Fratelli Branca Distillerie

Is the producer of Fernet-Branca, the famous amaro bitter, and the 1st Italian product in the international league table of the top fastest-growing premium brands. It is one of the leading global brands in the spirits sector

Niccolò Branca

Niccolò Branca

The scent of Fernet-Branca has notes of gentians and cinchona bark, zedoaria and extract of galanga, bitter orange and Chinese rhubarb, to name but a few. The intense, strong and warm flavour is the product of 27 ingredients – some spices, some flowers, some roots. Created as an elixir in 1845, it was used to treat cholera and malaria at a time when such illnesses were common. It was produced by Bernardino Branca in a factory in Corso di Porta Nuova in Milan, and by 1860 it was being sold on various international markets. It was particularly popular in America, where it managed to bypass the restrictions of Prohibition by being sold as a medicine. Its secret and unique formula has been handed down from generation to generation, remaining unchanged through the years. Today Fernet-Branca is considered the ultimate amaro, in every corner of the world, and the company Fratelli Branca Distillerie is taken as a story of entrepreneurial success in Italy among the world leaders of the spirits sector.

Ever since its creation, the company has been controlled and managed by the Branca family, now with the fifth generation at the helm and the sixth already working in the company. Production remains in Milan, on via Resegone, in a factory whose towering chimney became the tallest mural in Italy last year as part of Branca’s 170th anniversary celebrations, changing the skyline of Milan. Fiftyfive meters of colorful street art that brings together the distinctive imagery of Branca: the eagle of Leopoldo Metlicovitz, the figurehead of the company; the crocodile designed by French agency Maga Paris for a publicity campaign in the 1920s; and the 27 herbs that make up the secret formula of Fernet-Branca. Branca’s 170th year was momentous, and brought an important tribute from the Minister for Economic Development: on the 24th of April 2015 a commemorative stamp was issued as part of a series entitled «Stories of manufacturing and economic excellence».

The stamp was dedicated to Branca in celebration of its long history of entrepreneurial excellence, with a special postmark from the Italian Post Office. Then Italian publisher Rizzoli brought out Branca - On the Wings of Excellence, an illustrated treasure of a book which maps out the history of the company, from its famous products to its historic posters, from its creation in Milan to the present day, charting the international expansion which has marked its development from the eighteen hundreds to today. «It’s an acknowledgement of Italian capability and craftsmanship, a selection which always pays off», emphasises Niccolò Branca, who represents the fifth generation as President and Ceo of the holding company, which boasts a turnover of more than €300 million (around 70% of which comes from abroad). It employs almost 400 people directly or indirectly and has two production sites, one in Milan and one in Buenos Aires, which make the products that are distributed in 160 countries.

In «Novare Serbando» (Innovating while keeping with tradition) the company has found its motto for growth through the years, based on quality and innovation while respecting tradition. Growth which, starting with Fernet-Branca, has been consistent throughout the creation of the company’s famous products, Stravecchio Branca and Brancamenta, up to the broadening of its portfolio. Today this includes – as a result of a strategy based on brand acquisition, product line extensions, partnerships and entry into the wine market – Caffè Borghetti, Sambuca Borghetti, Grappa Candolini, Punt e Mes, Carpano Classico, Carpano Bianco and Carpano Dry, Antica Formula, the premium brandy Magnamater, Sernova vodka and Sensèa Grappa, as well as its wines Chianti Classico and Riserva Villa Branca and the sparkling Bellarco.

In addition, the company is the Italian distributor for prestigious brands produced by French group Rémy-Cointreau (Rémy Martin and Louis XIII brandies, Cointreau, Mount Gay rum, the speciality liqueur Passoa, the prestigious Botanist Gin and Metaxa), as well as Sierra Tequila from the German group Borco and Tsarine champagne by Chanoine Frères.

Its strategy of overseas expansion continues to be one of its pillars for growth: «It has allowed us to gain a significant footing on the international market and to strengthen our longstanding brand», comments the president of the historic beverage company. The leading foreign markets are Germany, Austria, North America and Northern Europe. But above all there is Argentina, where Fernet-Branca is truly appreciated. Indeed, Fernandito (Fernet and coke), has become so popular in recent years that it has become one of the national drinks of Argentina.