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By harnessing the skills he learned at César Ritz Colleges, this alum became a successful entrepreneur and influential business owner.
César Ritz Colleges alum, Alexander Mackh, is the owner of two successful businesses and recently named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” people to watch in 2022 because of his recognized innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe’s arts and culture space.
After completing his studies at the school’s Brig campus in 2015, Alexander Mackh returned to work at his family’s hotel business in Austria for two years, where he managed the 130-room hotel with three different food and beverage outlets, before deciding to pursue a new venture.
While working at the hotel, Alexander became interested in sourcing new products, traveling and tracking new trends. "Speaking to suppliers from all over the world to find good products and traveling to exhibitions to see what was available was interesting. I just loved it!" he says.
One particular product that peaked his interest was wine. Alexander developed the idea to start a wine import company, which grew into Alpine Cellar – his first of two successful businesses.
Alexander collaborated closely with winemakers and purveyors while building Alpine Cellar. That, combined with his extensive travel, led him to his next idea: Grassl Glass – a company that designs functional wine-centric glassware using traditional glassmaking techniques.
"I’m not a designer, but I enjoy wine and understand how it should evolve in the glass. So I listened to the winemakers and learned from them and began sketching my own stemware line.” In 2018, Alexander found a group of artisans in Slovakia skilled in mouth-blown glass making who could help bring his idea to life.
After developing several prototypes and testing his product among potential customers, he sold his first batch to a buyer in the United States. Shortly after, a Danish man visiting Alexander’s family hotel also agreed to distribute the stemware. And with that, demand grew and Alexander expanded into Korea, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Last year, Grassl Glass made $1 million selling glasses to restaurants and wine enthusiasts. But Alexander’s innovative mindset means he’s still looking for new opportunities and ways to expand his businesses.
"So far, we are doing well and taking hold of a good part of the market share. We just expanded into Norway and are generally looking at ways to get the product to more people who are interested. I am always looking for what we can build next within the market."
There is a lot of competition out there, so at the end of the day, we want to be part of a community of like-minded wine enthusiasts and share and learn from one another.
But in addition to growing his businesses, Alexander wants to make sure his businesses are sustainable. He harnesses the power of social media to achieve that by developing a loyal customer base.
"There is a lot of competition out there, so at the end of the day, we want to be part of a community of like-minded wine enthusiasts and share and learn from one another,” he says. “This has become a very important part of our business strategy."
“It’s not enough to network and integrate into the wine community. We must understand what the customer needs and wants,” Alexander continues. “A lot of brands think they are above this, but we strive to stay fully customer-focused.”
It’s not enough to network and integrate into the wine community. We must understand what the customer needs and wants.
It’s his innovative mindset and leadership skills that have led Alexander to become a successful entrepreneur before even reaching his 30th birthday. His creativity and drive will help keep his businesses sustainable for years to come. We look forward to seeing what great idea he comes up with next!
For more than 40 years, César Ritz Colleges has fostered a culture of entrepreneurship, sustainability, and leadership, in an inclusive learning environment that values independent, visionary thinking and the latest research and technology. In our program, you learn by doing so you develop the skills needed to succeed in any industry, and will graduate with a deeper self-awareness of your key strengths and passions and the unique value you bring to your community, the marketplace, and the world.
Find out how you can develop your entrepreneurial and leadership skills in our unique bachelor’s program that blends the best of American entrepreneurship with the ethos of Swiss excellence and rigor.