Grappa is grabbing more and more attention in the US, thanks to its sustainability through its zero-waste production process, and also because Americans (above all, New Yorkers), are discovering it as a distilled spirit to be savored not only at the end of the meal as a digestive, but also as a cocktail ingredient.
For the first time ever, a Grappa-based cocktail, Ve.N.To, has featured on the list of drinks at the International Bartender Association, and has been presented at the 2022 edition of Hello Grappa! at Eataly in Flatiron, together with 11 artisanal producers of grappa.
Hello Grappa! is the informational and development campaign of grappa IG (PGI — Protected Geographical Indication) of which Italy is the only member state. It is promoted by AssoDistil (the National Association of Ethanol and Distillates Producers), co-financed by the European Union, and aims to disseminate knowledge about this product through educational and promotional events within certain US states.
Ve.N.To, which unites the distilled spirit with honey and chamomile, is a “great cocktail that has brings together the bitter and sweet, and the alcoholic component; very balanced, simple, but perhaps something that people don’t expect”, stated Scott Rosenbaum, expert of distilleries, underlining that it is a homage to Grappa and to the land of its origins, Italy. “The Grappa trend took off with a very minute percentile and now it is growing,” he said, reaffirming that “more and more people are getting to know grappa because in the US there is a tendency to consume it in a different manner with respect to Italy; there is a trend to look for ways to utilize it in cocktails and New York is decisively leading this trend. For example, at a recent event, I was speaking with someone who works in a restaurant in North Carolina where they didn’t have even one grappa, while here, in Eataly, we have about 30.” He added that in California, even though it’s still a marginal market, grappa is gaining a lot of ground.” And that, “the renewed interest for sustainability could be another reason.”
Each year, about 184,920 gallons of anhydrous alcohol of grappa and about 14% is exported. Germany is the number one market with 63% of volume export, followed by Switzerland at 10%. The United States, instead, is the second target nation not belonging to Europe, with 2% of export volume, together with Canada and then Russia. In 2021, they exported grappa at a value of 1.3 million Euros (about $1.5 million).
At the Eataly event, there were 11 important participants of artisanal producers of grappa: Mazzetti d’Altavilla, Poli Distillerie, Distillerie Bonollo, Castagner, Bertagnolli, Bepi Tosolini, Distilleria F.lli Caffo, Distillerie Franciacorta, Distilleria Marzadro, Deta Distilleria e Distillerie Bonollo Umberto. “New York of course, prefers grappa in cocktails – here it’s becoming more and more popular, and there are new spots opening up all the time, artisanal bars, for example in the West Village, that are starting to make interesting drinks,” explained the Mazzetti representative, Marco Iuele.”In the US, in general, it’s steadily moving forward, even if not at the same rate as the Big. Apple.”.