Tuesday, September 26, 2023



 Santo Carlo Ceribelli was born in Italy, probably in Lombardia, about 1828, and likely departed Italy from the port city of Genoa with his wife, Antonetta.  The couple was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1870, when their first child, Joseph (Giuseppe) Ceribelli, was born.

 His earliest documentation in California was in April 1873, when he was appointed Postmaster for Burnett, in Santa Clara County.

The first notation of his presence in San Luis Obispo was in June 1875, when he advertised the opening of his soda works.

Ceribelli's first advertisement for his soda works
 San Luis Obispo Tribune (Weekly),  June 5, 1875


In June 1878, Ceribelli advertised his new store in San Luis Obispo, now located on Higuera Street, adjoining the store of W.E. Stewart (San Luis Obispo Tribune, June 8, 1878). The 1880 U.S. Census for San Luis Obispo documents Santo as a liquor merchant. Although he was still producing soda water he probably found that selling wine and whiskey was a much less demanding occupation.

He purchased property in San Luis Obispo in 1877 and 1881.  Markota notes that L. Martin purchased the San Luis Obispo Soda Works in 1883, presumably from Ceribelli. He did, in fact, sell his business to Luther Martin in October 1881.


San Luis Obispo Tribune (Weekly), October 29,1881

 On the subject of his soda water venture, Ceribelli posted this unusual statement in a Los Angeles newspaper.

To My Friends and the Public

Having come here from San Francisco with the intention of opening a Soda Water Factory in Los Angeles, I regret to be obliged to announce that failing health has forced me to give up the enterprise.  I am glad to be able to say that I have effected a sale of my machine and outfit to Mr. Stoll, who, by the way, I see sells his goods as cheap as such things are sold in San Francisco.

                                                                                   S. Cerebelli”

(Los Angeles Herald, June 30, 1883)


Ceribelli had his soda water bottles produced in San Francisco. Only one variant has been found, indicating that he likely placed only one order with the glassworks due to short business activity.

Ceribelli continued his residence in San Luis Obispo for several more years while he sold the remainder of his wine and liquor stock. His final advertisements, in 1885, gave notice of liquidation of his business, with the note that, “Mr CEREBELLI is compelled to visit Europe to attend to important family matters, and therefore offers this opportunity to buyers.” Nothing more was located about Santo Cerribelli, the soda water manufacturer of San Luis Obispo. California.

It is assumed that Ceribelli and his wife and children, returned to Italy, as no further information could be located.

Not until 1902 does the youngest son, Santo Cerribelli, jr., return to the United States. Santo, jr. was born in San Luis Obispo on May 7, 1878, which made him a U.S. citizen. After his return to the United States  he stated that his plan was to go back to San Luis Obispo. He may have, but Santo quickly returned to New York City.  He spent most of his life there as an importer, initially working for an Italian relative, Giacomo Ceribelli, who probably resided in Milan, Italy. The company was styled G. Ceribelli & Co., with Santo jr. heading up the New York branch. The company was a major supplier of Ferro China Bisleri, a popular aperitif, until the onset of prohibition in the U.S.  Santo jr. also maintained a summer house in Darien, CT.  The 1930 U.S. census documents Santo as a chemist in the drug business.  He lived a life in the world of high society, residing at 895  Park Avenue in Manhattan.  By 1942 (per his draft registration card) he was still working for G. Ceribelli & Co., at 121 Varick Street in New York City, which was acting as an agent for A. Brioschi & Co. He eventually became president of A. Brioschi & Co., pharmaceutical manufacturers.   Santo, Jr. died in New York in April 1953.

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