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.