Ruggero Raymo, CEO & Co-founder of Portofino Dry Gin, has always been passionate about sports, food, and travel. These passions, combined with a strong bond with Portofino and its traditions, led him to create Portofino Dry Gin.
The values and mission of the company have been very inspired by the legacy of a Portofino icon: his grandfather, Klaus Pudel. This has resulted in a playful spirit with an unmistakable Mediterranean character.
In this Q&A, Ruggero talks about his background, how the unique flavor profile of his gin is able to transport you to the hills of Portofino, and the sustainability practices implemented during the production process.
Hi Ruggero, tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Geneva to Italian parents; my mother is from Portofino and my father was from Messina. Growing up, I was always very passionate about sports, particularly football, food, and travel. These combined passions gave me the opportunity to travel the world and encounter many different cultures, something I cherish every day. My first passion, sports, became my professional journey as well, until recently. I had the opportunity to work for sports institutions such as Laureus World Sports Awards, Eurosport, and AC Milan, always in the Partnership/Sponsorship department. Sourcing synergies between totally different industries and building a bridge between them was an enthusiastic challenge. I really enjoyed it, and I took all those past learnings and applied them to the development of Portofino Dry Gin.
What sparked your interest in the gin industry, and how did you and your co-founders come together to create Portofino Dry Gin?
The idea of Portofino Dry Gin was born from our desire to convey the effortless beauty and glamorous history of Portofino. As we are passionate about this magical place, we wanted to celebrate its people, landscapes, and the nostalgia of the Dolce Vita era of the 50s that shaped the country’s culture.
Portofino Dry Gin pays tribute to a Portofino Icon: your grandfather Klaus Pudel. Can you tell us more about his life, and how his legacy has inspired the values and mission of the company?
Our company was founded in homage to my grandfather, Klaus Pudel, a man much admired for having saved Portofino from destruction during the Second World War.
In the 1950s and ’60s, Klaus hosted some of the most wonderful parties in the era of ‘La Dolce Vita.’ His love for the Italian Riviera has been conveyed through the generations, and we created our gin as a tribute to Klaus – a playful spirit with an unmistakable Mediterranean character.
Can you walk us through the flavor profile of Portofino Dry Gin and what sets it apart from other gins?
When we developed our recipe, our objective was to produce a gin with a strong Mediterranean character that is complex, aromatic, and recognizable (not to say unforgettable) and that lends itself to both sipping and making our favorite cocktails. We rigorously chose local botanicals and used traditional and modern distillation methods to achieve this result.
Portofino Dry Gin’s initial notes are fresh lemon and crisp juniper, which transport you to the hills of Portofino. These give way to a universe of Mediterranean flavors, from the wild rosemary and lavender perfumes of the coastal scrub, to the sweet and delicate notes of marjoram and sage that evoke the taste of traditional Ligurian cuisine.
The branding and design of Portofino Dry Gin are very detailed and reflective of the essence of Portofino. Could you discuss the inspiration behind the design of the bottle, including its color and imagery?
The square shape of our bottle is inspired by vintage perfume containers, and its color represents the turquoise-blue crystal waters of the Ligurian coast. The emblematic landscape of Portofino is also represented, so that three bottles together can reproduce the panorama with its pastel houses.
Sustainability is a core value of Portofino Dry Gin, and the company has implemented numerous environmentally-friendly practices throughout all aspects of the business. Can you describe some of the specific steps taken to ensure sustainability in terms of ingredients, packaging, distillery processes, and e-commerce, and how this commitment to sustainability informs the overall mission of the company?
Our company is committed to preserving and protecting our community and the environment in which we live.
The botanicals used in the production of our gin are grown in an organic and environmentally friendly way. We are preserving traditional skills and combining them with new technologies to reduce water and energy consumption.
We use recycled and recyclable materials to ship our products. In 2022, we also reduced the amount of glass used in the creation of our 500ml bottle. This allows us to save over 15 tons of glass per year, reducing the energy used to create and recycle the glass, as well as the CO2 emissions associated with transport.
Furthermore, we support various non-profit organizations committed to protecting our planet. For example, we have just started a long-term partnership with One Ocean Foundation, an international environmental preservation project and leader in its field, which has been pushing a blue economy and ocean literacy agenda since 2017. As donors, we will be supporting the concrete actions of One Ocean Foundation, with a special focus on preserving the area’s seabed, protecting the Portofino Natural Park, and educating tourists and locals to act with constant respect for the ecosystem.
How did the partnership with brands like MC2 Saint Barth and My Style Bags come about, and what inspired Portofino Dry Gin to collaborate with them on exclusive capsule collections?
Partnerships need to be genuine and tell a real story that consumers can relate to. Collaborations with MC2 Saint Barth and My Style Bags came very naturally.
With MC2 Saint Barth we share a love for the sea and a dream of going for a swim in Portofino while sipping your favorite cocktails. The swim shorts collection by MC2 Saint Barth represents the gateway to living this Portofino dream.
The same approach was applied to the collaboration with My Style Bags, which produces travel accessories. Two fully Made in Italy artisanal excellences join forces to sell a “weekend in Portofino”. Thanks to these collaborations, we aim to give consumers the feeling that they are about to embark on a journey to the fishing village to experience a Dolce Vita weekend. And actually, many of them do!
Can you tell us more about the specific items included in these collections, and how they were designed to complement the overall Portofino lifestyle experience that Portofino Dry Gin aims to provide?
Both collaborations started in 2021 and are now approaching their third Spring/Summer collections.
For MC2 Saint Barth, the core of the collection is obviously swimwear, playing with both brands’ iconic elements and colors. This year, we are about to unveil a new special item to complete the look.
The My Style Bags collection is all about the perfect vacation in Portofino, offering a range of travel essentials and beach accessories, each with a personal touch.
If Portofino Dry Gin were a song, what would it be?