What did you do before creating Portofino Gin?
Before joining the spirits industry and planting the seed of Portofino Dry Gin, I worked in prestigious global sports institutions, with roles at Laureus, FIFA, Eurosport and AC Milan. My career gave me the unique opportunity to live across Asia, South America and all over Europe, allowing me to discover new places and experience different cultures. This contributed to enriching my knowledge and broadening my horizons, both personally and professionally, and helped me to create a wide global network for Portofino Dry Gin.
What made you decide to create your gin, and what's the inspiration behind it?
Our company was founded in homage to my grandfather, Klaus Pudel, who had a tremendous passion for Portofino and contributed to writing its history by saving the village during WWII. His love and admiration for the Italian Riviera have been conveyed through the generations, and we want continue this by creating a gin that Klaus would have enjoyed on the “Piazzetta” – the iconic square in Portofino - watching the sunset on the colourful harbour.
How did you go about designing and creating the bottle and branding?
We paid great attention to our logo, label and bottle, to ensure we brought to life a product that reflects the beauty of Portofino in every way. The logo uses a specific black font with white shades that pays tribute to the old Italian foundries. It is authentic, elegant and easily recognisable. The label is a reproduction of the buildings of Portofino in their traditional colour palette – a real life display of Portofino’s iconic piazzetta; designed to instantly transport you to the Italian Riviera. When displaying three bottles of Portofino Dry Gin next to each other, one can recreate the full panorama of our beautiful village. The bottle is inspired by Portofino’s picturesque harbour, where colourful houses and green hills decorate the landscape between the sky and the sea. Its colour is representative of the turquoise sea of Portofino and the bottle’s square shape reflects the elegance of traditional perfume containers.
Can you tell us more about the distillery?
Our gin is produced by Antica Distilleria Quaglia, an antique artisan distillery. Its history began in 1890 and is now on its fourth generation; they convey the authentic richness of their territory and heritage and translate it into a recipe, a flavour, a perfume. This is the reason why we chose them as our main partner; we have a shared goal to spread the effortless beauty and hidden charm of the Italian Riviera, one sip at time. Thanks also to their centenary of experience, we ensured we created an exceptionally high quality product with traditional values.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process?
Once the botanicals are hand-picked and transported from our sanctuary to the distillery, we follow four important steps to create Portofino Dry Gin:
We weigh the botanicals and prepare separate hydro-alcoholic infusions made from Italian wheat grain. Each botanical macerates individually for seven days.
The infusions are gently pressed and filtered to separate the solids from the liquid part. Liquids are transferred to the still or the Rotavap. The atmospheric pressure inside this antique still is removed – creating a vacuum – which reduces the temperature required for ethanol to evaporate. This technique is used to preserve the aromas of our most delicate botanicals.
Each infusion is distilled, and resulting distillates are mixed with a pure source water to reach 43% ABV. We do not use any additives or artificial flavours.
The mix of Portofino Dry Gin is analysed under laboratory conditions, then bottled and labelled by hand at the distillery.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story so far?
The biggest challenge so far has been without doubt entering in such a competitive industry and getting noticed. At the beginning, we heard “oh another gin”; then we started winning awards, also thanks to the support of The Gin Guide, we were being recognised not only for our bottle, but also as a premium quality gin brand and some important distributors asked us to be part of their prestigious portfolios. The response in every market has been tremendously positive and that is how we started our fast-paced growth.
How would you describe Portofino Gin in 3 words?
Artisanal, Italian, heritage.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
My favourite cocktail is a classic Portofino & Tonic, with plenty of ice, lemon zest and a sprig of rosemary. My favourite place to enjoy it is our beautiful piazzetta surrounded by pastel houses, watching the ballet of boats going in and out of the harbour.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own, of course!)
I’m a big fan of Monkey 47 Gin, Fishers Gin and Short Cross Gin.
What's next for Portofino Gin - any exciting plans?
We are going to consolidate our presence in Italy, across the EU and further afield. We’re also creating new experiences in Portofino, such as visits to our botanical garden, boat tours and gin tastings. In the future we’ll be developing new recipes and creating activities and partnerships with relevant premium brands.
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