`Against All Odds: Olive One - Olive Oil Times

Against All Odds: Olive One

Jun. 12, 2012
Marissa Tejada

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A uniquely shaped, cylin­dri­cal, ever­green tinted bot­tle of Cretan olive oil is the rea­son one Greek fam­ily isn’t so con­cerned about the country’s eco­nomic cri­sis. The hus­band and wife team who run the Kolympari-Mihelakis Family olive oil com­pany say their lat­est prod­uct, Olive One, sur­passes any­thing they’ve ever pro­duced before, and key mar­kets are really tak­ing notice.

We have a spe­cial qual­ity. We’ve taken care­ful steps to cre­ate our olive oil to make it the best it can be and we know that peo­ple under­stand qual­ity abroad,” says Anna Katzaki who grew up around her family’s olive trees in north­west­ern Crete. Katzaki runs the com­pany with her hus­band, Dimitris Asimakopoulos.

Anna’s fam­ily has been pro­duc­ing olive oil since the 1980’s but she says they’ve always strived to invest in and to improve their pro­duc­tion to entice for­eign mar­kets. They suc­ceeded to break into the German and American mar­kets years ago. Currently, they pro­duce 1,500 tons a year. They are proud to say their var­i­ous olive oil prod­ucts have never been over 0.5 per­cent acid­ity.

Now, they are dis­trib­ut­ing some­thing new, Olive One. It’s a lim­ited edi­tion supe­rior” olive oil mea­sur­ing between 0.19 and 0.25 per­cent acid­ity. Currently they are export­ing it to Germany where it sells for around 40 Euros for a half-liter bot­tle. They plan to export it to the United States this year.

They say its shape rep­re­sents the product’s unique­ness, choos­ing the design even though they knew the labels couldn’t be attached by machine. Each label must be applied by hand. There are 15,000 bot­tles of Olive One and they are num­bered.

Katzaki says she won’t sell it in Greece. We take care­ful steps and just focus on for­eign mar­kets. Here in Greece, qual­ity just isn’t some­thing aver­age peo­ple try to under­stand since olive oil is every­where.”

Our acid­ity is low and the taste is amaz­ing,” says Asimakopoulos who focuses on mar­ket­ing and sales efforts. The num­bers are there and the proof is there but the sys­tem doesn’t work that way here in Greece, where every­one accepts bulk.”

I’m angry about the sit­u­a­tion in Greece right now but we are look­ing at oppor­tu­nity and it is work­ing. It’s about strate­gic mar­ket­ing, the right research on whole­salers. We know our limit with our prod­ucts. We won’t sac­ri­fice qual­ity,” says Katzaki.

Kolympari-Mihelakis Family olive oil is named after the area where the fam­ily olive tree groves have been grow­ing for a thou­sand years in the scenic town of Kolymbari, Crete.

Greeks, espe­cially Cretans, know about our area. We’re famous for our olive oil. Our trees actu­ally grow in Kolympari and that’s a real impres­sive advan­tage,” says Katzaki.

People who appre­ci­ate qual­ity will know when they try our olive oil,” says Asimakopoulos. We looked every­where but the fact is there is noth­ing like Olive One in the mar­ket today.”

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