Paula "Pixie" Dezzutti

Local Choice Spirits

Pixie is part of a very exclusive group of entrepreneurs: less than %1 of distilleries worldwide are owned and operated by women.

According to Pixie, there are only 2,000 craft distilleries in the US and this is a type of business that is very capital-intensive. It’s hard work and you have to fight against the big names and against a male-dominated industry.

The Striped Pig distillery has become a staple of Charleston, with a plethora of products that have made waves in the industry. It’s not common to have Bourbon from Charleston but her special run has appeared on Forbes magazine as one of the top six bourbons in the world (see under Local Choice Spirits, the mother brand for Striped Pig products)

You might think that Pixie has to be a very tough, harsh person to make it in such an environment and, in truth, she has a lot of grit but she remains a very friendly person who is quite approachable and enjoyed a great conversation.

 Here is the very condensed version of our 15-minute interview with Pixie:

Q: I come from Europe where we never had prohibition and where there is a much more relaxed attitude toward alcohol. As I moved to the US  I became aware of a certain demonization drinking still today. I know that your point of view is that you’re seeing drinking as a way of gathering and enjoying something together,

A: It’s an opportunity for prosperity and celebration.  And if all the way back to the reveal of Jesus Christ on planet earth and one of his big miracles was turning water into wine at the feast of Canaan. If you’re coming in with an omniscient creator that says, okay, we’re going to have a big reveal on planet earth and you turn it into being something about celebration and positivity,

then I’m not going to change that. And as far back, as, as history goes, people have been imbued in beverages that have fermentation. So I definitely see it as an opportunity for celebration.

There’s abuse, any industry. But if as you are responsible and controlling, then it’s a celebration.

And so for women in this space, it’s a very natural transition because it is about serving people and taking care of people, and bringing people together. And that’s just easy for a lot of women, right?

Q: This a very interesting point of view. Tell us more.

A:  I didn’t think that we needed to have a model where everybody had to go be some big international brand and play with the big boys. But the local choice, which is the name of my company, Local Choice, could provide an opportunity for storytelling and celebration. So it’s like: “what’s your story? What’s in your spirit?” And we asked people to share their stories by inviting others or by sharing a cocktail.

Q:So, under the local choice umbrella, so to speak, um, are there other brands in addition to your own

A: We have 50 brands, either owned by me or in partnership with all of my brands. We are not a endorsement or licensing deal company. We are direct partnerships. We want to make a difference in the platform. And we want to provide an opportunity for everybody to participate.

So, Local Choice owns all its brands has partnerships with brands, and allows people to enter the space and it gives them their personalized option to share their story.

Striped Pig alone has six or seven different products and we’ve won over 250 awards beating the market leaders across the board, in all categories of spirits.

Q: That is simply fantastic. Tell us a little more about how you collected so many awards for your products.

A:  I have this goal to have super, super, super-premium products, especially because this is a woman platform. I want to establish the perception that everything that comes out of this distillery is of the highest quality possible. And so we, we strive to be able to serve our community, to provide premium products at a value price.

And they’re all very unique and different because we’re a family-run distillery. We can do things that some of the bigger boys cannot do. For example, we will blend things for which we have leftovers. If we made limoncello and we have some leftover grapefruit extract, we might blend them. If we have, a mango vodka and a mango rum, we’ll blend the two of them together and have this mango vodka/rum blend. We can put rye whiskeys in cognac barrels!

It was a great experience to be at the Striped Pig distillery and meet Pixie. Her energy is contagious and her dedication to improving the community is exemplary. The Striped Pig offers tours of their distillery, which is in North Charleston and you should plan to go there and check it out. It is well worth your time.

This website QR codeAnd that’s why Pixie is a Lowcountry Influential.

 

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