How grappa consumption has changed in recent years with data and reflections by Roberto Castagner.

The face of the grappa consumer has changed and thanks to the initiative of some producers, it has changed from a traditional distillate to a spirit with a modern and international profile on a par with whisky, cognac and armagnac. The latest research confirms this. One of many was the one conducted by Nomisma for AssoDistil which traced the identikit of the grappa consumer: male, over 40, with medium-high spending power, a lover of sharing in company and attentive to quality.

Witness and protagonist of this change is a distillation champion like Roberto Castagner who comments on the data reporting his experience. Since its inception, the Castagner distillery in Visnà di Vazzola (Treviso) has been able to anticipate new trends with strategic decisions consistent with the evolution of the market by focusing its attention on the so-called "high-end" consumers.

«The way of drinking grappa has changed - confirms the founder and CEO of the company, Roberto Castagner - the consumer today is more evolved, more attentive to novelties, is a person who has a culture of wine and distillates, is also a woman and often lives in the south. If up to 15 years ago white grappa represented 70% of sales, today we are gradually moving towards 50% for barricades and 50% for whites with greater attention, therefore, for quality aged products».

The numbers in detail. While on the one hand grappa consumers are still predominantly men, the data shows that 1/3 of connoisseurs are women. The consumer is mature, but 1/3 is in the 18-40 age group. The north is as good as the central-south combined, but sales data (IRI 2022) tell us that the south and the center are performing proportionally better than the north. In central and southern Italy, consumers are more attentive to novelties because they are more curious and less tied to historical and traditional consumption. The typical consumer has a medium-high income, 60% earn over 1500 euros, 30% over 2500 with a good spending power for premium products.

The research also shows that 35% of those interviewed would like to try grappa in cocktails and in recent years the new generation of distillers and barmen has focused a lot on grappa by including it among the mixed drink products.

The choices made in recent years by Roberto Castagner demonstrate that the road is the right one: the barrel cellar in which the master distiller has invested since the birth of his company, demonstrating great foresight at a time when - in the mid-1990s - the consumed grappa was 90% white, today it allows to present to the market grappas with long aging that are in line with the most prestigious international distillates for which the consumer is willing to spend more recognizing a higher intrinsic value; investment in technology to offer softer grappas with an innovative profile, capable of satisfying the needs of new consumer niches, such as women and a younger audience; always looking to the future thanks to which a grappa was born specially conceived for mixing, capable of being best valued in a cocktail because it is easily mixable and absolutely versatile (Casta); constant investment in research and development to offer innovative products and satisfy consumers' desire for novelty (Prosecco Ice, grappa to drink iced and grappa aged only in cherry barriques, the great success of 2022).