Graza’s bold, single-source olive oil started in a Spanish kitchen

Originally a DTC brand, Graza is bringing its squeeze bottles and nitrogen-sealed, beer-can refills—as well as chips—to well-known retailers. Find out more.

Dawn Reiss

June 26, 2024

7 Min Read
Graza’s bold, single-source olive oil started in a Spanish kitchen

Andrew Benin, co-founder of Graza, a Brooklyn, New York-based extra-virgin olive oil company, likes to tout the simplicity: It’s single-origin extra virgin olive oil, made with Picual olives from Jaén, Spain.

But he wants to be clear: “We’re not a Mediterranean company,” says Benin, who co-founded Graza in January 2022 with Allen Dushi.  “We’re just in love with the ingredient that is extra virgin olive oil. That’s what really fueled the idea and the desire to do this is the simplicity that’s possible in a category that became anything but simplistic.”

That’s because the category is filled with olive oils that are light, robust oils, high heat oils, refined and unrefined, unfiltered, extra virgin, virgin, cold press, first cold press varietals, coupled with a slew of certifications around everything olive oil related.


As the story goes, Benin was living in Cádiz, Spain, with his in-laws when he fell in love with the bolder, bigger flavor of olive oil and decided to innovate. After traveling around the country, Benin brought the extra virgin olive oil to Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern in New York, who encouraged him to bring the product to the masses, not a select few.

“What my time in Spain showed me is a neutral cooking fat doesn’t exist there,” says Benin, whose company is named after Grazalema, Spain, the first place he visited while doing an extensive olive oil tour. “Because why would a fat that has 9 calories per gram, taste like nothing? That’s like eating a [delicious] coffee that tastes like nothing. It doesn’t make sense to them.”

High heat oil doesn’t exist there, nor does smoke point, Benin says.

“It felt like these misnomers and marketing strategies that were developed in North America were charged with a load of bullshit,” Benin says. “The reason Graza came to be—I really just wanted to simplify it.”

That fueled the idea and desire to create a company and product as simply as possible, Benin says.

“Our core goal is about having quality olive oil available to as many people as possible at the best price possible. Because sustainability is not in our core, it's also not what we externally advertise, because we find that disingenuous,

“We source olive oil from over 70 independent farms,” Benin says. “The main difference is we don’t blend them all together, which is a common practice.”

Instead, Graza will buy 200,000 liters from one farm to create a distinct lot for tasting or cooking.

“We have a wide diversity of mills and farms we source from,” Benin says. “But they all maintain their integrity on a bottle-per-bottle basis.”

Graza, which began as a direct-to-consumer brand, has around 13,300 retail distribution points with plans to scale to 18,500 by the end of the year, including its entry into Erewhon and H-E-B this month. According to the company, Graza is projected to bring in $48.8 million in 2024.  

Right now, the lineup includes Graza’s Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil for finishing, made from olives that are picked early for a bolder flavor, and Sizzle, a cooking oil made from mature mid-season olives that offer a more mellow flavor. Soon to launch is Frizzle, an oil made from olive paste that is pressed again.


Last month, the company launched nitrogen-sealed “beer can” refills that are sold with its signature green squeeze bottles.

“A lot of our growth is what we’ve already done because it works,” Benin says. “We’re bringing fun to this archaic category.”

This summer, that fun includes Graza’s Summer Ice Cream Tour with ice cream shop partnerships in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. There’s also the Middle Eastern-inspired Graza Sundae, which infuses JJs Custard Co.'s custard with rose and orange blossom, Graza’s Drizzle and crushed pistachios. Another collaboration, Grazacado, features a mixture of fresh avocados and sweetened condensed milk blended into Sorry Not Sorry’s cream base, topped with Drizzle and sea salt flakes.

“It just so happens that ice cream and olive oil are an amazing marriage,” Benin says. “There are great complex flavor profiles there. Olive is fat. Adding extra fat to ice cream helps with texture, it doesn’t hurt it.”

Also in the mix are Graza’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chips. The product originally launched in February with independent and boutique retailers such as Foxtrot before selling out. It's now being distributed among larger retailers like Erewhon, The Fresh Market and World Market.

“People are making the connection between the cooking fats category basis and snacks category on a brand basis,” Benin says. Beyond that, Graza’s growth is about sticking with the fundamentals, Benin says. “We need to maintain our quality,” he says. “We need to service our retailers, our customers and keep our promises. That's the name of the game right now.”

His advice to other CPG brands: Take risks and trust your instincts.

“Not only for Graza but for other brands like Liquid Death, there is some gold to be found in non-traditionalism,” Benin says about Liquid Death’s branding of water and iced tea products that aims to reduce plastic consumption with its “Murder Man” superhero adventures.

“We didn’t look anyone’s blueprint to figure out what we could do for ours,” he adds. “We didn’t make olive oil beer can refills because someone else did. It was about servicing the oil, servicing demand and doing it in a creative way.” 


His other piece of advice: “Be insulated from competitive dynamics,” Benin says. “Don’t be scared to raise capital because you don't know what's going to happen along the way.”

Just don’t raise capital because people are telling you to raise capital, he says. “Raise capital because you’re going to want to make decisions and take risks,” Benin says. “And you want to be empowered to do so.”  

Start by making your product first, he says, and then fundraise. “Make something physical that can be shared and tasted with people,” Benin says. “Conceptual fundraising is a lot harder than physical fundraising.”

For Benin, there have been three key “aha moments” that have shaped his entrepreneurial journey.

The first was convincing his wife’s family in Spain that selling olive oil like this was unique. “They’re not into consumerism,” Benin says. “Convincing them that what I’ve procured was special, delicious and better was very telling.” It was especially difficult because it’s a commodity his in-laws cook with and enjoy every day, he says. As an everyday product, it shouldn’t be a luxury.

Benin’s second “aha moment” came when he switched from using the traditional green glass bottle to a green plastic squeeze bottle with friendly cartoons on the label.  He was in the shower when he realized Dr. Bronner’s bottle with a sriracha-style cap would become the perfect squeeze container.

The third “aha moment” came with Graza’s beer-can refills. After scaling his business, Benin was drinking celebratory cans of the Spanish beer Cruzcampo with his olive oil suppliers when the idea for the beer can refills struck. 

“We were drinking cans of beer with our 70-year-old olive-oil factory owners when I went ‘holy sh*t,’ I can put olive oil in this can,” Benin says. To be clear, Graza’s focus isn’t on sustainability; the cans were not created to sell a more sustainable product. They were created, he says, because beer cans are the perfect environment to maintain the quality of olive oil.

“Graza, as a company, does not have sustainability as its core goal,” Benin says. “Our core goal is about having quality olive oil available to as many people as possible at the best price possible. Because sustainability is not in our core, it's also not what we externally advertise, because we find that disingenuous.

“That being said, our refill cans are undoubtedly a great sustainability effort,” Benin adds. “But that's not the core reason why we did it. It's a secondary benefit, one that is very important to today's average consumer.”

The beer cans are also a one-to-one refill for Graza’s squeeze bottles, which Benin says is as a functional tool. “And the longer you use the squeeze bottle, the more the lifespan of the product and the more sustainable it is.”

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About the Author(s)

Dawn Reiss

Dawn Reiss is a Chicago-based journalist who has written for TIME, The New York Times, The Atlantic, AFAR, Travel + Leisure, Civil Eats,, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, among others. Find her at

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