Smeg discusses its acquisition of La Pavoni, what it means to the company to unite two Italian brands, and how it will improve its position in the Australian market.
When the Pavoni family decided to sell the 118-year-old coffee machine manufacturing business in 2019, they looked no further than Smeg, a company with the same Italian heritage that has been a leader in the production of designer domestic appliances for more than 75 years.
“[The Pavoni family] wanted to sell the company to a like-minded, family-oriented business that sold similar luxury Italian appliances. They reached out to Vittorio Bertazzoni, CEO and third-generation family member, and with a similar foundation and history, it was natural step for Smeg to acquire La Pavoni,” says Leon Wolf, Smeg Australia’s General Manager of the Professional Division.
Founded in 1905 and based in Milan, La Pavoni produces handcrafted espresso machines for the high-end market sector. Leon says the brand leverages the quality of its products and its refined aesthetic.
“It is a philosophy the company continues to pursue to this day, to create synergies that will enrich both companies,” he says.
The acquisition allows Smeg and La Pavoni to share knowledge and mutual affinities for product lines, paying attention to design and details while affirming the quality of ‘Made in Italy’ products.
“La Pavoni, one of the original brands in the coffee world, gave life to the first espresso machine for bars, the ‘Ideale’, and created one of the world’s most famous lever machines. We’re eager to educate the Australian market on La Pavoni’s heritage and the authenticity of a handmade Italian coffee machine,” says Leon.
“This acquisition also allows us to complete our category offering in our professional division. With our professional ovens, dishwashers, cooktops, and now coffee machines, we can supply a café with all the equipment they need to open their doors and become a successful establishment.”
Leon says La Pavoni also completes its domestic collection, offering a range of lever and semi-professional machines with premium dual boiler machines.
“We can now satisfy every single part of the market, not just from a technological perspective but from a price point too,” he says.
Although Leon is eager to broaden La Pavoni’s horizons and offer its machines to the Australian market, he says the brand is pursuing a specific target market with an acquired taste for specialty coffee.
“Customers shopping in specialist retail stores will find La Pavoni machines within Smeg kitchen displays, as we know Smeg customers are often seeking a luxurious yet affordable coffee solution. La Pavoni satisfies this requirement,” says Leon.
He says COVID-19 and consequent lockdowns allowed Smeg to focus on the national market and grow its La Pavoni sales and importer partnerships.
“It amplified the opportunity for us to get more involved with the Australian market, due to the uplift in sales of small coffee machines while people were at home. As professional machines weren’t in high demand, the domestic market took over, and allowed us to focus on building relationships with importers of La Pavoni,” Leon says.
“We bought all the stock into Smeg Australia’s warehouses and wholesaled to distributors, saving them importing costs and time. We saw a big passion from our distributors to grow the La Pavoni business and ended up tripling stock within a 12-month period to keep up with demand.”
Leon is excited to re-establish the La Pavoni brand in the Australian market with the help of its distributors. Smeg will also display iconic La Pavoni machines at the 2023 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in August.
“We will have machines from the La Pavoni Diamante 1955 Concorso Series on display at MICE. These machines are beautifully hand-crafted in polished stainless steel, with contoured panels offering a diamond-like prism of reflecting angles. It’s a customer-favourite, which tells me that it’s something people resonate with and is a standout masterpiece in the professional world,” says Leon.
“We want to bring consumers opportunities to have bespoke products in a cost-effective and easier way.”
For more information, visit au.lapavoni.com
This article appears in the August 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.