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Now there are coins for many chapters of the USBG, as well as for states, countries and events. Kragerud is currently working on a design for Tales on Tour in Edinburgh. Being a member of a USBG chapter is one way to get a coin, or you might pick one up at Speedrack or Tales of the Cocktail, but you might also just need to be in the right place at the right time when a Fernet rep walks into your bar, which is how Morel got his. Once you have a coin, the idea is to trade with bartenders in other places, to keep things circulating. But there are a few lucky ones who begin a collection, acquiring more as they go. While many wear the coin on a necklace, some bartenders have found that a sure way to always have a coin with them is to tattoo it on their body. Another asked Kragerud if he could design smaller versions to fit in his ear gauges.
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Fernet-Branca coins rapidly came to symbolize bartender community membership. They travelled across oceans and continents to the most remote corners of the world. They not only represented a momentary achievement but an authentic collectible, jealously guarded as a status symbol and a privilege.
Reciprocal recognition, a sense of mutual belonging and a desire to be great protagonists of the Fernet-Branca family. In the name of these values, for years the most impassioned bartender community has been collecting, exchanging and requesting Fernet-Branca coins.
5.When you give someone a Fernet-Branca Coin you invite them to be part of a brotherhood; it is an honour to possess a coin, and not only: a coin that is gifted or awarded as a prize has a more personal value than a bought coin.
Should you ever find yourself enjoying a cocktail next to a group of off-duty bartenders, you might witness a peculiar transaction take place. One bartender will place an oversized coin on the bar, a silent challenge for the others to do the same. They will scramble, checking wallets, rifling through purses, and digging in pockets, because failing to produce a coin means buying a round of drinks for those who did.
These coins come in various shapes and colors, each commemorating a special event or even a location. Good stories lie behind each of them, ones that can become almost mythical over time as they are told and retold over drinks at the bar. To hold a Fernet Branca challenge coin is to be part of a community. The same is true of the U.S. military challenge coins after which they are modeled. For years, these have been awarded for special achievements, collected by service members, and used to carry out a similar ritual at the bar. Just maybe not with Fernet Branca.
Fernet took that idea and started creating their own coins, customized to cities or events where they are released in numbers as low as 100 to a group of bartenders, or others in the know. Instead of making it a silly sales promo by randomly handing it out to customers, Fernet understood the power of their facilitators, their real sales crew: the bartenders.
And this explains a line around a phone booth on a Sunday night. Fernet releases these coins to their influencers and thereby formulates a secret handshake amongst the few. Drop a Fernet-Branca coin at a bar in a foreign city and you will gain immediate friendship, honor, belonging, and likely a free shot.
Designs should be for one side of the coin only and are limited to five colours. Bartenders have until 31 December 2017 to submit their ideas at -Branca.co.uk/coin, where full T&Cs can also be found. Entries will be shortlisted in January 2018 and voted on by the industry, with the winner announced in February.
On Monday, January 24th, Brezza will host a Fernet-Branca celebration event with special guest Edoardo Branca, sixth-generation member of the Branca family. Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception and Fernet-Branca-inspired fare from Executive Chef Nicole Brisson. After 10 p.m., Bar Zazu (located right next to Brezza) will host the industry after-party, where the official 2022 coin will be released and given to the lucky few!
Originally produced as medicine, Fernet-Branca was consumed in bulk during America's Prohibition, according to Chilled Magazine, as it could be purchased when few other medicinal spirits could be found. In Argentina, Fernet-Branca and cola has been named the nation's official drink, and Argentinians guzzle the libation more than any other nationality (per The Atlantic). Not to mention, the 80-proof fernet carries a reputation as a hangover cure.
"Fernet is a handshake, a secret password that proves you're a real bartender. It is a unique product for unique bartenders," Michele Montauti of Miky's in Thailand told Fernet-Branca. In the United States, the association of fernet seems to have come out of San Francisco, where bartenders in the North Beach area introduced the drink to the Italian-rich community, and the unique taste quickly spread (via Chilled Magazine).
And it's not just the alcohol itself, there are actual physical coins exchanged within bartending circles. First created in 2013, fernet coins have been passed around bartending communities, slid across wooden bars, and traded among cocktail-slinging drink masters (via Fernet-Branca). When Fernet Branca recognized the close-knit bartending community and their love for the drink, the brand set about organizing and promoting The Barback Games in major cities such as San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago to emphasize the label's support of the bartending profession (via Fernet-Branca). So the next time you see a special-looking coin slid across a bar surface and a look of recognition from the bartender, you, too, will be in the know.
Of the many boldfaced Italian surnames gracing the labels of amaro bottles, there may be none as iconic as Branca. Made in Milan since 1845, Fernet-Branca has become the most recognizable example of fernet, a sub-category of amaro that is loosely defined by its elevated level of alcohol, pronounced bitterness, black-licorice color and several common key ingredients, including saffron, chamomile, aloe ferox, myrrh and mint. 041b061a72