|In Canale, 1880, a few rustic houses along the road linking the heart of Roero with Alba and Langhe. Around them, on the hilly slopes, rows of vines extend for kilometres, following the hillside. Here and there a farmhouse against the green landscape. Nearby is the village - home of Bartolomeo Barbero.|
Life is hard. Growing vines on these steep slopes is back breaking work, year after year, but Bartolomeo is a determined man with the future in mind. Along with his son Giorgio, he starts selling wines door-to-door in the neighbouring villages - with considerable success.
Before long the farm's vineyard is too small to satisfy demand, so they start vinifying grapes bought from nearby farms as well. The year is 1891 - the birth of the Barbero company, a family run business that rapidly expands beyond the Roero boundaries.
As time goes by, Giorgio, while raising a family of eight children (five sons and three daughters), continues to develop his father's business and improves the company structure.
After the standstill imposed by World War II, growth resumes and the company reaches commercial size. The third generation of the Barbero family becomes involved in production and the product range widens to include vermouth and sparkling wines - initially carrying the 'Barbero' name but later becoming 'Conte di Cavour', now a major Italian brand.
A big success for the company - Diesus, the monk's bitters - with strategic advertising promoting the message "the Piedmontese are coming" and the reputation of the production area.
The 70s: Frangelico...
1978 sees the launch of Frangelico - a liqueur made from hazelnuts and wild berries from the Langhe region - first in the United States, followed by other countries. Now available in 80 countries, this moves Barbero 1891 into the international league for the first time.
The 80s: Enrico Serafino
In the late 1980s, Barbero 1891 acquires the historic Enrico Serafino winery, located in Canale and probably the first nationally recognised winery in Piedmont. The acquisition brings together the socially elite Enrico family name with that of the Barbero dynasty, whose wine origins are more modest.
The 90s: International growth
The union with Cantrell & Cochrane, an Irish liquor company based in Dublin, helps accelerate distribution of Barbero's products in export markets - taking combined sales to 1,000 billion lire ($476million) and 1,500 staff. Further expansion comes from the acquisition of Barbieri from Padua - producer of Aperol, one of Italy's most distinctive aperitif brands - which further improved Barbero's reputation and results in its products being sold in over 100,000 bars, 20,000 restaurants, 6,000 supermarkets and 4,000 wine and liquor shops. Television advertising also contributes greatly to Aperol's success and leads, in 1995, to the birth of Aperol Soda - now the favourite of two million consumers and appreciated for its low three per cent alcohol strength.
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