italian tradition, since 1930

Taste the history.

The history of Amaro Alpino is closely linked to that of the founder of the Alpine Distillery:

Agostino Pontillo

Born in 1894 in Camastra, Sicily, he has been characterized since his childhood by his innate desire to do and learn. He continues his path after school in Rome, where he graduates in accounting. The studies at the Faculty of Economics and Commerce are interrupted in 1915 by the World War I.

In that difficult historical period, on the “Altopiano di Asiago”, Pontillo has the opportunity to know for the first time the astonishing and famous alpine world. In one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century,in a reality so different and distant from his homeland, Agostino was strongly impressed by the beauty of the Alps. The Alpine flora, the enchanting views, the uncontaminated panorama, the dangers of the mountain and the gratification of the climbs will remain forever in the memory of the young Sicilian.

In 1923 Agostino,invited by some childhood friends, reached Trento for the first time and decided to settle in that beautiful city.

A metà degli Anni ’20 gives birth to “Gottardi & Pontillo”, specialized in liquers production. Many years later Gottardi leaves Italy to start his “American dream” abroad.

Agostino decides to continue alone with his passion and in 1929 he had his greatest intuition: to combine the Sicilian experience in the production of bitters with the uniqueness of some of the main Alpine herbs.

In this way a new and innovative amaro is born, particular for its flavor and its consistency. An amaro that can be considered a perfect combination of two worlds: the Sicilian land of Agostino and its beloved Alps.

In 1930 he founded the Distilleria Alpina and he registered the brand Amaro Alpino in the Trento Chamber of Commerce.

In the 1960s, the economic growth strengthened the expansion and fame of the Amaro in Italy: all the best bars, restaurants and hotels throughout the country had Amaro Alpino among their liqueurs. The particular packaging made the product unique compared to all competitors.

Picture: Italian’s First Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi visits Distilleria Alpina and tastes Amaro Alpino with the founder and the employees of the company.
An unforgettable moment and a gesture that places Amaro Alpino among the greatest brands that have represented the Italian economic regrowth after the World War I.

Barrell and packaging

Until the end of the 1950s, , the 20-liter oak barrel was usually placed on the bar and the Amaro was tapped directly from the barrel into the glass. Hallmark of Distilleria Alpina was very important for the brand identity of the product: so they proceed to a shape registration.

Its balanced flavors and its distinctive shape attract the attention of the consumer: Amaro Alpino was having a great success all over Italy.

The replacement of the wooden barrel is due to several factors: a new legislation on spirits packaging and the need for space by Italian bars (which considered the 12-liter barrel too bulky) lead Distilleria Alpina to change course and to set aside the unmistakable barrel.

A difficult decision for Distilleria Alpina: it’s certainly not easy to abandon its distinctive symbol, known by the consumer throughout the Italy. Pontillo’s greatest concern was to be able to give continuity to the brand image.

History of barrell and the bond of Amaro Alpino with art you can visit Ars section.

The quick success of the new ceramic barrel leads to the development of new products. At the end of the Sixties, Distilleria Alpina is selling over 50 different types of products on the market.
The death of Agostino Pontillo, in 1976, leads to a strong resize of Distilleria Alpina, but Amaro Alpino, strong in its image, manages to resist up to the present day throughout the national territory.

21st century

In 2020 Sembenotti brothers from Trento relieve Distilleria Alpina from Pontillo family. 
New life for a brand awaiting renewal, ready to take back its place   in Italian Tradition. 
With attention to the history of Amaro Alpino, the label is renovated, adding a contemporary touch to the futurist traits. And last but not least: the return of the traditional ceramic barrel is being prepared. 

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Are you of legal drinking age?