The Italian-Belgian Connection via New York

Fresh on the heels of winning the New York International Beer Competition, the team behind Italy’s family-owned Collesi Brewery gathered in the city to get America better acquainted with its line of Belgian-inspired brews.The brewery, which was named International Brewery of the Year in the competition, was feted at New York City’s Bottega del Vino last month,

Collesi’s offerings, all packaged in upscale wine-style bottles, include the Munich barley-based Chiara, the Pilsen barley-based blond Bionda, Ambrata (amber), Rossa (red), Nera (a Belgian-style strong stout) and Triple Malt (a tripel style).

They’re imported to the U.S. market by Franklin Park, Ill.-based Wein Bauer, Inc.

Most of Collesi’s focus thus far has been with the on-premise.

“The second phase is going to be off-premise,” says Danilo Bordini, Collesi’s sales manager for the North America market. “But we have to start with a brand recognition campaign.”

The award from the New York International Beer Competition, founded by alcohol beverage writer and judge Adam Levy—the creator of the New York International Spirits Competition and the New York International Wine Competition—will help in that regard.

The brewery, located in Apecchio, about 70 miles east of Florence, was founded by Giuseppi Collesi and sits at an elevation of about 5,000 feet in the Appenine Mountains. “The brewery itself is built on the side of the mountain,” Bordini says. “The Collesi family has been growing crops for three centuries now. Giuseppe has a technical background and always thought about using the crops in a more exciting way, rather than just cereals or bread.

Looks like he found it.

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