The Branca Museum gives a fascinating insight into the industrial distillery traditions of Milan and its close symbiosis with art and communication, from the nineteenth century to the present day. Founded in 1845, the Fratelli Branca Distilleries still produce the Fernet Branca bitter herbal liqueur, iconic Milanese symbol par excellence, from the original recipe (created together with the imaginary Swedish doctor Fernet), a concoction of 27 herbs and roots from around the world.
The Museum was inaugurated in 2009 on the factory premises and, as visitors enter they are greeted with the unmistakable aroma of Fernet which transports them on a sensory journey through spices, hues, fragrances and memories of an era of distillation and design, intertwined with stories of life and transformations.
The extensive and reminiscent collection of historical bottles, calendars and promotional posters created between the 19th and 20th centuries testify to the prominence that Branca has always placed on the corporate image: in 1893 the famous Branca "World" logo appeared, with the eagle clutching the terrestrial globe, designed by one of the most important illustrators of the time, Leopoldo Metlicovitz.
In addition to the production sites in via Resegone, since 2002 the Branca family has also become patron of the panoramic tower in Parco Sempione, designed by Gio Ponti for the V Triennale di Milano in 1933 and restored after being derelict for a long period of time.
NOT TO BE MISSED
The exceptional collection of Liberty posters and calendars: inspired by the works of artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Steinlen and Chéret, Fratelli Branca ordered large coloured posters to be printed which, particularly up until 1914, marked Italian Liberty’s “golden era”.
The Brancamenta bitter, created in 1965 to combine the aroma of Fernet with the freshness of peppermint, seems to have been inspired by the diva Maria Callas who, before going onstage, always drank a glass of Fernet flavoured with mint leaves.
The collection comprises the first advertisement for Fratelli Branca, dating back to February 14th, 1865, printed in the moderate Milanese newspaper "La Perseveranza" (published in Milan from 1859 to 1922).