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HomeMarketGood Company: Amázzoni’s Award-Winning, Rainforest-Preserving Gin

Good Company: Amázzoni’s Award-Winning, Rainforest-Preserving Gin

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Amázzoni Gin was born out of personal necessity. When Arturo Isola moved to Brazil in 2010—the “land of cachaça and caipirinha”—he adored the beaches, the unique spirit, and the people. But his one gripe? He needed “a good gin for my negroni.” 

In 2015, Isola, an architect, co-founded Amázzoni Gin with his friend Alexandre Mazza, a visual artist. Two years later they launched their first gin, and Isola, who is originally from Genoa, Italy, found he was “able to give back to Brazil for everything she has given me.” 

Since then, Amázzoni Gin has made a splash. It won the Icons of Gin Craft Producer of the Year in 2018; the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019; and the Icons of Gin Distiller of the Year in 2021. 

Located in the in the Paraiba Valley’s Cachoeira Farm, an 18th-century former coffee plantation two hours outside of Rio de Janeiro, Amázzoni is Brazil’s first exclusive gin distillery. It is also now the most widely sold gin in the country, with 250,000 bottles sold in Brazil in 2021, and the largest craft gin distillery in South America. 

“I believe that we are part of a revolution [of] quality and provenance in spirits,” says Isola, 48, who lives in Sao Paulo with his partner, feted costume designer Alexia Hentsch, and their baby son, Elio. “This revolution has already been adopted in the food industry, but it has been slower with spirits. It is challenging to change people’s mindset and start seeing that we are what we eat, and also, what we drink.”

Inside Amazzoni’s distillery.


Amazzoni archive

THE ITEMS

Amázzoni means “Amazon warriors” in Italian. The name is “a tribute to the rainforest and all of the botanicals we are using from there—we wanted to give our gin a name from its origin,” says Isola. 

The classic Amázzoni Gin is made from 10 ingredients in a secret recipe created by the founders. Botanicals include flavors directly sourced in the Amazon and  never before used in a gin: cocoa, Brazil nut, the Brazilian vegetable maxixe, and the vitória-régia water lily seed. These ingredients, mixed with classics such as juniper berry, lemon, and pink pepper, are then macerated in neutral cereal alcohol and poured into a copper still, the first designed and cast in Brazil specially for gin. 

The Amázzoni Classic “had to be pleasant and readable to all the consumers,” but with the Rio Negro “we went for the gin we wanted to drink,” says Isola. The result is a tribute to a London dry style gin, with six times more juniper than the traditional Amázzoni. It is, insists Isola, “complex and yet so smooth and gentle” with the “oiliness of the Brazilian nut preserving the herbal and spicy character of the brand.”

The bottles—designed to be beautiful enough to keep after the gin is finished—are inspired by the pharmaceutical flasks of the Renaissance. “I am an architect by trade and very attentive to design,” Isola says. “Gin at the time was considered a medicinal alcohol, so we wanted to recreate a bottle in the shape of these original flasks as a nod to this history.” 

THE PRICE

Amázzoni Gin costs US$35. Rio Negro costs $75. 

Amázzoni Gin exports to 15 countries across the globe, included the United States. 

Founder Arturo Isola.


Leonardo Ramadinha

WHAT’S THE GOOD?

“Since the very beginning, Amázzoni has been an ecologically sustainable and zero-waste project,” Isola says. “This ethos applies to all the measures taken at our distillery to reduce our impact on the planet. We reuse all the waste generated by the distillation process and use water from natural springs inside our farm.” 

The boiler is fed with certified reforested wood and biomass resulting from the gin production. Amázzoni has also set up a social program with the neighboring municipality to train 12 women from the nearby small town of Porto Real to give them work at the distillery.  

Following its launch in the U.S. in 2020, Amázzoni donated US$2 for each bottle sold online to three organizations that work toward saving the Amazon rainforest: Plant Your Change, which protects the environment; Amazon Conservation, which prioritizes science and technology; and Vem do Xingu, which supports the indigenous people who live there. 

Since 2022, however, Amázzoni has exclusively worked with Vem do Xingu, which runs a network of commercial warehouses in indigenous communities, managed by indigenous people. 

“We switched to this NGO because their focus is simple: It’s time to preserve what is already there, exactly how it has been there for centuries,” Isola says. “How? By preserving and protecting the people who have been living there forever and that literally live [off] what the forest gives to them. There’s no better guardian than them to make sure the forest thrives and prospers.”

With the recent launch of Amázzoni Rio Negro in the U.S., Amázzoni also made a donation to the rainforest preservation NGO Health in Harmony, creating a tailor-made social impact NFT represented by 50 images from a local Amazonian photographer. “The NFTs were given to U.S. clients, raising their awareness about the preservation of the Amazon rainforest,” Isola says. 

WHAT’S NEXT

“We want to keep growing, specifically in international exports, remaining true to our original values of craft, sustainability, quality, and uniqueness,” Isola says. What’s also important is using “our international visibility to make the world aware of the importance of preserving the Amazon rainforest,” which provides the lifeline and inspiration for the gin. 

Credit: marketwatch.com

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