Not Olive Oil--Olive Liquor

June 22, 2015

Giuliano Berloni leans back in his chair and lets out a bellowing laugh that fills his tiny office. His stomach bounces under a blue and white pinstriped button-down shirt. Tanned wrinkles stretch as his face breaks into a warm smile.

 

“No, no we didn’t run into any challenges when we started this business,” he says.

His son Alessandro sits at an adjacent desk, playfully coaxing his father’s answers and cracking jokes in booming Italian and fragmented English.

 

“Yes, but the paperwork was awful,” says the son. “They sent us on a wild chase from office to office.”

 

“Ah, it was awful,” Giuliano replies. “But as for real challenges, there were none. Production began slowly, but then we sold out of our first two thousand bottles.”

 

They sit next to each other not only as father and son but also as business partners in an unusual company located within the DOP district of Cartoceto, an area about 30 kilometers from Urbino that is known for its high-quality olive oil. Along with a successful line of the expected product in this area, Azienda Agricola Berloni has gone one step further to generate something no one else is producing from olive trees—liquor.

 

Giuliano and his family have been producing this unconventional liquor since the early ’90s on their organic farm in the town of Tavernelle di Serrungarina. Their love for the land, enthusiasm for the origins of their product, and strong dedication to manufacturing only the best have made the company an award-winning pioneer among organic olive farms. But as demand continues to grow, Giuliano and Alessandro find themselves looking along two diverging paths. One leads Giuliano to his retirement. The other leads Alessandro, 28, to other jobs and interests in the city, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the prospects for this family-run business and the future supply of its unique product.

 

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