A young entrepreneur from Mondorf-les-Bains has created an artisanal limoncello that he plans to export across the Atlantic. This is the story of Ruggeri limoncello.
Olivier Ruggeri is young, ambitious and has just set up his own company in Mondorf-les-Bains. He is one of those people who isn’t afraid to grab life by the horns and to think big. At the age of 30, he left the comfort of his steady job as a sales manager in the retail sector to pursue his dream. Or rather, to fulfil a promise he had made to his grandmother Maria shortly before her death: to make a name for himself. A promise he immediately set about fulfilling by looking at ways to pay tribute to his Italian origins.
A promise to his grandmother
“Several of my friends live in the US. When I was visiting them, we realised that there wasn’t really any quality limoncello over there, that no one could name a brand… And that’s where the idea was born,” recalls the young entrepreneur. He contacted one of his cousins who produces limoncello in Italy, not far from his family’s village of Acqualagna in the Marche region. “Like in many Italian families, my grandparents, and the rest of the family, have always made their own spirits at home.” He then met up with this distant cousin, whose liqueurs he already knew and liked, and told him about his idea for a limoncello. “A good limoncello is between 28 and 32 percent alcohol. I wanted mine to have an alcohol content of 28 percent and just the right amount of sweetness.” After much trial and error, the pair finally found the perfect combination that satisfied Olivier’s requirements. Olivier has since been back to the US, to prospect for clients: “I spent several weeks there and secured contacts in California, Nevada, and even Canada,” he says.
Shipping containers to the US
When asked about his vision for his limoncello, the enterprising go-getter replies simply: “I see whole containers of it crossing the Atlantic.”
His limoncello has been ready to go since last summer. He wanted the label to be simple, yet to reflect his heritage: the three colours of Italy and a drawing of two men playing music. A clarinet and an accordion. “It’s my grandfather and his brother. The drawing was based on an old photograph,” he says.
“I’ve started marketing my limoncello in Luxembourg, and it’s really taken off. Several restaurants, including CHECK-INN in Findel, Chez Franky in Alzingen, Loxalis in Dudelange and Casa 49 in Remich, and a number of Italian grocery stores, like Volio in Junglinster and Bontà Italiana in Lorentzweiler, now stock it. And so far, the feedback’s been very good.”
And if his limoncello is already a success, his newest liqueur creation, meloncello, is also tipped to impress!