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Paesano: Promoting Sicily Through Artisan Liqueurs

Paesano is a Sicilian company that produces artisan liqueurs using local products that would otherwise go to waste. Founded in 2017 by Giuseppe Cinquerrui, Paesano is working to establish itself as an excellence of Made in Italy, winning prestigious clients such as Four Seasons and Marriott, and numerous foreign markets.

In this interview, Giuseppe shared the genesis of this entrepreneurial venture and the factors that have determined its success.

The Origins of Paesano

The idea behind Paesano is as simple as it is ingenious: using the waste from Sicilian agriculture to create high-quality liqueurs. Despite their imperfect appearance, these “waste” products retain the nutritional values and properties of the best cultivars.

“We chose liqueurs because the mixology sector is growing strongly, and Sicily has not yet expressed a strong identity in this area,” says Giuseppe. Thus, Paesano was born to offer a line of liqueurs made from the typical fruits of the island.

The name, Paesano, was chosen with care. “It is one of the ten most used Italian words abroad,” explains Giuseppe, adding that it immediately evokes authenticity and a connection to the territory. This aspect is deeply rooted in the company’s philosophy.

Factors of Success

Paesano’s journey has not been without obstacles, and Giuseppe admits there have been “many reasons to give up.” However, perseverance and conviction in their ideas have allowed the company to overcome difficulties and achieve goals that seemed unimaginable just a few years ago.

Among the key success factors, Giuseppe highlights the choice of the brand, concept, and style. Paesano’s visual identity, with the logo of a man with a coppola (traditional Sicilian cap) and business cards designed like playing cards, has been meticulously crafted to convey authenticity and connection to Sicilian roots.

Moreover, the direct relationship with customers has been crucial. Paesano dedicates tailored attention to its clients, offering personalized services such as the possibility of having bottles with custom labels for events like weddings.

“We don’t try to automate relationships with people; we try to automate processes and actions to be taken,” says Giuseppe, emphasizing the importance of maintaining human and direct contact with customers.

Expansion into Foreign Markets

Despite being a relatively young company, Paesano has already achieved significant international projection. About 60% of the revenue comes from abroad, with Luxembourg and Switzerland among the main reference markets.

The success abroad has also been facilitated by the choice to rely on local importers, who act as “extended arms” of Paesano in their respective countries. “These are people who represent your vision,” explains Giuseppe, highlighting the importance of establishing trust-based relationships with these strategic partners.

A Growing Community Brand

Paesano is not just a liqueur company; it aspires to become increasingly a true “community brand,” capable of catalyzing a movement of people united by the values of authenticity, respect for the territory, and the promotion of local excellence.

“Each of us feels like a ‘paesano’ (villager), thinking of ourselves as people of a village,” says Giuseppe, illustrating the desire to involve more people who “speak Paesano,” meaning those who share this vision.

In this light, Paesano is considering creating a real community, with exclusive programs and benefits related to agri-food, tourism, and Sicilian territorial culture.

A Sustainable and Environmentally Conscious Company

Paesano’s journey is not only entrepreneurial but also one of social and environmental responsibility. By using products that would otherwise go to waste, the company creates a virtuous circle of circular economy.

But the environmental attention doesn’t stop there. Giuseppe mentions adopting Ecosia, a search engine that reinvests profits in tree planting, and collaborating with an association that plants fruit trees in Sicily to preserve biodiversity and the passage of migratory birds.

“We must turn negative externalities into positives,” he asserts, emphasizing the importance of leaving a better footprint on the planet than the one we found.

The Future of Paesano and a Message to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Despite the difficulties related to the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, Giuseppe looks to the future with optimism, aware that “we need to change lifestyles and consumption patterns, as well as respect for the environment and territory.”

He directs this warning not only to entrepreneurs but to all citizens, encouraging more sustainable and respectful behaviors towards the ecosystem.

To young aspiring entrepreneurs, Giuseppe offers valuable advice: “Stop for a moment, sit here and let’s talk for five minutes.” According to his experience, too often new entrepreneurs start without adequate preparation, risking avoidable mistakes.

“Before entering the forest, it’s better to have a map,” he wisely says, inviting careful analysis and planning before starting a business.

Paesano thus confirms itself not only as an excellence of Made in Italy but also as a virtuous example of how to do business by enhancing the territory, respecting the environment, and creating shared value for the community. A model to imitate for anyone who wants to combine economic success and social responsibility.

Below you can find the interview (in Italian)