The history of the Paoletti Company began around 1910 in Folignano
The municipal envoy Enrico Paoletti was born in 1880. His father Luigi Paoletti, also called “La Legge” (literally “The Ley”), was a cobbler, a cook and “philosopher”. Enrico Paoletti managed the town tavern, but decided to set up his own small business and started to produce carbonated soft drinks.
In those days, people used to consume a drink made of a quarter of wine with gassosa (lemon flavored carbonated soft drink), but the supplier of gassosa was often late.
It was probably for this reason that Enrico decided produce his own fizzy drink to add to wine. Despite the economic and social crisis of the post-war period and his very limited means, Enrico succeeded in giving life to the first carbonated drink business, thanks to his undoubted entrepreneurship and imagination.
In 1922, the company started to produce the first carbonated soft drinks in the factory set up under Luigi’s house, inside the tavern. They bottled the drinks, called GASSOSA and SPUMA, in an historic bottle closed with a small glass ball stopper.
Many women from the town were employed in the factory. Their last task in the evening was to glue the colored labels on the bottles by hand.
Then, the drinks were placed in wooden crates and distributed with a horse-drawn cart to all the taverns in Ascoli and nearby towns. Two years later, the company achieved its early success in the International Exhibitions of Industry and Labor of Milan and Rome.
Enrico Paoletti brought his products to the International Exhibition of Brussels. His carbonated soft drinks enjoyed great success and won the “Grande Palme d’Honneur et Médaille d’Or”, an award that proved the quality of the products, always made from high-quality raw materials. Enrico died prematurely in 1927 from a fall from a horse and the company passed to the three brothers of the second generation.
In particular, Giovanni Cadorna Paoletti, Enrico’s youngest son, took advantage of the knowledge in mechanics acquired during military service, putting it at the service of the company. Under his guidance, in the second half of the 1940s, production was highly mechanized. The number of employees also increased in this period, reaching 40 units in the summer period.
As demand grew, production also soared, and the first war trucks for distribution, “Dodges” and “Chevrolets”, were purchased.
The ’50s and ’60s
Paoletti soft drinks, Gassosa and Spuma in particular, became very popular in the Piceno area, strengthening the company’s position in the market. In the 1960s, the company moved the production to Marino del Tronto, in a renovated and expanded family oil mill. Following the purchase of a new automatic production line (the famous “Rigamonti and Villa” in Milan), the workforce drops to around twenty units while production soars.
Moreover, the company started to be a contract manufacturer of some important Italian firms, such as Fabbri. In the 1960s, the company replaced the heavy wooden crates with plastic crates.
Some years later, glass will be partly replaced by PET, a deposit-free, handy and more easily transportable material than glass.
Nevertheless, its advent led small and medium-sized enterprises to a crisis. Indeed, they could not compete with large national and multinational companies with a 5 time higher hourly output. Small Italian companies were negatively affected also by the big companies’ greater possibility of automation and investments in marketing. Paoletti itself faced one of its most difficult periods from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Following this crisis, between 1992 (when Giovanni Cadorna died) and 1999, the company and the brand were leased.
However, bad management of the brand by its tenants worsened the crisis.
Giancarlo and Pierluigi, the third generation of the Paoletti family
Although with different professional backgrounds, the two sons of Giovanni Cadorna did their utmost to save the company, its human capital and its history. In fact, the brand was still significant for the entire territory, where more than one generation grew up drinking Gassosa and Spuma Paoletti.
Giancarlo in particular, gave up his brilliant career as a bank manager during his last few cushy years and took over the business. He became the company’s mind, heart, soul and, very often, also its arms. Thanks to his strength, passion, intelligence, perseverance and courage, Paoletti has exponentially grown and today is a well-established company in Italy.
Moreover, it is also starting to penetrate foreign markets (Germany, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, Florida and Australia).
Today, production is carried out in state-of-the-art factories, using pure water with ideal organoleptic properties. This ensures the historical high-quality standards, the main positioning tools available to small businesses. Paoletti believes that the excellence of its drinks is an essential requirement for success.
In the 1920s, scented wooden barrels arrived in Ascoli from Sicily, containing various juices. They were stored in the company’s warehouse and opened only at the time of the “secret” mixing with other ingredients.
Even though now this is only a memory, the various generations at the helm of the company never stopped looking for high-quality products. They stayed true to the initial corporate philosophy. Even with some innovation, it is essential that every drink conveys as far as possible its faithfulness to the traditional recipe, bringing the consumer back to the flavors of the past.
In 2009, Paoletti soft drinks were included among the products of excellence of the Piceno area, in the category of historical high-quality and prestigious products in the province of Ascoli Piceno. An award that has certainly rewarded the company for its effort and the attention paid to every recipe.
As for the labels, in 1922 Paoletti’s design had the exclusive aim of communicating the brand and place of production. In the following years, the company realized that its products could acquire even more value if associated with a precise image, capable of conquering the imagination and emotions of its consumers.
So, the company gave birth to Tina Frizzante, also known as “FrizzanTina”. She is a nice and delicate female figure of clear Italian origin, who appeared for the first time on the old bottles of SPUMA, in a colored label enameled on the glass.
Today Tina is the adult icon of Paoletti Beverages. She reappeared on the label in 2002, following a careful restyling. Her face, her look and her smile give her the allure of and old-fashioned diva, with a natural and spontaneous sensuality. Her presence definitely contributed to the company’s growth.
On the screen
Our famous new icon attracted the attention of the media. In addition to national periodicals and newspapers (Vanity Fair, Repubblica, Il Venerdì di Repubblica etc.), it catches the eyes of some film directors.
The evocative images of Tina Frizzantina, the beautiful and refined Paoletti icon, appeared on the set of Sergio Rubini’s latest romantic comedy, “The Cézanne Affair” (2009), set in Apulia in the 1960s. Another film that brought the Paoletti brand to the big screen is “Cosmonaut” (2009), by Susanna Nicchiarelli. In a scene set in the Communist Party headquarters in the Trullo district of Rome, people toast to the first woman in space with a bottle of Spuma Paoletti.
In 2017, old versions of Paoletti bottles and our beer appear in the film “All the Money in the World”, by award-winning director Ridley Scott, nominated for three Golden Globes. The brand appeared also in “Travelling with Adele” a 2018 film directed by Alessandro Capitani with Alessandro Haber and Sara Serraiocco and in “My Brilliant Friend”, an Italian-American TV series created and directed by Saverio Costanzo. Also, since 2013, Paoletti drinks have often appeared in the Sky TV series, “I delitti del Bar Lume”, as some of the products for sale in the bar.
The products and the brand showed up also on Italian television. Indeed, Paoletti made its appearance on the Italian TV series “Tutti per Bruno” with Claudio Amendola, in the TV program “I migliori anni” conducted by Carlo Conti and in the game show “I soliti ignoti” conducted by Fabrizio Frizzi, in which Alessio Paoletti took part in the game as a hidden identity.
The fashion sector
Last but not least, the brand was also present and appreciated in the fashion sector. It took part in various editions of the Pitti event in Florence, in the making of the “Duck farm” catalogue, and in 2011 it attended the World Fashion Fair in Paris.
Paoletti is an historical company that went through both good and bad times. Founded just after the end of the First World War, it experienced the Second World War and overcame the 1970 crisis and the most recent 2008 economic crisis with determination. The ability of the company to overcome every adversity in the course of its long history can be attributed exclusively to the human element, a true common thread between past and present.
Today, after Giancarlo’s recent and untimely death, his brother Pierluigi, his son Gianluca and his wife Serenella continue to pursue the entrepreneurial and personal values that the Paoletti family has passed down for four generations and for over a hundred years.
In 2012, the national organization Unioncamere registered the Company in the “Register of Historic Companies – The companies that have made the history of Italy”.