A living history, full of great feeling and passion
1905: setting out on a long adventure
In 1905, Gennaro Fabbri took over an old grocery store with wine cellar in Portomaggiore, in the province of Ferrara. He was 45, and had two sons, Aldo and Romeo. Gennaro turned the store into a workshop for the production and sale of liqueurs. On the store sign, he wrote “Premiata Distilleria Liquori G. Fabbri”, known today as Fabbri 1905. It marked the beginning of a long and successful business venture, that was set to grow over time, well into the Third Millennium.
Introducing Marena con frutto: passion rises
In the 1920s, Gennaro Fabbri opened his first production facility in Bologna and created a range of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic syrups. Thus was born his most famous product, known in Italian as “Marena con frutto”, inspired by his wife Rachele Buriani’s recipe, followed by mint, grenadine and of course the famous Amarena cherry syrup.
Liqueur cherries: flavour grows and transforms
The 1930s saw the birth of Liqueur Cherries and an expansion of the range into Jams, the only production which was allowed during the difficult war years. Romeo and Aldo started playing a more active role in developing the family business until, in 1933, the company name was changed to «Ditta G. Fabbri di Aldo e Romeo Fabbri».
Bar Centrale: Bologna’s high-society salon
The first semi-finished products for hand-crafted gelato first came onto the scene. Gennaro purchased the Bar Centrale in Bologna, located at the commercial heart of the city, opposite the Stock Exchange hall. His sons turned it into a stylish venue for sampling Fabbri products. The bar was open 24 hours a day, the only bar to do so at that time, thus becoming a popular meeting place for businessmen, for young people and for high society, where people could enjoy liqueurs, syrups and gelato product whit semi-finished products by Fabbri 1905.
From WWII to the boom years: Fabbri becomes huge
In the postwar years and during the Italian economic boom, the company became a joint-stock company, now named «G. Fabbri SpA». By 1947, the founder’s grandchildren, Fabio and Giorgio had taken over the company, boosting the production of liqueurs as well, of course, as the company’s traditional mainstays, i.e. Amarena Fabbri and other fruit syrups.
Another step forward: Italian-design gelato
A bold breakthrough, which launched the company onto the international markets, was the launch of a successful new product range: i «Cremolati». These were the first compound ingredients for hand-made gelato parlours: fruit pastes and creams: as if by magic they could be transformed into excellent hand-made gelato, simply by adding water or milk. A niche market in which the company is still market leader. Success was quite sensational and a new market soon opened up for Fabbri: Italian-design gelato.
Fabbri: a gelato school on tour around Italy
Once again, the Fabbri family were one step ahead of their time. They turned a series of vans into itinerant gelato workshops, to help show gelato-makers and pastry chefs how to make good hand-made gelato, using Fabbri’s semi-finished products. A cutting-edge marketing strategy saw these vans spread the word about the company throughout Italy.
Carosello: “after the pirate, it’s off to bed with Fabbri”
Staying one step ahead was no mean feat, and Fabbri was one of the mainstays in the famous Carosello TV adverts programme that, from 1957 onwards, entertained several generations of adults and children. The comic adventures of “Salomone, the tubby pirate”, the cartoon devised by Fabbri, are still fondly remembered by millions of Italians to this day. Even after Carosello had had its day, Fabbri continued to invest in television advertising, hiring many leading film directors to build its image.
Third generation: enthusiasm, passion and strategy
The 1960s and 1970s saw the company gradually handed down to the third generation of the Fabbri family. Enthusiasm, passion and a burning desire to stay ahead of the competition continued to distinguish Fabbri management. Production moved to a new 180,000 sq. m. factory in Anzola Emilia, that is still going to this day. This brought the Fabbri brand into millions of Italian homes – with the rise of advertising and the new production facility, Fabbri’s success rocketed.
Topping: a revolution for home baking
In the 1970s, the company launched its first range of Toppings for gelatos and desserts. Italian households had discovered a passion for desserts. Fabbri products made it so much easier to express creativity in the kitchen, to the delight of the whole family.
Fabbri: launching the brand onto the world’s markets
During the 1980s, the range of products for consumption outside the home continued to expand, and wherever possible Fabbri began to work with partner distributors for their products. The goal was to expand and consolidate sales in foreign markets.
Fourth generation: the Fabbri great-grandchildren take up the baton
Fabbri 1905 is run by the fourth generation. The founder’s great-grandchildren – Andrea, Nicola, Paolo and Umberto – leading a company with 250 employees, with 17 product lines and 23 packaging lines. A family-run holding company that distributes 1,200 products to over 100 countries around the globe.
Bartenders and Chefs: more imagination on the menu
With the rise of the brand, thanks to advertising, Fabbri continued with its efforts to diversify production. This led to bar products, such as Mixybar and a few years later, MixyFruit, fruit concentrates for mixed drinks, soon to be joined by flavourings for coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino and tea.
Master Class: building on success
To accompany its quality products, Fabbri also moved into the professional training field. The UNI-certified school Scuola Permanente Internazionale di Gelateria e Pasticceria Artigianale was founded in 1996. Building on the back of the school’s success, the name was soon changed to “Fabbri Master Class”, the brand that now identifies Fabbri training centres in Italy and worldwide.
A new milestone: Italian style around the world
Backed by a brand that has become synonymous with quality, Fabbri is conquering the foreign markets using traditional products and is always looking to take on new challenges. It’s a two-pronged strategy: on one hand, the search for partners capable of distributing Fabbri products, on the other direct investment to establish foreign companies controlled by the Fabbri family. For Fabbri, tradition and passion remain key ingredients to this day.
One hundred years: the amazing Fabbri story
We marked our Centenary in 2005 with a great celebration, in a series of memorable events and limited editions. The most popular works were the Centenary Jar, the “Cento Anni Fabbri” monograph and participation at the Venice Film Festival. Fabbri 1905, world-famous for “inventing” Fabbri’s unrivalled Amarena and fruit syrups, is committed to affirming Italian design confectionery around the world.
Fifth generation: tradition renewed
The fifth generation has already begun working for the company, for this great project where an unquenchable thirst for innovation goes hand in hand with tradition. Today, the company operates in four main markets. Alongside our many products for end users, Fabbri offers high-added-value solutions and products for hand-made gelato- and dessert-makers, Italian and international bartenders and pastry chefs in Italy and worldwide.
To be continued
Italian Tax and VAT numbers IT 00281980375