Young entrepreneur turning lemons into a sweet success
Launching his Salem-based company, Fabrizia Spirits, five years ago was no easy ride for Mastroianni, who began as a 25-year-old accountant with a dream of producing traditional Italian limoncello for the masses.
Upon his return to the States, he tried making a few small batches on a whim, serving his Uncle Joe a glass during a holiday dinner.
Taking a huge leap of faith, Mastroianni kept his day job, but also began seeking a place to produce his product in Massachusetts. But he was taken aback when he learned of the start-up costs.
Venturing over the border, he found the Granite State somewhat more welcoming to new businesses, with annual licensing fees set at $1,700.
In the early days, lemons were peeled by the bushel in his parent's Newton, Mass., garage, then driven to Fabrizia Spirits' headquarters at 2 Industrial Drive.
He cashed in his paltry 401(k), emptied his savings account and took cash advances on his credit cards to begin regular production of the all-natural liqueur.
"He told me exactly what I needed to do," Mastroianni said. "And he met with me right away."
Gerrish said New Hampshire is a unique place for selling and producing liquor because both the large, corporate companies and the small start-up business are required to go through the same process.
Within six months, Fabrizia Spirits exceeded its sales goals. These days its Limoncello is the second top-selling one in the entire state, exceeded only by global best seller Bellini.
Fabrizia Spirits are now sold in 11 states, and Mastroianni said he plans to add several more states by fall.
Mastroianni said he hopes to hire more workers as the company grows. Just last fall, the company released a new product, Blood Orange Liquor, with much market success.
Project sales for 2013 are between 70,000 to 80,000 bottles - nearly doubling from 2012's 40,000 bottles sold.
With a steady history of increasing sales, Mastroianni said his days at the current site may be numbered, but one thing is certain.
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