In 2006 my brother and I opened an Italian restaurant and my mum, Franca Cece, was the head chef. After dinner, mum would offer guests a complimentary serve of her family’s traditional limoncello and she always admired their facial expressions after tasting it. For over a year, clients begged us to sell it to them but we couldn’t as we didn’t have a liquor licence, and I quickly recognised there was a market for her liquid gold.
I decided to surprise mum by gaining a liquor licence and bottling her family’s southern Italian traditional liqueur. After an arduous two and a half years to gain the licence, we went into production. Soon afterwards, I handed mum a bottle of limoncello that I claimed I’d purchased from a bottle shop. When she said it was “a nice looking bottle” I suggested she look at the back label. She paused in complete silence and then tears rolled down her face as she saw her own photo - she was overwhelmed and couldn’t believe we’d kept this secret from her!
With mum’s blessing and the support of my wife, Teresa, I started developing other flavours and soon the Cello range comprised four liqueurs: Lemon, Lime, Orange and the popular Passionfruit.By March 2010, the first Cello Liqueurs landed on the shelves of my local bottle shop. I decided to enter the Cello range into some of the world’s most prestigious, stringent liquor competitions. I figured if they were good they’d win awards and if they didn’t I’d go back to the drawing board to improve them. To our amazement, Cello Limoncello won 1st place at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London (widely regarded as the Oscars of the drinks industry), the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, and the IWSC Hong Kong, outdoing limoncello’s from Italy and around the world. Our other Cello’s also took honours which meant link: our liqueurs were now world-class award winners! The wins inspired us further and in 2011, the same year we developed Cello Sambuca Bianca, we won 2nd place with Silver at the IWSC London and Bronze at the IWSC in Hong Kong! Over the next five years we worked hard raising brand awareness, attending over 20 food and wine shows per year, and developing a national customer base. Cello was now a national product! In January 2017 we launched a new smooth and intense milk-based liqueur range, “Dolce by Cello”, including eight flavours: Mango, Rockmelon, Lemon, Coffee, Chocolate, Coconut, Mint and Strawberry. These also won top honours at the 2017 IWSC awards, with 1st place for Dolce Mango, Rockmelon and Lemon, 2nd place for Coconut and Bronze medals for Coffee and Mint. We are both humbled and proud of this success. We believe our secret is that we are very passionate about the quality of our products and because our liqueurs are steeped in our family’s heritage. Teresa and I have enjoyed the roller coaster journey over the last 10 years and can’t wait to see what the future has to offer us. We would like to thank all our commercial clients and customers for their continued support. We really appreciate it. Most of all, we would like to acknowledge my mother and her ancestors’ contribution to this success – they all share this international recognition. Salute! Domenico Cece
Cece Liqueur Pty Ltd