A Merit for Labour Giuseppe Bonollo, a historical figure in the world of distilled spirits, passed away.


A Merit for Labour since 1999, Giuseppe Bonollo represented one of the historical figures of industry in the province of Frosinone. At the age of 88, he died Tuesday, June 20, in the town of Anagni, where as a very young man (23 years old) he had begun operating a factory in the Osteria della Fontana area. An Emilian by birth, he was a descendant of the historic family of distillers from Veneto who began operating in 1908 thanks to the progenitor (and his grandfather) Giuseppe, and in the 1980s he built a factory in the nearby town of Paduni, using advanced technologies and transforming the old structure into a warehouse for aging wine spirits.

Giuseppe Bonollo’s modern vision
In the early 1990s, in the Anagni-Paduni plant, Giuseppe Bonollo had two new production units built, to extract natural tartaric acid and to produce organic fertilizers as the last product of the grape processing, following a modern vision linked to the concept of circular economy. In 1998, in Cisterna di Latina, he had BonOil built, which at that time was one of the large European complexes producing and refining seed oils.

“Generous man,” as the company remembers him
“Generous man.” The company, in a note, remembers him as follows, “Anyone who had anything to do with him testifies to the charisma and great generosity of spirit that distinguished him in human and work relationships. A pillar of our Family and of the Italian distillery sector is missing.”

Distillerie Bonollo, a leading company in the sector
Distillerie Bonollo has four plants in Italy, employing about 130 people. Among the top producers of grappa in the world, the distilleries also hold one of the largest deposits of brandy. Considering alcohol and brandy, average annual volumes are close to 150,000 hectoliters per year: about 40 million bottles. In 1993, he founded the Grappa Documentation Center, named after his father Luigi, to promote the knowledge and popularization of Made in Italy spirits.

Bonollo Distilleries: a bit of history
Distillerie Bonollo was founded in 1908, in the Veneto region of Italy, by Giuseppe Bonollo, founder of the family. In 1918, the business moved to Formigine (Modena), where Luigi Bonollo, son of the founder (one of the other sons is Umberto Bonollo, also an entrepreneur in the distillates sector with an independent business in the province of Padua since 1951), began to focus on distilling Lambrusco pomace. Luigi’s six sons (Giuseppe, Melchiorre, Alberto, Luigi, Vittorio and Abramo) later took over the business. In particular, Giuseppe Bonollo, in 1958, decided to open a plant also in Anagni, in the province of Frosinone. In 1976, Distillerie Bonollo purchased and renovated the distillery in Torrita, in the province of Siena. In 1980, Giuseppe began construction of a second plant in Anagni, Paduni locality, a production facility that would become the largest in Europe. In 2007, Distillerie Bonollo entered the renewable energy sector, and after a few years set up Bonollo Energia Spa, a plant with a production capacity of 12 MWe to produce energy from biomass: about 60 percent from spent pomace supplied by the distilleries themselves. Four types of products were produced: distillates, tartaric acid, fertilizer and electricity. The fourth generation of the family now carries on a tradition with a 100-year history.

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Giuseppe Bonollo, first honorary president of AssoDistil, passed away.

With sincere sorrow we announce the passing of Cav. Lav. Giuseppe Bonollo, President of AssoDistil from 2000 to 2004 and the first Honorary President of our Association.

A distinctive trait of Giuseppe Bonollo’s personality was his serenity of judgment, always at the service of general interests, combined with undoubted mediation skills, qualities that earned him unanimous esteem and consideration both within AssoDistil and other trade associations and in the institutions. His own workers bear witness to the great generosity of spirit that distinguished him in his human and working relationships, and under his brilliant, wise and far-sighted leadership, Distillerie Bonollo S.p.A, won a prominent place among the leading companies in the distilling sector.

His contributions to the sector include the founding, in 1992, of the “Grappa Documentation Center”: a unique institution of its kind in Italy, which through its study and conference initiatives pursues the promotion and dissemination, in Italy and abroad, of the knowledge of our flagship distillates.

In 1999 to crown this long activity, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi awarded him the honor of Cavaliere del Lavoro of the Italian Republic.

With his departure, the industry loses a commendable milestone. To his daughters, Mariacarla and Rosanna, goes the warmest embrace of all AssoDistil.

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Bonollo Distilleries, turnover 2022 to 30.2 mln € (+12%)

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.

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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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