Founded in Milan by Gaspare Campari and currently headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, the Group is now a global company (sixth-largest player worldwide) marketing and distributing its products in over 190 countries around the world. Production is concentrated in fourteen manufacturing plants: four of which are located in Italy, one in Greece, one in Scotland, one in Ukraine, one in the United States, one in Argentina, two in Brazil and Jamaica, and one in Mexico. Gruppo Campari also owns four wineries: three in Italy (Sella&Mosca, Teruzzi&Puthod and Enrico Serafino) and one in France (Lamargue).
Gruppo Campari employs over 4,000 people and has its own distribution network in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Russia, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine, Jamaica, Mexico, United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and China. Local distributors are additionally used in over 180 other markets. Gruppo Campari improved its performance over the years, doubling its size since the year of its listing on Piazza Affari in 2001, combining organic and external growth. Sales for 2012 amounted to € 1,340.8 million, 76.7% of which in spirits, 14.6% in wines and around 8% in soft drinks. The Garavoglia family owns 51% of the share capital of the company.
Gruppo Campari traces its beginnings back to 1860, with the birth of its flagship brand and signature, red aperitif beverage- Campari. Born in 1828, Gaspare Campari, the inventor of the recipe, was the 10th child of a simple farmer. At 14 he started working as a waiter and started developing a strong interest for people's drinking habits, coming to create the product that would have taken his name. Deciding to open his own bar, it became so successful that he opened another in the heart of Milan, making his own cordials, cream liqueurs and bitters in the basement. His choice of location nearby the Duomo coincided with the opening of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, contributing to the fame of its bar and its bitters then called Bitter all'Uso d'Olanda, which became extremely popular at the time.
In 1904 The historic production site at Sesto San Giovanni was inaugurated (it would remain in operation until 2005 when the new production site was opened in Novi Ligure).
In 1926 Davide, Gaspare’s son, transformed the company by dropping the production of all drinks other than a Campari bitter and Cordial Campari. Davide dedicated his considerable energy and determination to making the brand known across the world.
In 1932 Camparisoda, the first single serve aperitif in the world, was launched. The bottle was designed by Fortunato Depero, one of the most famous Futurist artists of the time. The iconic bottle, unchanged to this day, has become a symbol of everyday “usable” design objects in Italy and the world. According to Italy’s important newsmagazine La Domenica del Corriere [The Sunday Courrier] the new object was a “genuine novelty and wonder of the season.” Depero’s invention had many highly innovative features. It was the first single-dose product, it was ready for consumption and it contained the perfect pre-dinner drink mix of Campari and soda. The bottle's striking design resembled an upside down glass.
Davide Campari died in 1936; ten years later, the company incorporated as Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. The company remained concentrated on this core product for most of the rest of the century, even after Domenico Garavoglia gained control of it in the 1970s.
Sales grew especially strongly during the 1960s: by then, the Campari brands were distributed in over 80 different countries, and in another 30 years distribution will cover 190 countries across the globe.
The critical step took place at the beginning of the 1990s: the rapid consolidation of the global drinks market, and especially the creation of a small number of dominant players, such as Diageo and Allied Domecq, led Campari to make a choice between joining the race for market size, or simply defending its core, but niche product. The first step towards building a competitive portfolio on the global market came in 1995 with the acquisition of the Italian business of the Dutch Group BolsWessanen. This brought a number of front-ranking names such as Crodino, Cynar, Lemonsoda, Oransoda, Biancosarti and Crodo.
In 1998, the group underwent a further expansion with the acquisition of a minority holding and world distribution rights (except for the USA) in Skyy Spirits LLC, owner of SKYY VodkaSkyy Spirits, LLC became the distributor for the whole Campari portfolio in the USA as part of the deal. Later in 1998 the Group gained the Italian distribution rights of Lipton Ice Tea, from Unilever Group.
In 1999, expansion continued with the acquisition of Ouzo 12, the anise-based Greek spirit. In 1999 the Group also acquired Cinzano, producing vermouth and sparkling wines and one of the most internationally known Italian brands.
In July 2001, the Group completed its IPO on Piazza Affari, in Italy's biggest IPO of the year. The shares were priced at the lower end of the indicative price range of 30 to 38. The initial public offering was three times oversubscribed. The group later acquired leading brands like the Dreher aguardiente, the Old Eight, Drury's, Gregson's and Gold Cup whiskies and Liebfraumilch wine.
In 2002, Campari finalized the acquisition of Zedda Piras S.p.A. (Mirto di Sardegna), owning a majority stake in Sella & Mosca S.p.A, both companies based in Sardinia, Italy. The same focus on wine brought the Group to acquire Riccadonna in 2003, producing Asti sparkling white wine.
In December 2003, Gruppo Campari announced the acquisition of Barbero 1891 S.p.A that brought to the portfolio brands including Aperol, Aperol Soda and Barbieri liqueurs in the spirit segment and Mondoro and Enrico Serafino in wines.
In December 2005, the Campari Group acquired the Teruzzi & Puthod winery in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. Teruzzi & Puthod is one of the leading Tuscan wineries for the production of high quality wines sold in over 20 countries worldwide.
In 2006 Gruppo Campari acquired from Pernod Ricard Glen Grant, Old Smuggler and Braemar, along with the distillery where GlenGrant is produced in Rothes, Scotland. Thanks to this acquisition, the Group strengthened its presence in the spirits segment and officially entered the key Scotch whisky segment.
In 2007 Gruppo Campari announced the acquisition of Cabo Wabo tequila, created by Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar, adding the Tequila segment to the already wide portfolio.
In 2009, Gruppo Campari announced the largest acquisition in its history, buying the world's top premium Kentucky bourbon whiskey, Wild Turkey. Along with Wild Turkey bourbon, American Honey liqueur, a honey and bourbon based cordial, joined the portfolio. The group also took ownership of the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky as part of the deal.
In 2010, Gruppo Campari announced an agreement to acquire Carolans Irish Cream, Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur and Irish Mist Wiskey Honey Liqueur. On July 6, 2011, Gruppo Campari celebrated the tenth anniversary of its listing on Borsa Italiana in 2001.
In December 2012, Gruppo Campari announced the successful acquisition of Lascelles deMercado & Co. Limited, including brands: Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba, the related upstream supply chain and the local distribution company.
In 2014, Gruppo Campari announced the successful acquisition of Averna, Italy's second best-selling bitter, at 103.75 million euros ($143 million). The Averna group owns a portfolio of premium brands, among which are Braulio, a herb-based bitter, and Grappa Frattina, through which Campari entered the grappa category.
In March 2014, Gruppo Campari purchased Canadian whisky producer Forty Creek Distillery Ltd. for $185.6 Million Canadian Dollars. The sale included 100% of the distillery, including all Forty Creek facilities and whisky stocks. Founder John Hall stayed on as master distiller and blender.American Honey Liqueur
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