Portofino Dry Gin’s Founders Discuss US Launch, Italian Botanicals and the Brand’s Future - Gin Raiders
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Portofino Dry Gin’s Founders Discuss US Launch, Italian Botanicals and the Brand’s Future

We sat down with CEO Ruggero Raymo and CMO Chris Egger to talk about their spirit, Portofino Dry Gin.

Juniper, lemon, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, sage, iris and rose are just a few of the botanicals that make up the aromatic composition of Portofino Dry Gin. Each botanical — organic and hand-picked — has basked in the sun of the Italian Riviera until ready for harvest.

Portofino Dry Gin was founded by Ruggero Raymo and Chris Egger as an ode to Raymo’s grandfather, Klaus Pudel. Pudel saved Portofino from destruction during World War II and is considered a local legend in the village.

Raymo and Egger sat down with us in an interview to share their ventures in launching Portofino Dry Gin in the U.S., the concepts behind the gin’s design, its botanicals and the brand’s future.

From left to right: Raymo and Egger. (Photo: Portofino Dry Gin)

Portofino Dry Gin’s U.S. Launch

Portofino Dry Gin has experienced great success after its 2019 launch in Italy. The gin has earned a multitude of accolades from Gold at the Gin Masters Asia 2020 competition to Triple Gold at The MicroLiquor Spirit Awards this year. After being sold in many countries around the world, Raymo and Egger sought expansion into the U.S. market.

“It was a long and new process to get the proper certification to expand sales to the U.S. as a new product,” Egger said.

Egger and Raymo shared their gratitude for those who helped them “every step of the way” in this new venture. 

The two founders mentioned how New York — diverse and cosmopolitan — has been a great location to grow as a brand by speaking directly to consumers and retailers.

“We came to the U.S. to learn,” stated Egger. 

Raymo then discussed what makes Portofino Dry Gin stand out from other brands: “What we have, which is quite unique, we deliver a different experience. We are able to transport people — through the taste, the visual — to transport them to Portofino. In everything we do, this is our goal.”

A Multi-Sensory Experience

The two founders wish to share “la dolce vita” with the world by capturing the Italian Riviera in their lifestyle-branded gin.

“We were inspired by the vintage perfume containers from the ’50s and ’60s. We are the first to use a format like this.” Raymo said.

He then continued to detail the importance of each feature: “The square shape of the bottle, the blue color of the Ligurian sea – which is particular to the region of Portofino – [and] the label represents our fishing village.” With these elements in mind, Portofino Dry Gin is the “vehicle to transport [its] consumers” to the founders’ beloved village.

Egger and Raymo then discussed how all 21 botanicals have been carefully selected for their aromas and flavors. According to the two, there are three key segments to the gin: the floral (rose and lavender), the citrus (tangerine, orange and grapefruit) and the herbal (sage, marjoram and rosemary).

The recipe “recalls Italian cuisine, Ligurian cuisine,” added Raymo. “It’s a multi-sensory experience.”

Portofino’s Future

Egger and Raymo plan to open an office in New York by the end of next year and continue to advance the brand’s eco-efficiency.

“We are working to reduce our ecological footprint,” shared Egger. “We have already worked on saving a lot of glass in the production of our bottle, which makes it already more efficient in terms of the use of materials and also in terms of transportation. Making it lighter reduces the use of greenhouse gas emissions, so we’re working towards that. Packaging-wise, we are using as much recycled material as we can.”

The brand also plans to continue staying in touch with fun trends, such as interactive VR trips to Portofino and Metaverse opportunities. “We are still so interested in what we can do for innovation,” Egger stated.

Portofino Dry Gin is bottled at 43% ABV and can be found here for $59.99.

Raymo recommended that Portofino Dry Gin be enjoyed in a gin and tonic. He mentioned that adding a sprig of rosemary is one of his favorite ways to enjoy the spirit.

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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping a Negroni while drawing or relaxing by the pool with a campy mystery novel.