Hometown Cachaça

In the little town of Pitangui, the hills rise from the Pará River and roll across the landscape. The Santo Antônio das Pitangueiras Ranch, where Nossa is made from field to still, is perched just above town. It was built in 1715 when the first settlers came to the Minas Gerais region in search of gold and in need of a good drink. At the time, Minas was the frontier, but, as the mines grew, it became a hub of the country’s economy.

Now, Brazilians think of the state as the heartland, where the food tastes better and the cachaça is just right.

The First Batch

José Otávio de Carvalho Lopes, called Zé by his friends, grew up near Pitangui and learned to make cachaça from his father. To earn a living, he left the region but returned in 1977 and bought the ranch. He found an old copper still in a barn and, after he and his wife Rosana renovated they house they figured they’d try to make a little cachaça. The first run was rough, but they got a better with every small batch, sharing their spirit with friends at parties and refining their technique with each round of feedback.

Family Business

Soon, the neighbors wanted more than a sip, so Zé and Rosana built the Santíssima Distillery next to the old farmhouse, planted new fields of cane and started to sell some of their spirit. What began decades ago as a family tradition of making moonshine for parties has become one of the most decorated cachaças in the country. Now, their daughter Manu and her husband David live on the farm and their granddaughter plays in the fields.

For Zé, making cachaça with his family is a chance to elevate his heritage and honor the long history of cachaça that traces back 500 years to the first Europeans to arrive in Brazil.  

Learn the history