Good morning Dr. Guarda, first of all, we thank you for your time. We interviewed many Italian spirits producers, but talking to you is a huge honor and pleasure for Amaro Obsession. You represent the Family Company that gave birth to the distillation process in the secular society in Italy, developing and perfecting it, thus acting as an example for all the distillers born in Italy after the B.lo Nardini Company. How difficult is it to have such merit on your shoulders and at the same time such responsibility?
B.lo Nardini is a historic family distillery that turned the tide, since its foundation in 1779, in the production of grappa. Our founder introduced a significant change: from a portable still production, in use at that time, to a stable distillery. The following generations have all contributed to improving the quality of the product and increasing the liqueurs and spirits portfolio paying attention to the trends of the moment. Today, in the seventh generation, my three cousins and I, managers of B.lo Nardini, have clearly benefited from the past and at the same time feel a strong moral obligation to ensure the longevity of the company for future generations. Two sides of the same coin!
Amaro Obsession sees in B.lo Nardini the company that has best managed to invest in the "amaro world" with a product portfolio that is impossible to match in terms of quality and quantity. Which among Amaro, Bitter, Rosso, Mezzoemezzo, Fernet, China Elixir and Rabarbaro gives the company the greatest satisfaction? And which one of these do you like better?
The “amaro world” has always been part of our products range, the oldest of which, speaking about amaro, is definitely the China Elixir. It is interesting to note how cultural influence in drinking affects the various markets. For example, we have large satisfactions from our Amaro in the United States, where, however, we have introduced this very month the Bitter; the Rhubarb and the Bitter meet the French taste and also English in an unexpected way for us. The Mezzoemezzo as well as the Rosso, in the wake of Campari and Aperol, are growing exponentially in Italy. Personally, I love our Amaro.
How do you like to drink Amaro Nardini?
I love Amaro Nardini on the rocks or in sour version. In summer I drink it also mixed with ginger beer.
Dr. Antonio, you were the first to believe in amaro products, especially with your exports abroad, just think that Amaro Nardini was one of the first amaro bottles to arrive in the US to influence the US beverage world with the amaro-phobia, tell us the truth, how did you anticipate the success of this category, almost forgotten by Italian bars and consumers?
I must confess that the merit was not entirely mine. We had a great fortune thanks to a US television series of the late nineties: The Sopranos. On several occasions when the characters finished a meal, they also asked for an amaro, creating a sense of curiosity in the general public, it was a very popular series. We were lucky because we had just entered the market and the formula of our Amaro immediately met the American taste. My work in the market to help sales of our product has subsequently helped to make it known.
Dr. Guarda, you are much appreciated by the world of Italian and international beverage, what is your relationship with the experts of the sector and which among them does represent the positions that you consider most important in the supply chain of your production?
For twelve years by now I have been carrying forward the proposal of grappa in mixed drinking. A project started in London with the publication of the Grappa Handbook (we are working in these days on the second edition) where we explain what grappa is and how it is produced and interpreted by B.lo Nardini. The idea was born from the little and confused knowledge of grappa in international markets. Having a portfolio of 26 products we have extended the explanation to our entire product range. The London barman community has welcomed the project with great enthusiasm, creating cocktails based on B.lo Nardini products that are collected in the Grappa Handbook. The second edition will contain barman recipes from all over the world and will be published in multiple languages. The bartenders, mixologists or however else one wants to call them, are definitely the most important link in the entire supply chain as it is thanks to them that the product is presented to the final consumer, creating a market. It's a category of professionals that I adore because, in addition to their innate art in mixing, they all have a natural humanity when interacting with customers.
How has your innate creativity and intelligence, Dr. Guarda, influenced the B.lo Nardini world in recent years?
My most important influence in the B.lo Nardini world was developing the relationship with the barmen and presenting the grappa, traditionally used neat after a meal, as an excellent ingredient in mixed drinking.
B.lo Nardini is an important brand coined in the past, exalted in the present and always ready for the future… What are your plans? Can you give us some anticipation?
I see the B.lo Nardini future in the short term tied to expanding the distribution of our entire range both in the Italian market and in the international one. In the medium/long term we are working on a project of mono-brand bar, the first of which was opened less than a year ago, right here in Bassano: Garage Nardini, where we present our products, neat and mixed in cocktails, with an emphasis also on food, which will be based strictly on seasonal Veneto products. B.lo Nardini and Veneto as a communication mission!
As already mentioned, you represent the Italian Company that deserves more respect for all it has been able to achieve since 1779 but, if you had to look around, which other Italian Company would be worthy of your attention and admiration?
There are many Italian companies that I admire, in different sectors. I always prefer traditional family companies that are able to emphasize the care and passion in the final products. In our specific sector, I admire all the friends of The Spirit of Italy, with whom we have been collaborating for years and with whom we managed to make a common front in international markets, promoting traditional Italian drinking.