Daniel Island's 'Pixie' Paula is a giant in the Charleston spirits industry
Daniel Island resident and entrepreneur “Pixie” Paula Dezzutti is a pioneer in the spirits industry. In 2011, she founded the Charleston-based company, Local Choice Spirits. The mother of nine is a true renaissance woman. She owns the local Striped Pig Distillery (which recently won the S.C. Distillery of the Year award), creates spirit brands with celebrities, and is involved in several endeavors to positively impact the community.
Dezzutti entered the male-dominated alcohol industry after successful careers in the financial, real estate, and hospitality industries. She worked with celebrities on tourism events at the various properties she developed before becoming an investor and executive at a technology company that purified alcohol.
“It didn’t take long to realize how much potential there was in marrying my knowledge of celebrity and high visibility brand building into the lucrative beverage industry,” Dezzutti acknowledged.
Dezzutti believes in “pouring it forward” and sees her family-run business as an opportunity to give back.
“We care about what we do, and we care about the people we serve,” she said. “This is why we created ‘Sip & Share’ - our cause marketing initiative that allows us to give back to local communities.”
Dezzutti strives to give her customers “a premium product at a value price, so people don’t overpay in the name of charity,” she added. Two dollars of every bottle purchased for a fundraiser or non-profit event is donated back.
Dezzutti’s work ethic motivates those around her. Johnny Pieper, head distiller, says working with Paula is a life-changing experience.
“She inspires me every day with her constant upbeat attitude and her refusal to hear no,” he said. “She is a pioneer in the world of developing brands and flavors.”
Her diverse brands and partners include: Gentry Bourbon, (which is featured on the Charleston reality show Southern Charm), Monkey Cinnamon-Flavored Tequila with Richard Rawlings, The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey, and Gold Star Vodka for Veterans. Dezzutti’s brands have won over 70 awards.
After moving to Daniel Island almost a decade ago, Dezzutti fell in love with the area. She says Charleston is the perfect place for business.
“There are thousands of bars and restaurants here, and there is a huge push for local food and beverages. The people of Charleston want to support one another and support local business wherever they can.”
Dezzutti is currently in the process of setting up a distillery in Georgia. When completed, it will be largest in the United States. The petite dynamo is also working on her own reality TV show. Always looking for ways to empower women, Dezzutti just acquired Skirt Magazine. Skirt, Charleston’s first women’s magazine, just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
With everything on the horizon, Dezzutti still finds time to grow her business.
“We have new brands coming on board that we can’t wait to bring to market, and I’m working very closely with the music industry creating magic there as well…We are so excited for our future,” she exclaimed.