TRADITION AND INNOVATION

The Company was founded in 1885, when Bologna-born Stanislao Cobianchi decided to make good use of the experience he had gained during his traineeship by setting up his own liqueur producing company.

Drawing on his expert knowledge of botanicals, he invented Amaro Montenegro.

Montenegro enjoyed steady organic growth over the years until 1986, when the Group implemented a strong growth and expansion strategy with the acquisition of major traditional Italian brands, including Vecchia Romagna, Infré Decaf Tea, Bonomelli, Cuore Corn Oil, Cannamela Spices, Polenta Valsugana and Catarì Instant Pizza.

 

The ability to reinvent itself while remaining true to its roots, coupled with dedicated attention to consumer needs and demands, has allowed the Group to be part of everyday Italian life for over 130 years.

Thanks to its more recently implemented international expansion programme, the Group is today present with its products in over 70 countries around the world.

History

“Italian quality, since 1885”. Gruppo Montenegro can draw on a long, all-Italian history of know-how and passion. Discover the milestones in our timeline:

1885

Young alchemist Stanislao Cobianchi launches his company, “Cobianchi Stanislao Distilleria a Vapore” in Bologna.

The distillery produces many different products: aperitifs like bitter and vermouth and liqueurs with names that are all but forgotten nowadays, like ratafià, alchermes, arquebuse, persico, latte di vecchia and rosolio.

One of the most successful products, however, is Elisir Lungavita, which is later renamed Amaro Montenegro after Princess Elena of Montenegro, the future Queen of Italy, to whom Stanislao decides to dedicate his invention.

1986

Montenegro acquires a 50% stake in the company Stucker Zesiger, producer of Infré Decaf Tea, a tea created by German pharmacist Theodor Grethe, who invented the decaffeination process.

The brand is then acquired in full by Gruppo Montenegro in 2011.

1987

The Bonomelli brand joins the Group.

Founded in 1908 by Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli, the company sets the benchmark for the cultivation and transformation of chamomile, thanks also to the first Italian centre for experimental trials, cultivation and drying of chamomile, established in Foggia in 1939.

1995

The Group acquires Cannamela, a company founded in 1956 in Bologna thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cannamela family.

The growth strategy implemented following the acquisition leads to the brand quadrupling its turnover.

1996

Acquisition of Polenta Valsugana

The Polenta Valsugana brand has been a household name in Italy since the ’50s, offering all the goodness of traditional polenta but with the added advantage of an express formula that means the polenta cooks in just a few minutes.

Thanks to the boom in sales and major investments in communications, Polenta Valsugana becomes a household name, synonymous with polenta.

1999

Vecchia Romagna, invented by Jean Bouton, a Frenchman born into a family of pioneers in the art of liqueur production, and founder of the Giovanni Buton Distillery (1820), boosts the Group’s Spirits range.

2000

Acquisition of the Catarì Instant Pizza brand.

From the 1950s, Catarì Instant Pizza helps spread the popularity of homemade pizza thanks to its special formula: pre-dosed ingredients and a few simple instructions.

2002

Cuore (literally “heart” in Italian), the corn oil made from the “heart of corn” that was launched in the ’60s and immortalised by its much-loved advertising campaign featuring a healthy consumer hopping over a fence and by its unmistakable product packaging, joins the Group.

2008

Bonomelli enters the market of herbal teas, launching a range of functional, delicious-tasting products that are an ideal choice for natural, healthy living. Over the years Bonomelli continues to invest considerable resources in order to perfect the various formulae, so that today some products in the range offer the innovative option of infusion in either hot or cold water.

2010

In line with the growing focus on wellbeing, Polenta Valsugana launches its Wholegrain version.

Made from 100% wholegrain cornmeal, the wholegrain polenta provides a valuable amount of dietary fibre and gives Polenta Valsugana a rustic, substantial texture.

This is an important addition to the range which already includes the Classic, the White and the Ready-to.eat Polenta Valsugana.

2013

The development plan for the U.S. market is rolled out with substantial investments in distribution, marketing and human resources, anticipating the positive trend in Italian Amari in the world’s biggest Premium Spirits market.

2013

Bonomelli launches its new range of fruit infusions: delicious 100% natural blends, with fruit and natural flavours that characterise the colour, taste and aroma of the beverages.

2015

Polenta Valsugana 5 Grains offers consumers a unique blend: yellow cornmeal together with wholegrain corn, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.

A new mixture that combines the health benefits of cereal grains with the natural goodness of corn.

2015

The Group embraces the strong growth of the coffee capsules market with the launch of Bonomelli Chamomile Tea and Infrè Decaf Tea compostable capsules compatible with Nespresso machines: the same relaxing, healthy drinks as always, but now ready in a matter of seconds. The range is expanded in the years that followed with functional herbal teas.

2015

Major investments in the revamping of the San Lazzaro plant, aimed at seismic upgrading, improving the plant’s energy footprint and upgrading the production lines.

2015

The first Cuore brand product innovation since the launch of the brand. Launch of Low-Sodium Iodised Salt, a fine table salt with reduced sodium to be used in place of standard table salt. Ideal for low-sodium diets, for example as recommended in the case of high blood pressure.

2016

Gruppo Montenegro becomes the sole distributor in Italy of the Jose Cuervo International portfolio (Tequila Jose Cuervo, Tequila 1800, Kraken Rum, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Boodles Gin) and of Matusalem Premium Rum.

2016

Launch of a Lean Manufacturing project, for a production approach aimed at eliminating waste and improving productivity.

2017

Bonomelli launches its Herbal Infusions: a range of 100% natural products that exclusively combine the taste and benefits of two botanicals, with no other added ingredients, for a herbal experience that offers unsurpassed pureness.

2017

Launch of Cuore Egg-Free Mayonnaise, gluten-free, containing plant proteins and made with Cuore Corn Oil, for a product rich in linoleic acid which, coupled with a varied and well-balanced diet and a healthy, active lifestyle, can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.

2017

Gruppo Montenegro becomes the sole distributor in Italy of the Beluga Group products portfolio (Beluga Vodka Super Premium and Belenkaya Vodka) and of Chazalettes Vermouth.

2018

In January 2018 Cuore presented another novelty: the new line of Pesto Genovese sauces. Made with 40% of Cuore oil, rich in linoleic acid that helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels, and with 100% Italian basil, the  products are available in two references, classic and without garlic, to meet the needs of all consumers attentive to taste and well-being. Pesto Cuore sauces are the first with a functional promise, and therefore have a unique positioning, not only in the pesto market, but also in seasonings in general.

2018

Gruppo Montenegro is the new exclusive distributor of Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Finlandia Vodka in Italy.

2018

Established on July 1, 2018; Montenegro Americas is the USA-based subsidiary of Gruppo Montenegro tasked with developing the Group’s portfolio in the U.S., Canada, Central and South America with the precious support of importers, distributors, and agency partners.

History

“Italian quality, since 1885”. Gruppo Montenegro can draw on a long, all-Italian history of know-how and passion. Discover the milestones in our timeline:

1885

Young alchemist Stanislao Cobianchi launches his company, “Cobianchi Stanislao Distilleria a Vapore” in Bologna.

The distillery produces many different products: aperitifs like bitter and vermouth and liqueurs with names that are all but forgotten nowadays, like ratafià, alchermes, arquebuse, persico, latte di vecchia and rosolio.

One of the most successful products, however, is Elisir Lungavita, which is later renamed Amaro Montenegro after Princess Elena of Montenegro, the future Queen of Italy, to whom Stanislao decides to dedicate his invention.

1986

Montenegro acquires a 50% stake in the company Stucker Zesiger, producer of Infré Decaf Tea, a tea created by German pharmacist Theodor Grethe, who invented the decaffeination process.

The brand is then acquired in full by Gruppo Montenegro in 2011.

1987

The Bonomelli brand joins the Group.

Founded in 1908 by Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli, the company sets the benchmark for the cultivation and transformation of chamomile, thanks also to the first Italian centre for experimental trials, cultivation and drying of chamomile, established in Foggia in 1939.

1995

The Group acquires Cannamela, a company founded in 1956 in Bologna thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cannamela family.

The growth strategy implemented following the acquisition leads to the brand quadrupling its turnover.

1996

Acquisition of Polenta Valsugana

The Polenta Valsugana brand has been a household name in Italy since the ’50s, offering all the goodness of traditional polenta but with the added advantage of an express formula that means the polenta cooks in just a few minutes.

Thanks to the boom in sales and major investments in communications, Polenta Valsugana becomes a household name, synonymous with polenta.

1999

Vecchia Romagna, invented by Jean Bouton, a Frenchman born into a family of pioneers in the art of liqueur production, and founder of the Giovanni Buton Distillery (1820), boosts the Group’s Spirits range.

2000

Acquisition of the Catarì Instant Pizza brand.

From the 1950s, Catarì Instant Pizza helps spread the popularity of homemade pizza thanks to its special formula: pre-dosed ingredients and a few simple instructions.

2002

Cuore (literally “heart” in Italian), the corn oil made from the “heart of corn” that was launched in the ’60s and immortalised by its much-loved advertising campaign featuring a healthy consumer hopping over a fence and by its unmistakable product packaging, joins the Group.

2008

Bonomelli enters the market of herbal teas, launching a range of functional, delicious-tasting products that are an ideal choice for natural, healthy living. Over the years Bonomelli continues to invest considerable resources in order to perfect the various formulae, so that today some products in the range offer the innovative option of infusion in either hot or cold water.

2010

In line with the growing focus on wellbeing, Polenta Valsugana launches its Wholegrain version.

Made from 100% wholegrain cornmeal, the wholegrain polenta provides a valuable amount of dietary fibre and gives Polenta Valsugana a rustic, substantial texture.

This is an important addition to the range which already includes the Classic, the White and the Ready-to.eat Polenta Valsugana.

2013

The development plan for the U.S. market is rolled out with substantial investments in distribution, marketing and human resources, anticipating the positive trend in Italian Amari in the world’s biggest Premium Spirits market.

2013

Bonomelli launches its new range of fruit infusions: delicious 100% natural blends, with fruit and natural flavours that characterise the colour, taste and aroma of the beverages.

2015

Polenta Valsugana 5 Grains offers consumers a unique blend: yellow cornmeal together with wholegrain corn, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.

A new mixture that combines the health benefits of cereal grains with the natural goodness of corn.

2015

The Group embraces the strong growth of the coffee capsules market with the launch of Bonomelli Chamomile Tea and Infrè Decaf Tea compostable capsules compatible with Nespresso machines: the same relaxing, healthy drinks as always, but now ready in a matter of seconds. The range is expanded in the years that followed with functional herbal teas.

2015

Major investments in the revamping of the San Lazzaro plant, aimed at seismic upgrading, improving the plant’s energy footprint and upgrading the production lines.

2015

The first Cuore brand product innovation since the launch of the brand. Launch of Low-Sodium Iodised Salt, a fine table salt with reduced sodium to be used in place of standard table salt. Ideal for low-sodium diets, for example as recommended in the case of high blood pressure.

2016

Gruppo Montenegro becomes the sole distributor in Italy of the Jose Cuervo International portfolio (Tequila Jose Cuervo, Tequila 1800, Kraken Rum, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Boodles Gin) and of Matusalem Premium Rum.

2016

Launch of a Lean Manufacturing project, for a production approach aimed at eliminating waste and improving productivity.

2017

Bonomelli launches its Herbal Infusions: a range of 100% natural products that exclusively combine the taste and benefits of two botanicals, with no other added ingredients, for a herbal experience that offers unsurpassed pureness.

2017

Launch of Cuore Egg-Free Mayonnaise, gluten-free, containing plant proteins and made with Cuore Corn Oil, for a product rich in linoleic acid which, coupled with a varied and well-balanced diet and a healthy, active lifestyle, can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.

2017

Gruppo Montenegro becomes the sole distributor in Italy of the Beluga Group products portfolio (Beluga Vodka Super Premium and Belenkaya Vodka) and of Chazalettes Vermouth.

2018

In January 2018 Cuore presented another novelty: the new line of Pesto Genovese sauces. Made with 40% of Cuore oil, rich in linoleic acid that helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels, and with 100% Italian basil, the  products are available in two references, classic and without garlic, to meet the needs of all consumers attentive to taste and well-being. Pesto Cuore sauces are the first with a functional promise, and therefore have a unique positioning, not only in the pesto market, but also in seasonings in general.

Innovation

The markets in which Gruppo Montenegro operates pose constant challenges. Some of these markets are extremely dynamic, characterised by constantly changing consumer needs and strong competitive pressure from rival companies. In this context, Gruppo Montenegro cultivates a competitive edge by focusing on innovation as the fundamental element for growth and prosperity.

Innovation is an act of creation, which is achieved by listening to consumers, observing trends and valuing creativity with the support of the science, methods and dedication of a hard-working team that makes innovation their daily objective.

Starting from sound Consumer Insights, the Innovation Team operates by selecting only the best ingredients, production technologies and packaging, adding them to the “innovation basket” to create new products that offer the highest quality in terms of organoleptic properties and hygiene, while respecting values of health and wellbeing to meet real consumer needs.

The roots of Gruppo Montenegro’s innovation model branch out into three territories:

  • the “territory of ideas”, where original new concepts emerge (without ideas there can be no innovation)
  • the “territory of governance of innovation”, where ideas are transformed into products after a long, meticulous process involving trials, tests and checks where nothing is left to chance
  • the “territory of people”, those with an inherent culture of innovation who are passionate about playing an active role, taking a hands-on approach to the continuous pursuit of excellence.

To meet the challenges of innovation, Gruppo Montenegro avails of a strategic team with a strong consumer-oriented approach and an in-house group of experts, the R&D Team, specialised in the various markets and product categories, which works in tandem with an external network of experts from prestigious universities and represents the real driver of innovation.

Standing out from the competition means presenting consumers with an exceptional offering that has an edge over that of rivals and sums up the values of Gruppo Montenegro, namely passion, teamwork and a taste for excellence.