The Carpano Brands: Bartender Magazine Italian Aperitivo Tour

The Carpano & Punt e Mes brands on display at the Fernet-Branca Museum in Milan

As part of the Fernet Branca Family, the Carpano, Punt e Mes & Antica Formula brands are front and centre when you visit the Fernet Branca Museum and distillery in Milan.

The story starts in Turin in 1786 when Antonio Benedetto Carpano, following a period in which he studied to be a herbalist, invented the formula which was to give rise to the category of Vermouth products, by combining herbs and spices with muscatel. Carpano’s wine shop was situated just opposite the Royal Palace and, confident of the appeal of his new product, he sent a crate of Vermouth to King Vittorio Amedeo III. The king took such an immediate liking to the drink that he adopted it as one of the royal household drinks. Between 1840 and 1888 Carpano’s reputation grew and a glass of Carpano became the aperitif par excellence and Turin’s favourite drink. In 2001, the Branca family acquired Carpano.

These famous old posters were key to creating the success of these brands. They are now collector’s items

Punt e Mes & Antica Formula
Punt e Mes literally means “point and a half” in Piedmontese, referring to the flavor being characterised as one ”point” of sweetness and half a point of bitterness. The story goes that in 1870 , a stockbroker, caught up in a discussion with colleagues in the Carpano wine shop about the increase in share prices on that day – one and a half points – ordered his usual Carpano vermouth but asked for the barman to add half a measure of bitter, using the regional expression “Punt e Mes”.

The bartender favourite, Antica Formula, is also part of the Carpano family, In 2001 Count Niccolo Branca discovered an old recipe from Benedetto Carpano from the late 1780s. He went to work and Antica Formula was born.

The Carpano tradition, honoured in Turin
“A B. Carpano. In 1786, in this house, he created his vermouth. The first in a typical and traditional industry that has contributed greatly to the fame and prestige of Turin in the world”. These are the words on a headstone between via Viotti and piazza Castello, in the center of Turin, dedicated to Benedetto Carpano.

The Newcomer
Carpano Botanic Bitter was launched in 2020 and is the product of a careful selection of ten aromatic herbs that are infused with traditional method to reach a balanced taste of all the botanical components. The latest addition to the Carpano family is created with the company’s over 230-year-long passion for quality without compromise.