American Love

The Fratelli Branca Distillerie has always had an international vocation.
Even though the product is made in Milan, Fernet-Branca is an avowed globetrotter.

It is a protagonist in one of the most Bohemian cities on the West Coast: San Francisco. The city has long been seduced by the exotic and retro allure of Fernet-Branca, which has acquired such a cult status that it can be found in the drinks lists  of renowned establishments like Virgil’s Sea Room, where it has replaced champagne as the drink of choice for New Year toasts.

Indeed 70% of Fernet-Branca consumption in the US takes place in Frisco, where the amaro is now an institution It is either consumed straight or as an ingredient in outstanding cocktails. Since the start of the new millennium it has become incredibly popular amongst bartenders and has even seduced the city’s hipster community.

But there are more highlights in Fernet-Branca itinerant history: starting from 1860 the product was commercialised in Argentina, resulting in a love story that continues to this very day. In 1935 a Branca factory was opened in Buenos Aires and in 1941 the Argentinian company F.lli Branca Destilerias S.A was founded.

The growth of Fernet-Branca in the Argentinian market has been truly exponential: it was initially a digestif amaro that was consumed at home, but has now become an ingredient of many long drinks and a firm protagonist of local nightlife; its take-up has been so extensive that the brand has become a national mainstay.


We’ll let them do all the talking: bartenders from leading establishments all over the world, privileged holders of Fernet-Branca coins who’ll be telling us how they developed their passion for the drink, how they like to consume it and popularise it throughout the world.



The Barback Games were conceived in San Francisco and have became popular in various cities in the United States like New York City, Chicago, Boston and San Diego. These Fernet-Branca games were invented as a light-hearted event that would underscore the brand’s affiliation with the bartender community.

What better way to celebrate this special connection than with a party? The competition involves four tests that can be amended or adapted, like transporting crates of bottles, carrying glasses without breaking them, dragging barrels or seeing who can hold the most bottles in their hands. The Barback Games are a series of challenges that are also contested against the clock.

Who wins? Naturally, the quickest contestant!

Arte Unico

A competition for visual artists now in its tenth edition, that enables young Argentinian artists aged between 18 and 40 to express their innovation and creativity to capture the attention of a jury made up of exceptional artists.

The Arte Unico competition has created a continuity between art, communication and Fernet-Branca.

For each edition the final decision on the competing works of art is left to five leading Argentinian artists, designers, architects or urban artists.

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Fernet-Branca frequently takes part in major international tasting events and competitions. In recent years it has picked up the following awards:

Gold Medal
“Los Angeles International Spirits & Wine Competition” 2016

Gold Medal
“San Francisco World Spirits Competition” 2015

Top Italian brand
“Shanken’s Impact Databank PREMIUM TOP 100’s Brightest Star – Fastest Growing Brands 2009-2014”

Fourth place
“Fastest Growing Global Brands of the Millionaires’ Club of Drinks International”, June 2014

12th place
“TOP 100 Premium Spirits Brands Worldwide”, 2015



Research, innovation, cutting-edge art: these are the elements that have always characterised Fernet-Branca’s timeless communication. From Rodolfo Paoletti’s watercolour drawings, to billboards produced by major Italian artists; from the creativity of influential communications agencies to commercials that have made history.

In 1886, with the emergence of the Art Nouveau movement, the company embraced this style to produce memorable calendars, dominated by the female form that was seen to evoke the excitement of travelling and the discovery of new worlds and cultures.

Giuseppe Amisani, Elio Stelminig, Osvaldo Ballerio, Achille Luciano Mauzan, Leopoldo Metlicovitz and Plinio
Codognato are just some of the many artists that,  starting from the penultimate decade of the 19th century, crossed paths with the Branca universe and forever helped define its visual heritage.

There were then the legendary Caroselli of the 1970s with unforgettable animation and jingles, through to its memorable and evocative contemporary ads brimming with emotion. For more than a century Fernet-Branca has been a magical mirror for the changes in the world of communication.


Between 1967 and 1968 the Opit agency in Milan commissioned from the production company Studio K in Florence a series of shorts to advertise Fernet-Branca.

The ads were produced using stop-motion animation and the storyboard was created by the designer and director Francesco Misseri at Studio K.

The famous jingle “Relax” is the brief but grand work by Franco Godi, a musician, arranger and producer who rose to prominence early on in his career through his work in advertising.

Between 1965 and 1966 Studio K had already created, for Distillerie Fratelli Branca, a series of animation clips featuring a dinner table with knives and forks, napkins, glasses, coffee cups and a newspaper.


In line with its advertising communication, the Fernet-Branca amaro became a true pop icon in Italy and around the world. Indeed the drink often appeared on the big screen, making it an iconic protagonist of Italian films during the Boom years and 1970s as well as in films released in the new millennium.

In the 1972 Italian crime movie Milano calibro 9, directed by Fernando Di Leo, in the opening scene, as Rocco Musco (played by Mario Adorf) is speaking to a friend on the telephone, we can see poster clearly bearing the wording “Fernet Branca – Fratelli Branca” and the eagle logo. More recently, in 2012, Fernet-Branca was mentioned in The dark knight returns, when Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine is talking to the character played by Christian Bale, and says: “Every year I took a holiday. I went to Florence, there’s this café, on the banks of the Arno. Every fine evening I’d sit there and order a Fernet-Branca“.



The first ever Fernet-Branca coin was created in 2013 to consolidate what had long since been a common habit in the bartender community of San Francisco.

Bartenders were accustomed to having a shot of Fernet-Branca when they changed shifts and it became known as  the ‘bartender handshake’ whose purpose was to mark the moment in which bartending duty was passed over to a colleague.

Being naturally close to the bartender community and people in the know, Fernet-Branca took the chance of taking this ritual further with the creation of a coin to celebrate this precise moment.

Since than, the ritual has been extended to all bars, so when a bartender visits another bar and shows an Fernet-Branca coin to a colleague behind the counter, he is offered a free shot of Fernet, unless he is presented with another coin in response and the ‘bartender handshake’ takes place in celebration of their joint membership in the guild.

Fernet-Branca coins rapidly came to symbolize bartender community membership. They travelled across oceans and continents to the most remote corners of the world. They not only represented a momentary achievement but an authentic collectible,  jealously guarded as a status symbol and a privilege.

Reciprocal recognition, a sense of mutual belonging and a desire to be great protagonists of the Fernet-Branca family. In the name of these values, for years the most impassioned bartender community has been collecting, exchanging and requesting  Fernet-Branca coins.

When you place a Fernet-Branca coin on the bar, you make a statement. It’s like knocking on the door of a members-only establishment.

Whoever goes into a bar and orders Fernet-Branca is somebody in the know, part of a small club, and the coin is just an extension of that.

Being part of the fraternity of craft cocktail bartenders is not about wearing sweatshirts or having a uniform, it means  having things like a Fernet coin.

Since 2013, Fernet-Branca never stopped crafting limited edition coins linked to special milestones in the bartending community and, in response to community members’ insights and input, a proper list of rules was drawn up.

Do you want to know the main rules of the Fernet-Branca coin challenge?
Here they are:

1. You don’t just request a Fernet-Branca coin. You have to earn it.

2. The Fernet-Branca coin is  reciprocally recognised and confers a sense of common belonging.

3. It is an honour to receive a Fernet-Branca Coin. It may only be given up in exchange for a different edition.

4. Have your Fernet-Branca Coin with you at all times.

5.When you give someone a Fernet-Branca Coin you invite them to be part of a brotherhood; it is an honour to possess a coin, and not only: a coin that is gifted or awarded as a prize has a more personal value than a bought coin.

6. If a Fernet-Branca Coin is altered in any way, it  automatically loses part of its value. For example, if you perforate the coin to make it into a charm or a key ring.

7. The Fernet-Branca coin is a recognizable symbol in the Bartenders’ Community and must be displayed at the right moment and whenever you wish. For instance, when you enter a Bar you can place it on the Counter to manifest your bond with the Fernet Family and the Bartender Community.

8. When you show your Fernet-Branca Coin, place the medal directly onto the counter or table, but never put it in the hands of another person, in order to preserve its ownership.

9. The best time to show the Fernet-Branca coin is when you order a round of Fernet-Branca shots.

10. In case you lose your Coin Fernet-Branca … all we can say is: never lose your Fernet-Branca coin!