Guiseppi Collesi answered his phone, surprised to hear someone from London on the other line. The caller informed him of recent awards just won for his famous Italian-made beverage.
No, not wine – beer.
No one comes to Italy to drink beer, they come to drink what the country is known for, wine. But microbreweries in Italy are on the rise, and the Collesi brewery has become a leader in the market.
And it was all something of an accident.
Guiseppi Collesi pours a glass of his award-winning amber beer.
Guiseppi grew up on his family’s 100 acre farm, one of the oldest in The Marche region, and worked as waiter in their restaurant from 1994 to 2007. His job was to serve his father’s homemade grappa, aromatized with honey or orange, to all the customers at the end of their meal. He studied electronics in college, but once he realized how much people loved his father’s grappa, he had the idea to open a distillery.
When Giuseppe told his friends about his idea, they took him for a madman.
“(The said) Grappa is from Veneto, it’s from Trentino, grappa comes from the north, grappa is absolutely not from Le Marche,” Collesi recalled, speaking through an interpreter.
He told them that he has always been a man of spirit, and he went on to prove them wrong. After traveling through Italy and visiting a variety of other grappa distilleries, Guiseppi opened his own in 2000 and started selling his grappa a year later.
In 2005, Collesi’s product was included in a grappa tasting held at the Senate of the Republic attended by representatives from 40 different embassies, including the U.S., The president of the Oscar Association, a sponsor of the event, suggested Collesi try making beer, offering to introduce him to a good brew master
Collesi worked with the brew master to get his beer line started, and after trying 220 different formulas, decided on the five flavors that he has today.
He currently crafts two blonde beers, Alter and Ego, one amber beer, Flat Lux, one red beer, Ubi, one black beer, Maior, and a limited edition beer, Magnum, available each year on July 4th. Each of his beers is sold in wine bottles, with a label and seal colored to match the hue of each beer flavor.
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