The “Moliterno Liquor” business is over 100 years old. And it all started with its founder Carlo, who was ahead of his time and had a great passion for this particular field since he was a child. A world made of smells, seeds, herbs, spices, aromas, multiform and polychrome bottles, packages, crates and labels in an exciting discovery of shapes and contents that had always fascinated him. An infinite world, an unusual and ancient profession full of charm and mystery that was described in only one word: the distiller. A word that spoke of laboratories, alchemy, ancient books, concoctions, mixtures, alembics, fumes and fire, essences and alcohol, but that for Carlo Moliterno did not hold any mysteries.
Since he was a young boy he showed interest in this ancient art, and right here in Altomonte, he paid regular visits to the famous fine wines, liqueurs and vermouth company run by Ciro Luigi Giacobini and his son Francesco. It was a real industry and one of very few that existed in the province of Cosenza at the time. From the second half of the nineteenth century it was able to transform the ancient wine and liquor tradition of this area (already known to the Romans) into a period of growth and economic development for the territory, employing, directly or indirectly, dozens of workers, and selling over 200,000 bottles of product per year. The Giacobini products were awarded many gold medals and various awards in the most important trade fairs and exhibitions of that era, as well as being official suppliers to several foreign royal families. They reached the four corners of the world by many means; up steep slopes and through rivers, valleys and coasts on the backs of mules and then by train or by ship – wherever there may have been a high demand for their products. This was proven also by economic treaties of the era and accurate historical research (Giovanni Sola – “Calabria Citeriore of the 800’s “).
At the beginning of the 20th century, this was an extraordinary experience and rare occasion for a young man who was facing a new world in which rapid progress would have forever canceled the age-old rules and slow rhythms of the peasant culture. It allowed Carlo Moliterno to learn all that was necessary about the art of distilling liquor, among other things.
And when the flourishing activity of the Giacobinis suddenly ceased to exist , due to a sudden turn of the fate of the agricultural landowning families of the south which were always linked to stories of brigades, wars, generational clashes and social class discrimination, Carlo found strength, ingenuity and the will to continue working on the tradition of Altomonte’s liqueurs, though on a much smaller scale. He used the same traditional recipes; perhaps those once described in the recipes of the friars and monks who in the twelfth century lived in the many convents of the medieval village where they were once jealously kept secret. Those unique flavours and their origins were then handed down in time, year after year, season after season, always innovating to follow the changing laws and the growing market, but never abandoning the tradition. And for generations, even today, Carlo’s grandchildren continue to do so, with the same passion, the same commitment and using the same methods, to make their product known to the thousands of visitors who come to Altomonte and are attracted by the wonders of the old town and the events of the “Spoleto of the South” as it is sometimes called. These visitors have the opportunity to discover the original Moliterno liqueurs, the same genuine, sincere, aromatic and spicy products of the past, that want to offer not only seductive flavors, but history, tradition, culture, and knowledge of the generous land of Calabria to even the most demanding palates. The importance of tradition and the awareness of its origins, not detached from the historical and social context of the southern peasant civilization of the past centuries but rather firmly rooted in it as an original guarantee of centuries of experience, have pushed the company to add an oenological museum on the premises, which displays objects from ancient rural and traditional cultures through the main stages of the production of wines and liqueurs in Altomonte during the last two centuries, to allow everyone to fully understand the strong link with our common past.