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A saucy start to ’17
Rochesterians will have a special reason to tune in to the 128th Rose Parade.

The Ragu brand plans to kick off the celebration of its 80th year—2017—with a float in the parade that honors its founders, Assunta and Giovanni Cantisano, who started selling the sauce from their Rochester home during the Great Depression.

It’s the first time Ragu is participating in the parade, which takes place Jan. 2. The float also will honor the family farmers who grow the ingredients as well as the sauce makers and consumers.

The Ragu story begins at the rear of the float. It depicts the Italian-born founders who began selling their pasta sauce made from ingredients they picked from their backyard garden. Ragu Packing Co. was born in the Cantisanos’ Avery Street home. Their house will be featured on the float.

In 1949, the family started mass-manufacturing the sauce at a plant on Lyell Avenue. In 1969, the family sold Ragu to Chesebrough-Pond’s Inc. for $43.8 million.

“The Ragu pasta sauce you enjoy today is Assunta and Giovanni’s legacy to us, the echo of their runaway success that really changed what Americans eat,” says Colleen Nash, senior brand manager at Mizkan America Inc., the Illinois-based maker of Ragu sauces.

The brand partnered with Paradiso Parade Floats and designer Charles Meier on the float, titled “Simmered in Tradition.”

“The Ragu team requested the ‘reddest float in the parade’ to highlight the vine-ripened, California-grown tomatoes that go into every jar of their pasta sauce. We delivered a float design that invites spectators to see, smell and savor the brand’s longstanding tradition of great taste,” Meier says.

The front of the float features a steaming plate of spaghetti topped with Ragu sauce, officials say. Assunta’s recipe book will rest close by.

Some 700,000 people attend the parade every year, and the 2016 event was watched by more than 41 million households, parade officials report.

Pricey offering
If you like—we mean really, really like—tequila, this might be right up your shot glass.

Casa Noble, ultra-premium and the fastest-growing tequila brand in its category, is debuting a limited- release luxury line of tequilas called Colección del Fundador. Casa Noble is distributed in the United States by Constellation Brands.

The first edition is launching this month with Alta Belleza, a single-barrel extra añejo finished in rare wine barrels, that retails at $1,200. Only 563 bottles are available in the world. It is crafted by Casa Noble’s founder and maestro tequilero, Jose Hermosillo.

Send tips, rumors, inside information or strange tales for the Loop to Managing Editor Mike Dickinson at mdickinson@rbj.net.

11/18/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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