The Hello Grappa project AssoDistil restarts in the USA

The dream really continues, as announced by AssoDistil, Grappa Ig is ready to fly overseas again.

The promotion project is restarting which over the years has welcomed the curiosity of many experts and more. Let’s talk about Hello Grappa! Project born in 2017 with a three-year duration and which, over time, has attracted various funds from the European Union. After a forced stop in 2020, the participating distilleries are now ready to restart. It will begin with a series of telematic appointments, within which there will be meetings between companies, industry experts and expert bartenders. All this while waiting for an improvement in the epidemiological framework that will allow them to fly to the United States to take part in ‘face to face’ meetings.

A project that means restart.

Hello Grappa! it not only represents the second edition of a promotion project, but also embodies a sense of restart, of rebirth. An entire sector that does not give up in the face of a difficult moment. In a market that has had to readjust quickly in the face of the health emergency, the inability to move. A sector that has completely revolutionized the methods of communication and that, despite everything, has never given up. Now is the time to start again, the American dream still continues.

Here are the distilleries that will take part in the project: Castagner Distillery; Distillerie Bonollo spa; Bonollo Umberto spa Distillery; Distillery G. Bertagnolli srl; Deta Distillery; Fratelli Caffo Distillery; Mazzetti d’Altavilla Distillery; Marzadro Distillery; Bepi Tosolini Distillery; Franciacorta Distillery and Poli Distillery.

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The “green turning point” of distilleries: 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide saved in 2019

500,000 tons of carbon dioxide saved, 300,000 megawatt hours of green electricity produced and over 300,000 cubic meters of installed potential for sustainable bioethanol: these are just some of the numbers in the “Sustainability Report” no. 1, presented by AssoDistil (National Association of Alcohol and Brandy Distillers), which tells the green turning point of one of the sectors, that of grappas and spirits, which is a piece of made in Italy history.

The study, drawn up in collaboration with Lifegate, was presented, in live streaming, with the participation of Antonio Emaldi, president of AssoDistil; Paolo De Castro, MEP and member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Commission of the EU Parliament; Filippo Gallinella, deputy and president of the Agriculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies; Silvia Totaro, Lifegate sustainability specialist, Sandro Cobror, AssoDistil director.

The document refers to 2019 and was created on the basis of data collected by 11 associated companies, which represent 80% of the product sections of interest (spirits and industrial alcohol). The distillation sector gives life to a wide range of products aimed at the food market, the production of alcohol for fuel use (bioethanol), for industrial use and the production of organic acids, vegetable oils, polyphenols, feed and fertilizers.

Then, the residues of the distillation process are reused to produce green electricity, biogas and biomethane thus providing their positive contribution from an environmental point of view, supporting the creation of a virtuous chain of management and enhancement of the by-products destined for distillation, first, and for the energy production, then.

The first “Sustainability Report” for the president AssoDistil, Antonio Emaldi “is only the starting point of a path to project towards a broader concept of environmental, economic and social sustainability, from agricultural production to the finished and packaged product: an approach holistic consistent with the sustainable development of our country “.

The distillation sector has the installed potential to produce over 300,000 m³ per year of sustainable bioethanol, the most widespread biofuel of natural origin in the world and the only one capable of responding to the sustainability needs of the transport sector and contributing to the reduction of emissions.

Furthermore, distillation residues can be reused as combustible biomasses. With the combustion of these residues and the digestion of wastewater, especially still water, nearly 300,000 MWh of electricity per year are produced, mainly intended for self-consumption. For the director AssoDistil Sandro Corbor, “today the distilleries are becoming aware of the importance not only of practicing economic, social and environmental sustainability, but also of communicating it transparently to strengthen the relationship with the territory which is fundamental. Companies are convinced of the importance and need for sustainable development to compete in the global market. AssoDistil’s commitment is to accompany the sustainable growth of companies also through research and innovation to allow them to fully exploit the still untapped potential of distillery productions in a circular economy perspective consistent with the Community objectives of the Green Deal “.

A commitment that translates into a circular economy. Taking the AssoDistil data, referring to 2019, 606,795 gigajoules (Gj) of energy are produced, with an energy recovery of 88.9% on waste produced, equal to 12,541 tons. Hazardous waste constitutes only 0.5% of the total waste and, of these, those sent to landfill are only 0.3%. The total self-produced energy from renewable sources is equal to 3,732,000 Gj. The pomace used as raw materials exceeds 534,000 tons, while the lees used are over 209,000. 54,000 tons of fruit and over 45,000 tartaric materials used for the production process. One of the key factors for the environmental virtuosity and the circularity of the distillation sector lies in the way of procuring raw materials with a sensitivity to favoring the zero kilometer.

The report explains that the associated companies use historical suppliers and tend to favor local ones to contribute to the local economy. Considering the suppliers of the associated companies included in the report, the local suppliers are equal to 35%, which grow considerably if we look only at the wine sector, “since the distillation sector fully responds to the needs of the wine sector which finds a useful outlet in the by-products of production of wine, pomace and lees “.

Significant numbers also with regard to the occupational sphere. In 2019, the people employed in the companies.

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Grappa, the top 10 companies by revenue in 2018

If 2018 was a year of small movements in the turnover of Italian grappa – and it could not be otherwise, being penalized by the lack of raw materials for the lean 2017 harvest – the same cannot be said on the side of margins. According to the analysis carried out by the Pambianco Study Center, the top ten national distilleries specializing in the production of grappa recorded clearly positive profits. And if the Top 10 have generated a total turnover of 214 million euros (+3 million compared to 2017), the top four players in particular have gone into double figures in the ratio between Ebitda and turnover.

Positions confirmed in the Top 5

The top ten sees once again the Paduan Bonollo Umberto (which operates in the market with the Of brand) at the top with a turnover of 49 million, up by more than 17% compared to 2017, and an incidence of Ebitda on turnover higher than 11% with favorable prospects at the end of 2019.

“Enhancement of tradition and excellent Italian vines, drive towards innovation and attention to modern trends”, these are the ingredients that OF Bonollo declares as a recipe for success, while looking at the consolidation of the Italian market and the conquest of new international markets. “Our focus – says the marketing director Elvio Bonollo – remains the enhancement of the product, the sensory experience linked to the tasting of grappa, with the commitment and the challenge of continuing to offer new products”.

In second place, another confirmation: Distillerie Franciacorta (acquired in February by Stock Spirits) closed the year with 32 million in revenues (+ 3.7%) and with more than 4 million Ebitda.

The Bonollo Distilleries – on the third step of the podium – are the concrete example of the “anomalous” trend recorded in 2018: hit hard by the scarcity of raw materials, with revenues down to 26 million compared to over 30 in the previous year (-15% ), the company from Formigine (Modena) nevertheless confirmed the 3.8 million Ebitda. The fourth place is the prerogative of Distillerie Marzadro, which centers a slight increase in revenues (20.9 against 20.6 million) and pushes the margin, which rose from 2.3 to 3.1 million euros, reaching almost 15% of incidence on turnover. In fifth position is Bonaventura Maschio, which confirms turnover (+ 0.4%) and increases profitability, taking it from 2 to 2.5% of revenues.

Grappa market in evolution

“Grappa – Pambianco analysts point out – appears to be a solid sector capable of offering its leaders the opportunity to sustain even difficult vintages such as the one linked to the 2017 harvest. Italian grappa will however remain a niche and will never be able to grow like other distillates that do not have a quota raw material, given that grappa can only be produced starting from Italian pomace ».

However, producers are focused on the evolution of grappa’s “weight” in mixology, with the promotion of a positioning that guarantees higher added value. Another investment trend is linked to hospitality, successfully tested by the Berta distillery, which closes the top ten in turnover and is the absolute leader in terms of margins, with an Ebitda equal to 27% of turnover.

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Double-cipher EBITDA for grappa leaders

In 2018, the top ten grappa players had a total turnover of 214 million euros, three million more than the 2017 amount. million in revenues also proved to be the absolute protagonist in terms of year-on-year growth (+ 17%). In second position at 32 million euros is the confirmation of Distillerie Franciacorta, a company acquired in early February by Stock Spirits, already active in the grappa sector with the Julia brand. Distillerie Bonollo completes the podium, third with 26 million receipts.

In 2018, the growth of the grappa sector was hampered not so much by market problems as by the scarcity of raw materials originating from the 2017 harvest, a situation that should repeat itself next year but which certainly did not happen this year (since collection 2018 ready for 2019).

On the other hand, the margins of the companies considered in the study turned out to be more than positive, exceeding the 10% threshold in the ratio between ebitda and turnover. All the top four players (Bonollo Umberto, Franciacorta, Bonollo and Marzadro) obtained a double-digit percentage of EBITDA, even if the highest incidence is that of the tenth classified by turnover or the Piedmontese of Berta Distillerie, capable to reach 27% thanks also to the incoming activity organized in recent years with the opening of a grappa resort.

Grappa therefore appears to be a solid sector capable of offering its leaders the possibility of sustaining even difficult vintages such as the one linked to the 2017 harvest. The strategic lines have been clearly outlined. “Our focus – says Elvio Bonollo, Bonollo Umberto marketing and external relations director – remains the enhancement of the product, the sensory experience linked to grappa tasting, with the commitment and challenge of continuing to offer new products”. In addition, distilleries are trying to reduce third party production to invest in proprietary brands, as for example Berta did: “” In 2018 we reduced our presence in non-strategic areas such as production for private label, reducing revenues but without variations in margins ”, Chicco Berta affirmed.

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The Grappa Market: 140 distilleries, € 300 million in turnover, of which 25% abroad

According to a research by “Pambianco Strategie di Impresa”, the 2015 turnover of the top twenty Italian companies specialized in the production of grappa is equal to 223 million euros compared to 225 in 2014. If we add the grappas of the smaller companies and non-specialized companies (those belonging to companies whose main turnover is linked to other products such as Stock and Branca) the total turnover should reach € 300 million per year, with approx. 20,000,000 bottles produced.

The distillate symbol of Italy would have excellent growth prospects related to exports, but the situation of the main companies in the sector is static, conditioned by the weakness of the internal market and its still dominant weight. There is also a very fast and dispersive production structure with over 140 distilleries, characterized by small numbers, with few important groups and many micro-distillers that appear to be in difficulty towards foreign markets.

There are only about ten companies that boast a turnover of at least € 10 million:

… Distillerie Bonollo di Formigine (MO), with a turnover of 33 Mn / €,
… Bonollo Umberto di Maestrino (PD), 33 Mn / €,
… Franciacorta Distillery, 27 Mn / €,
… Francoli, 24 Mn / €,
… Male Bonaventure, 19 Mn / €,
… Marzadro, 18 Mn / €,
… Nonino, 13 Mn / €
… Berta, 12 Mn / €
… Castagner, 11 Mn / €
… Nardini, 10 Mn / €

Seen positively, the situation of grappa is improving and the product now seems ready, from a qualitative point of view, to compete abroad with its most illustrious competitors such as whiskey, cognac and rum. According to data provided by Istat and revised by Assodistil, exports in 2016 increased by 5.2% and Elvio Bonollo, president of the National Grappa Institute, highlights the progress achieved in Russia and Eastern Europe, + 35% in the last six years, become a new reference point for exports in addition to the traditional German-speaking markets, which excel in Europe.

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Gran Galà Vitis 2014: the award “Interpreting the Territory-Italianity in the world” to Mariacarla Bonollo.

The Gran Galà Vitis 2014 was held in recent days in the splendid setting of Palazzo della Fonte in Fiuggi, promoted by the Italian Sommelier Association, which awarded excellence in Lazio by delivering to Mariacarla Bonollo, of the Distillerie Bonollo S.p.A. of Formigine (Mo), the award “Interpreting the Territory-Italianity in the world” with the following motivation: “Thanks also to the substantial contribution of the Anagni headquarters, today the largest distillery in Europe, Bonollo has wisely keeping up with the times, combining the production of excellent spirits with the most advanced known biotechnologies “.

The recognition was particularly appreciated as it attests to the efforts made by the company for the production of high quality brandies and for the dissemination of the culture and knowledge of grappa in the world, through the Documentation Center dedicated to the memory of the founder Luigi Bonollo.

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