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The big interview: Neit Whiskey

Neit Whiskey is combining Italian flair with Irish production knowhow to add a unique touch to the category.

Angelica Fendi Neit Whiskey
Angelica Siciliani Fendi is an advisor to Neit Whiskey

The Emerald Isle has become a force to be reckoned with in the global spirits sphere. Keen Irish whiskey drinkers around the world are keeping the category buoyant. Last year alone saw a trio of new distilleries join Ireland’s burgeoning distilling scene. Now, new brand Neit Whiskey is preparing to add its own unique touch to the category.

Founded by brothers Francesco Fracassi and Luca Fracassi, Neit Whiskey quickly caught the attention of Angelica Siciliani Fendi, who joined the brand as an investor and advisor.

“Neit is responding to a truly untapped gap in the market,” Siciliani Fendi explains. “I can clearly see, especially in my generation, people who literally do not know the world of whiskey, who do not know the flavours of whiskey. And Neit is a response to that.

“Many competitors are overlooking a lot of aspects of certain demographics who could be potential consumers. Being a woman, I fell in love with the mission to bring this product to more women, jetsetters, Millennials, younger people who more and more desire innovation, unique experiences, luxury experiences, adventure. Neit really ticks all of these boxes.”

Siciliani Fendi has lived in the UK for the past 10 years, originally making the move to study business at King’s College London, before completing her master’s degree in strategic marketing at the capital’s Imperial College. Her first foray into the business world was in the beauty industry, before stepping into fragrance, “which I found is very linked to the whiskey business, and is another reason why I love Neit”, she says. Today, she specialises as a content creator and coach – and her influence is clear when you dig deeper into the brand.

Neit Irish WhiskeArtistic influence

So, what is Neit Whiskey? Head to the website,, and what you’ll discover is far from your ‘traditional’ spirits platform. The artistic influence and inspiration from the co-founders, Siciliani Fendi, and fellow investor and co-visionary officer Giuseppe Stigliano leap off the screen.

At first glance, you would be forgiven for misconstruing this as a fashion house – but that’s not to say that fashion and art aren’t key to Neit’s message.

“Our idea is to create a product that not only has cutting-edge design, but also in its communication, in its partnerships, is innovative for the category, and thinks outside of the box. It communicates at a cross-category level,” Siciliani Fendi explains.

Neit is scheduled to make its debut in Italy this month. There will be two core products: Mellow Spice and Toffee Dream. Mellow Spice is a 12-year-old single-grain whiskey, bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration or added colouring. The whiskey was aged in Bourbon barrels for 10 years before spending two further years in Moscatel casks.

Toffee Dream, meanwhile, is a no-age-statement blended whiskey that was rested in Bourbon barrels, and bottled without chill-filtration or caramel colouring at 43% ABV.
Francesco Fracassi adds: “We will then have seasonal drops four times a year, such as Madeira Mystery, which is 16 years of age, a single malt, distilled in pot stills. It was aged for 14 years in Bourbon barrels, and then spent two years finishing in Madeira casks.”

With Italian founders at the helm, it made sense the inaugural market launch should be Italy. The UK will follow soon after, before Neit is taken to other European countries in the near future.

“We want to celebrate the idea of Irish soul, Italian style,” notes Stigliano. “The Irish part comes, of course, from working with one of the best distilleries out there. But we wanted to bring that Italian influence.”

Siciliani Fendi adds: “Italian lifestyle – the ‘dolce vita’ – is something that has forever been looked at with an envious eye, and we want to bring that experience to consumers with Neit. In Italy, drinking is an experience to be enjoyed with food, to be shared with others. We have done cocktail-pairing dinners with Neit in the past, and our focus goes back to that tradition of sharing; sharing the moment, sharing a meal, sharing a really fantastic experience, but at the same time, modernising the way you’re doing that.”

NEIT Whiskey 2 (Alessandro Lana)The team members recall a February dinner event in Venice, Italy, held at the Venice Venice Hotel, curated to take guests on a sensory journey built around Neit Whiskey.

Food-and-drink pairings included a dish comprising turnip, lovage and puffed quinoa, which was matched with an Irish Blood & Sand: Neit Irish whiskey, cherry liqueur, red vermouth, Punt e Mes Italian vermouth, and fresh orange juice. A later course was matched with Neit 1927, made with Neit Irish whiskey, red vermouth, Punt e Mes, Campari, and rhubarb bitter. Such events, along with marketing communications, are spearheaded by creative agency Spring Studios, of which Stigliano is global CEO.

“Personally, I love the fact that you can combine the whiskey with other ingredients and – I always go to fragrance in my mind – see how it impacts your olfactory senses, how the taste and smell combine to form something new and something great,” Siciliani Fendi says. “You can create such wonderful fresh cocktails with Neit Whiskey and combine that with food so well.”

This is just the start of the experiential plans for Neit. Designing experiences and opportunities to forge memories in person with its consumer base as the brand grows will be integral to Neit’s future. “From the moment you touch the bottle, even that is a sensory experience,” enthuses Siciliani Fendi. “There’s a beautiful piece of leather around the bottle, the texture of the glass when you see it and touch it is beautiful – it really gives you a full experience.”

The concept, Fendi and the team believe, plays well to the ‘drink less, but better’ mantra that more consumers are adopting – particularly among younger legal-drinking-age groups. As the brand grows, managing its expansion and availability will be a key challenge for the team, they note, but one they feel well-equipped to handle.

“We have casks. We could double the quantity all the time – it’s just we don’t want to,” explains Stigliano. “We are very conscious about managing what’s important for the brand, for the story we want to tell, and for the company. We stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to distilling and heritage. But we are confident we have an interesting story, a great product, and we hope consumers will feel the same way.”

Siciliani Fendi’s expertise when it comes to social media will be instrumental in growing the brand’s audience. “From a content perspective, at the beginning I felt like a potential challenge could have been talking about alcohol online,” she adds. “But actually, I’ve seen, and I’m noticing trend-wise, right now the world is really opening up to content, to collaborations with creators, and promoting alcohol in a sensible way.”

With strong aesthetics, versatile liquid and a powerhouse team of creatives behind the brand, anything is possible for Neit. “I’m very fortunate to be one of the early birds that gets to experience the Neit revolution,” Siciliani Fendi says. “I’m very excited for consumers to get closer to the product, and the lifestyle we’re trying to build – and to help Irish whiskey make a comeback among the younger generation. We want to make whiskey cool again, the way that Tequila did some years ago; break those barriers, that status quo that previously suffocated the category. I’m excited for that.”

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