Recently we discussed the history of modern vermouth and of his craftsman:(Vermouth, 3 things you need to know about the history of your favorite drink.). Today we will find out what happened after Antonio Carpano’s famous creation.
According to Saperbere’s section on vermouths, Antonio Carpano passed his recipe to his nephew, Giuseppe Carpano who in 1847 built the first vermouth factory. Giuseppe had huge success, even the King of Italy wanted this beverage served at his court and in a short time vermouth became a symbol for Turin. Many started producing vermouth trying to steal the triumph of Carpano, the majority of which are gone today, but some are still active in the modern market: Martini & Rossi, Cinzano and Gancia.
Carpano was the first vermouth producer, still in the first years of 1900 it didn’t manage to keep up with the volumes of other producers, despite the introduction of a new exceptional product: Punt e Mes, vermouth chinato. Carpano failed its expansion, both because it tried to maintain the high quality production niche and because its factory was destroyed during the war in 1943. The company was then sold in 1982.
We owe to Carpano the creation of vermouth as much as we owe to Martini the worldwide expansion and fame. This company managed to keep vermouth alive also during his darkest moments at the end of 1900. During the years Martini invested heavily in marketing, creating memorable television spots and illustrated advertisements that are widely considered as true works of art. Another key aspect of Martini’s success was the sponsoring of sport events. It all started in 1925 with the sponsoring of cycling events and it then boomed in the 70’s with Martini racing team, with a clear focus on motor sports.
During the 50s Martini’s fame reached a new peak thanks to the “Terrazza Martini” format, consisting of flagship bars at exclusive terraces in main cities around the world, such places eventually became a meeting point for the jet set. Thanks to all these actions Martini became the most known brand of vermouth in the world. The word Martini was, together with the words pizza and spaghetti, one of the most recognized Italian words. Many even started to identify the brand with the product itself, referring to vermouth as Martini.
During the 70s our favorite beverage lived a dark period, the consumers lost their love for vermouth mainly due to the general drop in quality of the products available on the market. In this scenario Martini was able to survive thanks to his differentiated range of products and to the investments in marketing. Between 30 and 40 years later both Martini and Cinzano decided to quit vermouth production, they lowered the alcohol content and changed the recipe in order to pay lower excise taxes. Just in the last few years Martini decided to produce new vermouths and launched the Gran Lusso and Riserva Speciale, Cinzano followed with his new vermouth 1757.
Now, after years of absence from the shelves, vermouth is regaining a niche in the market and this is pushing new producers to try and bring back antique recipes or to create new ones; always keeping the quality high and that artisanal feel that the tradition imposes.
The main architect of the renaissance of the Italian vermouth is Giulio Cocchi, in fact in 2010 on the occasion of the 120 years of the firm, decided to produce again an old recipe whose production was abandoned for many years. The Storico Cocchi Vermouth di Torino was born.
We also need to mention two new Italian vermouths that were born lately: Mancino Vermouth and Il Vermouth del Professore. The former crafted 2011 by Giancarlo Mancino, famous bartender and the latter born from the joint venture between Carlo Quaglia’s distillery and the famous roman speakeasy, Jerry Thomas Project.
Vermouth has seen huge success and darker periods. During the last few years we are living a renaissance of quality food and beverage as well as a return of a product that made history. We all hope that the future will bring us a new golden age for vermouth.
Today we analyzed just the Italian market, it is the motherland of such product but we didn’t forget about its worldwide expansion. In the next articles we will probably analyze your country as well. Stay tuned!
My name is Ettore Velluto, I’m a vermouth enthusiast, I like extraordinary cocktails and I’m definitely a foodie. I earned my MsC in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I’m enrolled in the Coursera’s Social Media Marketing course.