Chinese brewery on tap
Local engineer involved in government/private enterprise

By Suzanne Sorrentino
Staff Writer

Move over Molson, Xinsanxing Pijiu is on the way. And a Greenwich resident is part of the group that will make it possible.

Joseph Risoli, a Greenwich environmental planner and engineer, has joined China-Canada International Trade and Investment Corp. to oversee construction of $150 million brewery and a malting plant in northern China near Mongolia in Heilongjiang Province.

Risoli said he will be the efficiency expert for the project, and will act as a liaison between the corporation and the engineers it hires to design and built the plants.

The project will be a joint project of the governments and the business people of China and Canada.

As part of the plan, Canadian engineers will construct a state-of-the-art brewery and malting plant in pieces, which will then be transported to the remote province and assembled. Sail Al lofolla president of China-Canada International in a telephone interview from his Canada office.

When it is built, the new facility will be able to produce 35.8 million gallons of beer a year using the West best technology, barley from Canada and a Chinese recipe lafolla said.

The beer will be sold in China where beer consumption is increasing at about 20 percent a year according to lafolla. It also will be imported within the next two years to the United States and Canada under the name Three Star and Golden leaf Lager.

The project is part of one of the biggest trade agreements ever between Canada and China lafolla said. It will be financed by the Canadian and Chinese governments, he said.

Risoli, 45 has owned an engineering firm that bears his name in Greenwich for 17 years. He specialized in hydrology and works mostly on projects in Westchester and Fairfield counties that involve wetlands. But Risoli said he always had a flair for the business end of engineering and a facility for translating engineering concepts for lay people.

This is his first project of international scope, Risoli said, except for a flood control project he designed for free for his home town Volturara Irpina in Italy.

“The Chinese wanted their land protected believe it or not. They wanted to have someone with an environmental background … and the Canadians wanted a businessman to protect their money. So I kind of fit the bill.” Risoli said during a recent interview in his Riverside office.

Risoli met lafolla about four years ago when they worked together on a project of much smaller proportions in New York, Risoli said.

When China-Canada International signed the trade agreement with China in June, lafolla asked Risoli to work on the beer project. Risoli joined firm in August.

In November, Risoli went to China for the first time to take part in a signing ceremony to kick off the project.

While there, he met China’s president and Canada’s prime minister at the reception held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

He also met the mayor of Beijing.

Risoli said he already has learned a lot about Chinese culture and business practices and is looking forward to learning more.

Accustomed to working with the town Planning and Zoning Commission and the town Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, Risoli said he was fascinated by how building projects are handled in China.

“There is no wetlands agency. There is basically no bureaucracy. It basically comes down to one person making a decision. If he likes what you’re going to do, he hands you a permit.”

In a meeting with China’s head of engineers, Risoli said he was somewhat thrown off-balance but impressed - by the way the official conducted himself.

As Risoli rattled off a list of questions, the official sat quietly and listened through an interpreter.

“It almost got a little uncomfortable because you’re asking all these questions and not getting an answer.

… I must have asked 40 questions” Risoli said. Without taking notes, the official recalled each of Risoli’s questions and answered them in order, Risoli said.

Over the course of the project – which will not even begin construction for at least two more years – Risoli said he expects to travel to Canada and China Frequently.

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