From Niscemi to Los Angeles: The Made-in-Sicily Startup Exporting a Taste of Sicily to the World

Experience the warmth of Mediterranean tradition, the intricacy of artisanal craftsmanship, and an innovative idea that’s changing the way we think about liqueurs. These are the ingredients that define Paesano, a vibrant startup crafting liqueurs that are quickly gaining global acclaim.

Paesano was established two years ago by the visionary Giuseppe Cinquerrui, who was recognized among the top 500 young Italian entrepreneurs at the Italian Lower House of Parliament by the Italy-USA Foundation.

At just 29, Giuseppe and his youthful team showcase the dynamism of the new Sicilian wave. A quick glance at their website reveals a young-at-heart crew, including Bruno who handles e-commerce, Sara the marketing maven, Alfonso the Italian sales guru, and Giuseppe overseeing administration. A dream team where the “oldest” member is just 33!

Breaking the mold, 90% of this startup’s team operates remotely from their respective cities.

Their artisanal liqueurs? They’re crafted with a unique twist. No artificial flavorings, with a staggering 50% fruit concentration.

And while commercial liqueurs often overlook Sicily’s traditional fruits, Paesano chooses to celebrate them, integrating island favorites like pistachio, pomegranate, prickly pear, artichoke, lemon, almond, and melon.

Mixology maestros and bartenders are already infusing these liqueurs into their drinks, even reimagining timeless cocktail recipes. Take, for instance, the Negroni, where vermouth is replaced by artichoke liqueur — a Mediterranean flavor burst enhanced by aromatic notes from dried artichoke leaves that have been macerated for 90 days.

All this magic unfolds in a quaint workshop in Lercara Friddi, Frank Sinatra’s hometown, located in the province of Palermo. A dedicated trio of workers craft these concoctions, adhering to authentic artisanal methods, and using only selected ingredients from organic or ethical sources.

With over 50,000 bottles already sold, a whopping 70% of their sales come from international markets. These Sicilian sensations are making waves in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Luxembourg, but the reach extends to Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and the UK.

International expos have been pivotal in Paesano’s soaring success. At Barcelona’s Alimentaria alone, the Sicilian brand forged partnerships with eight foreign importers. Up next? Berlin’s Bar Convent, the world’s largest liqueur expo, and the Sicily Show by IoComproSiciliano at Nexxt Expo in Los Angeles from October 19 to 22.

It’s here in LA that Paesano aims to secure licenses and find an importer to kickstart their American journey.

Their meteoric rise is currently punctuated by an exciting fundraising initiative managed by Mamacrowd, Italy’s leading equity crowdfunding platform.

The startup impressively raised $130,000 in just a week! This funding aims to enhance their product range, boost their workforce, and scale up production – aiming for a whopping 500,000 bottles by 2027.

Additionally, the team is scouting for a villa in Sicily, a place that can serve both as a tourist haven and a production workshop for experiential tourism—a haven where visitors can witness the magic behind the product-making.

A winning name, warming hearts beyond Italian shores, a passionate team, and an evocative experience that unfolds sip by sip. That’s Paesano, and their journey has only just begun.