The companies investigated
The story of Albergian begins in the mountain village of Pragelato, Piedmont, where in 1909, the couple Serafino and Secondina Ponsat opened a hotel. Within this same structure they also founded a small laboratory for the production of fruit preserves and jams. Within a few years, the hotelier couple, together with their daughter Kosina and son-in-law Giacomo Tillino, had increased their production, extending into jams, honey, preserved vegetables, liqueurs and infusions of alpine herbs. Production and commercialisation grew enormously in the decades following the war, thanks in particular to the tireless work of Adriano Tillino, of the third family generation. In the early 1950s, the company established a new processing plant in the town of Pinerolo and extended distribution throughout the region of Piedmont. Some 60 years after launching the activity, the family finally closed the hotel and dedicated themselves exclusively to the food sector. By this time Albergian had expanded far beyond regional borders, reaching international markets. Well into the new millennium, Adriano and his son Giacomo continue to preserve and develop the company’s artisanal production techniques. The fourth generation of the Tillino family remains intent on what they call the “tradition of good taste,” and still avoids strategies of mass industrialisation.
The traditions of Amarelli are deeply rooted in the town of Kossano, Calabria, a region known since the Roman era for its production of the highest quality liquorice roots. Archival documents attest that the baronial Amarelli family had entered commercial liquorice production as early as 1500. In 1731, the Amarellis founded a proto-industrial plant called a concio, still present on the landholdings and now completely restored. Each of the successive 11 family generations has remained strongly innovative and persistent in improving the growing practices, processing, commercialisation and marketing for their products. In 1840, thanks to Domenico Amarelli, these efforts reached the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples. At the close of World War II, Amarelli was the only liquorice factory still operating in Calabria and one of the few in all
Preface ix of Italy. The next generations capitalised on the boom of the post-war, adding numerous products and processing innovations, and innovating heavily in the areas of marketing and management. In the 1980s, the baton passed to several cousins. Of these, Giorgio took the lead, while Alessandro and Franco continued their respective lives as medical doctor and professor. At the untimely death of Giorgio, the remaining two joined with Margherita Amarelli, a graduate in law, who briefly took on the role of administrator. However, the family ultimately turned to Pina Mengano Amarelli, wife of Franco, drawing on her excellent organisational and managerial skills and passionate leadership to advance the company identity and initiate new ventures. As of 2020, Pina remains honorary president. Alongside her and Franco are Fortunato and Margherita, children of Alessandro, respectively CEO and director of marketing. Amarelli, historically attached to Calabria, now markets a wide range of products in 26 countries, all of them still focused on the locally produced sweet liquorice root.