Campari conquers the world with the Spritz
Campari conquers the world with the Spritz

Video: Campari conquers the world with the Spritz

Video: Campari conquers the world with the Spritz
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"Ah, Aperol!" Perhaps only the oldest among us remember the hype that went wild years (decades) ago to promote the orange aperitif with a light and pleasantly fruity taste based on an infusion of orange, herbs and roots.

Aperitif that, to be honest, has never been too successful except for the North East of Italy, from which it takes its origins: invented in fact in 1919 in Bassano del Grappa, in the province of Vicenza, still today, and more precisely in 2003, the year of acquisition of the Aperol brand by Campari, the aperitif red concentrated its sales in only three Italian cities, while it was almost ignored in all the others.

It has had greater fortune as a basic component of an aperitif widespread in Veneto and in the eastern regions, namely lo spritzer: drink of Austrian origin originally represented by a simple blend of wine and sparkling water widespread in the early 1900s.

After the Second World War the term Spritz went to indicate a cocktail based on sparkling water, prosecco and, more often than not, Aperol - as per the official recipe certified by the Bartender Association -, even if the version with the sweetest Campari was not missing., less widespread.

And it is precisely on the Spritz that Campari has focused on to revive the fate of the red aperitif, using it as the main means to be able to make Aperol penetrate foreign markets as well, starting with those closest to us such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

In fact, as Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz explains in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, reported by Il Post, in 2016 the sales of Aperol will exceed not only those of Campari itself but also those of another important product of the company, Skyy vodka, products that in 2015 alone brought the company about 200 million in turnover, about 12 percent of the almost two billion euros in total.

A goal made possible by a particular marketing technique, which involved the identification of some "key bars" in the most interesting neighborhoods of the cities considered, where to promote and offer courses to barmen who taught how to prepare a perfect Spritz.

A winning strategy, which, however long-term - it takes on average 7 years to conquer a new country - has been a success, and has led the Aperol brand to expand like wildfire, explains Kunze-Concewitz.

Success that, we must point out, is not only due to marketing techniques but also to the precise historical moment we are experiencing.

As explained by Paolo Aversa - a researcher at the Cass Business School in London, in an article published by the Financial Times in 2013 - the recent crisis and its inevitable impact on consumption, as well as the increasingly widespread attention to healthy and conscious attitudes, have led, especially in Europe, to a lower consumption of alcohol, and to a progressive rapprochement with moderately alcoholic beverages.

Only the American market seems to resist the advance of Aperol: established habits in fact tend towards more aggressive and alcoholic aperitifs, while the fresher and lighter ones are much less popular, especially if sold at the same price as the more "full-bodied" ones.

But also for the difficult US market, Campari has prepared a winning strategy, investing heavily in Italian or European bars and restaurants, and here too offering courses to barmen to teach how to prepare Spritz.

Above all by paying groups of people to go to the trendiest and most fashionable clubs in the most lively American cities, such as San Francisco, New York and Miami, and ordering Spritz in rivers, to create a sort of emulation effect: you are at the next table, you see this strange orange cocktail coming, the people around you seem to love it and so you get curious,”says Kunze-Concewitz.

And business seems to prove him right: Aperol's sales, although still contained, are growing at a rate of 40/50% per year.

Not bad for a light, distant aperitif in Bassano del Grappa!