From Eritrea the history of Melotti colonial beer now imported into Italy by an Italian-Eritrean businessman – Versione italiana QUI
Melotti beer was born in Eritrea in 1939 when the Italian engineer Luigi Melotti arrived in the italian colony to follow the road works and decided to found a factory to produce beer and other liqueurs, plus a glassware for bottling.
During the Second World War, in 1941, Italy lost its colonies conquered by the British. The Melotti family remains in Eritrea to run the company forward.
In 1946 the founder dies leaving everything to his wife Emma who will continue, together with his son, the family business becoming the famous “Melotti beer” throughout East Africa and exported to the English colonies.
The family will remain in the country even after the annexation of Emperor Hailè Selassiè to Ethiopia, but in the 70s with the taking of power by Colonel Mengistu all factories are nationalized: resources and businesses are almost eliminated, forcing many companies to close.
In 1991 the country regained its independence. Slowly the factories begin to reopen, like the brewery that now takes the name of Birra Asmara, formerly Melotti. The new beer production maintains the original format and graphics of the Italian colonial period. The company is for 84% of the Eritrean State, the rest of small companies and individual shareholders.
In 2014 the Italian-Eritrean businessman Solomon Mebrahtu, decided to start the importation of Asmara-Melotti beer into Italy: “The idea of importing beer was born because there was interest from the diaspora, and now they are the sole importer of beer as well as Asmara anise. The market is mainly in Milan, where are the main restaurants and bars opened by young Eritreans. The idea was to bring something in Italy that was both Italian and Eritrean. I liked the product to enter Italy, because Eritrea is culturally very tied to Italy “.
Today the company, with 480 employees, produces 325,000 bottles of beer a day, as well as 10,000 bottles of liqueurs.
“We do our best to keep this company alive” said Asmara Brewery’s general manager, Yohannes Habte, recalling that his father worked there for 36 years and that he himself had the opportunity to meet at the front, during the liberation war against Ethiopia, Mrs. Emma Melotti: “At the front we had many factories and there I met Mrs. Melotti, who recognized me, and gave me news about my family”.