The entrepreneurial adventure begins
Alessandro Marzadro, I am the third generation of the Marzadro distillery and I deal with the marketing of our company. Our company was born in 1949, this year, for us is a very important year, we celebrate the seventieth. It is a reality born in a small village, a few meters from our headquarters by my grandfather and his sister. In 1949 the war ended, let’s say, that all the families and especially the “Trentino area” suffered the period and therefore had to find something to do with the economy. The great-aunt who was ten years older than Attilio went to get the first copper still and this was the beginning of our adventure. A company born of a woman who, to carry on the family that had suffered the typical suffering unfortunately of the war, had to invent a profession. Think that, in ’49 a village of 300 inhabitants, where we were born, had three distilleries and a telephone line.
Therefore, the productive reality of grappa in Trentino has always been very rooted and very important. From there the times have changed, the method of consumption has changed, the consumer is less and less looking for a product, let’s say, functional, therefore, for digestion, for heating, for forgetting problems, but increasingly looking for a distillate to be appreciated, for meditation. So this change is not a very fast change, but in the last thirty years it has certainly led us to revolutionize our society. The company that started with his grandfather and great-aunt had, let’s say, the function of producing a distillate, distributed mainly within 20 km of the site and today instead the company must look out on all markets: the Italian market, the international market with sales structures and therefore the period has certainly changed.
At the end of the seventies, the second generation entered the family business and began to get their hands on the operational management of our company. Already there we begin to see the first changes. The Trentino begins to undergo major changes linked to the tourist flows, therefore, this forces us to modify, modernize and make more current all that is the production process. In the 80s and 90s, for this reason, the company also began to produce a whole part of fruit-based liqueurs and grappa obviously and this created a great opportunity for our company and allowed us to continue to produce.
Today, we can say that the part of the liqueurs is less important than grappa, because there is a great return to the national distillate and above all thanks to the aging and thanks to the attention on the raw material. This allows us today to have a distillate that can compete with all international distillates, something that was not in the past.
The money to start
Certainly in the post-war period the financial capacity was reduced. Our reality was born with an idea of Sabina, who invested the little nest egg she had collected and accumulated in the work of previous years to produce a still. A copper still that arrived at home and from there began her adventure. The Sabina experience has remained in the company with a very strong culture, because even today our company lives mainly on internal financing, therefore, the profit produced every year is reinvested in the company to improve and improve the production process and improve the structure and consequently improve the image of our company. We are a company with a good capitalization, but this is tied so much to the fact that the entrepreneur invests most of his earnings every year.
A negative and a positive event
Surely in the life of all companies we have positive episodes and negative episodes. Our ability and I think the ability of the good entrepreneur is to transform a negative event into an event that can bring opportunities to the company. We have been through a lot, we can say, surely in the late 80s when grappa was at its historic lows, we asked ourselves what we will do with the future and from there the research on new products like liqueur was born. At the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, the liqueur sector began to show signs of crisis, so that moment of difficulty gave us the opportunity to invest in aged products: thus aged grappa which is entered the market forcefully and gave us a new opportunity. So, I think the positive and negative episodes are the same coin with two faces.
Doing business in Italy
Doing business in Italy certainly has its complexity, like everything we do in Italy has a complexity, which requires the ability to manage it because complexity means having so many elements available that must be organized and made useful for our work. It is clear that for a food and wine product linked to the territory, such as grappa, it is necessary. The word grappa is given only to the product distilled in Italy, so we are double bound to our territory and even more if we think that the specific territory of the Trentino is our great added value, our territory, our quality of life certainly goes into the product and the consumer rewards it.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
Surely, the entrepreneur’s ability is first of all to surround himself with valid people, to understand who can help him because the first element that constrains growth today is the team that helps us building these businesses. Surely looking to the past helps, because the mistakes that have been made can be avoided, on the other hand keep an eye ahead. This is a mix, a very complex balance, but I believe that within this balance there is the success of an entrepreneur. An element that is part of our corporate culture is surely that of maintaining a strong link with everyday operations.
So, being an entrepreneur also means getting your hands dirty, so devoting time, hours to doing those jobs, let’s say, that maybe with the enlargement of the company they get lost. Why this? Because it makes you understand what the problems of collaborators and customers can be and allows you to always make effective choices. To get too far away from operations or to diversify in the company surely takes away the attention to what is the specialization that we believe today is the winning element.
The future for the new generations
An important message for young people, in my opinion, is to try to develop a path that stimulates what the person’s interests really are. Having people in companies that don’t like the job they do is the first limit. Today the complexity, the demand of the labor market is so strong, so wide that, if we do not do what we like, life becomes impossible. So let’s leave aside all that is the study paths that are imposed on us, but we look for our way, because working life requires a passion in what we do.
In my case I don’t say that it was an easy choice, but I was born in a distillery, I lived above the distillery and so my playground when I didn’t want to study was the distillery. So, born in this situation I probably couldn’t do anything else, but because I felt it, it’s a demanding job, but the fact that it’s my passion allows me to do it.
To make a job a passion, surely, it takes a dream. In my case it is to let a younger audience know what a traditional product like grappa is. We’ve all heard of it, our parents used to consume it, our grandparents drunk it, but many and many new generations don’t know it and never got close. I think this is the right time and there are all the features to do it. All the Italian gastronomic products have history and culture, technique and they are all great opportunities to be able to make them be appreciated and re-evaluated by a younger audience, so the opportunities are there, they must only be collected and made known.