When it comes to Grappa and Liqueur, there are few who can compete with the quality and history of Bepi Tosolini. At just shy of 80 years old, the Italian family business has built a reputation on their line of impeccably crafted spirits. Currently, they produce five flavors of Liqueur as well as a Vine Grappa, Moscato Grape Brandy, and a Cherrywood Barrique.
Founded in a time of intense international turmoil, the roots of the Bepi Tosolini distillery run deep into the history of their Northern Italian hometown. Based in Friuli, one of the smallest regions of Italy, the distillery started as a producer of high-quality Grappa, gradually expanding out into a range of liqueurs and brandies. We caught up with Brand Owner, Lisa Tosolini, the third generation of this remarkable family business.
1. The history of Bepi Tosolini is deeply interesting, with the distillery being created in 1943, during World War II, can you tell us a little about how the company got its start and evolved?
Grappa is the traditional Italian distillate and part of our culture. Bepi Tosolini, my grandfather has been a pioneer in the production of Grappa while it was still a humble distillate mainly produced for the consumption of the farmers, and of course the soldiers during the second World War. The end of the war started a period of renaissance for the Italian economy and a chance for young entrepreneurs, like Bepi Tosolini, who decided to create his own distillery, with passion and toughness, and elevate a simple distillate like Grappa to be among the best and most renowned spirits in the world. Today, after 77 years his dream is a reality where all the family, at the third generation, is working to continue and implement the quality of this fine and elegant distillate, with the same rules and the same spirit of the founder.
2. At the start, the distillery was producing grappa alone — when did you make the move into liqueur and brandy and what was the process of deciding what to make like?
There was a lack of artisanal liquors such as the Amaretto, and we decided to create a line extension of pure and natural liquors made with our old recipes using only premium ingredients and without the addition of coloring and aromas. The aim was to provide the market with something really handmade as the consumer more and more frequently, is becoming respectful of what to drink and wants to drink better.
3. In 2016 Italy added regulations to the production of Grappa to help ensure quality. Bepi Tosolini has always been known for exceeding quality long before but after four years in, have these regulations helped your brand? How or how not?
Bepi Tosolini has always worked pursuing quality and keeping the founder’s production process unchanged. The fresh grape marc is distilled a few days after fermentation, during the harvest time, in order to fully capture the aromas of the grapes and give an aromatic, clean and fine-smelling distillate, using the historic stills that have always given our spirits an unmistakable softness. The 2016 rules did not bring about changes in our distillery, which has always used a controlled aging process and the absence of aromas or colorings. It’s a guarantee for the consumer who believes more and more in this Italian masterpiece and chooses it more frequently for a sip of heaven.
4. Many Americans may have a long-standing opinion of grappa based on experiences prior to the quality crackdown. What tips would give bartenders to change drinkers’ opinions?
Quality has changed during the past 40 years, and today we are proud to offer a fine and delicate Grappa, thanks to the bartenders and restaurants owners that with passion transfer the knowledge of this Italian incredible distillate. Tips are easy: Buy high quality and let the drinkers try it.
5. As we head into colder weather, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your liqueurs, what are some of your favorite ways to serve them?
Traditionally Grappa should be served neat, at room temperature, when aged it is better served in large glasses to reveal all the incredible aromas achieved during the ageing process. Our Liquors, like the Amaretto Saliza or the Expre, our espresso coffee liqueur are a perfect match for many incredible cocktails such as the Amaretto Sour or the twist for the Espresso Martini into a delicious Espresso Tosolini.
6. What’s next for the distillery?
A Grappa is constantly evolving, and it is precisely this that has always stimulated us to do research and innovation, with new products every year, in step with the times and market demands. We invest in research and production, with a new barrique cellar in the Venice Lagoon, near our Distillery, an ideal place for seasoning our Amaro Tosolini, and to give it a unique and exclusive Mediterranean touch.
We look forward to welcoming you in our Distillery and new Barriqueria soon!