 30.2 million euros in sales (+12 percent compared to 2021), a pretax profit of 9.8 million euros and ebitda at 4.8 million. The positive performance is also evident in terms of the consolidated Bonollo Group, with 45.5 million in sales (+50% over 2021), a pre-tax profit of 20.3 million (+75%) and ebitda at 23 million.

“Fiscal year 2022 was certainly a singular year,” CEO Andrea Bonollo told Pambianco Wine&Food, “due to the strong worldwide speculation that arose as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, particularly with regard to the dynamics of energy costs.

However, the choices made by the company some time ago to try to move as close as possible to energy independence have made an important contribution. “The investments made in the past in the production of electricity from renewable sources (biogas and biomass) allowed us to mitigate what could have been a disastrous year for energy-intensive realities such as ours, turning it instead into one of the best in the Group’s history,” Bonollo concludes.

Although we did not suffer in our budget numbers from the pandemic, as “with great flexibility we immediately turned to alcohol to sanitize raw materials and plants for distillates, turning a problem into an opportunity,” Distillerie Bonollo also reckons with complex economic dynamics. “The Horeca market has been the most damaged by the covid,” the CEO points out, “and right now, while analysts were pointing to high expectations for a full recovery in out-of-home socializing, galloping inflation is taking away purchasing power and threatening to block sales again. It is clear that distilled spirits are not a commodity.” The large-scale retail trade, on the other hand, “continues to work at full speed on first prices and own-brand products, but does not want to recognize producers for the increases they have sustained from an energy and systemic point of view, thus risking bringing the Italian production fabric to its knees.”

Nevertheless, Distillerie Bonollo-which has also differentiated by accelerating the production of alcohol for transformation into second-generation biofuel-is not losing its focus on grappa. “Certainly we will always be present in the grappa market,” the CEO clarifies, “but if there is no change of course from the demonization of the use of alcohol (which today has gone as far as warnings on the label), consumption will be destined to decline, especially in Italy. Grappa is still a little known product in the world and little exported. It will be necessary to bring other foreign consumers closer to the flagship spirit as much as possible, with a process that will inevitably be slow, making culture and communicating its value well.”

From a promotional point of view, mixology can also play its part, although for Bonollo, “grappa is a particular product, with a strong personality. Bartenders normally use more neutral and inexpensive alcoholic bases, such as vodka or gin to give the necessary alcoholic contribution to their mixes. However, grappa allows very interesting paths, with new balances of flavors, to be introduced to the increasingly demanding consumer through conscious tasting. Mixology offers great opportunities for this product, with a strong unexpressed potential, especially in foreign markets.” And the Emilia-based company has led the way, creating with Nio Cocktails a box with four ready-to-drink blends to bring new generations closer using their consumption patterns.