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1804

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BENARDINO ROSSI, Portrait of Giuseppe Molinari, 1857, Oil on canvas

BENARDINO ROSSI, Portrait of Giuseppe Molinari, 1857, Oil on canvas

18-year-old Modenese, Giuseppe Molinari, opened a small shop near Piazza Grande in 1804. The shop, named "Ditta Giuseppe Molinari", sold spices and cured meats, cheeses, and other groceries. The shop was popular with office workers, podestà, mayors, celebrities, and many others. 

The business took off, despite a fire in 1828. Ditta Giuseppe Molinari had such a rush of customers that Molinari sometimes had to borrow goods from other shops to keep up with the demand. Giuseppe eventually passed the business onto his son, Giovanni.

GAETANO BELLEI, Portrait of Giovanni Molinari, 1898, Oil on canvas

GAETANO BELLEI, Portrait of Giovanni Molinari, 1898, Oil on canvas

 
[Customers] had looked in attracted by the sight and perfume of an endless parade of hams, sausages, coppas, mortadellas, and every other type of home-made sausage, not to mention the cheeses and dairy products in general.
— Molinari 1804, by Alberto Bertoni and Guiseppe Bertoni
 
 
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1888

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Interior of the "Negozio Principale" (Main Shop) in Piazza Grande. 

Interior of the "Negozio Principale" (Main Shop) in Piazza Grande. 

Upon his death on May 26th, 1887, Giovanni left the shop to his sons, Achille and Guglielmo, who worked to expand the family business. 

In 1888, Ditta Giuseppe Molinari, now renamed Ditta Fratelli Molinari, became an official supplier for the Savoia house. It had previously gained "the right to put the Royal Stem on the shop" from the King. This was a prosperous period for Fratelli Molinari. It won the silver metal at the National General Exhibition in Palermo in 1892 for the quality of its balsamic vinegar. The brothers built a factory in which to craft their shop's products, and opened a restaurant under the porticoes in Via San Carlo.

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1911

Bar Molinari opened its doors in 1911. This bar went on to serve as an irreplaceable 'piece' of the town center of Modena by night for the next fifty years. At this time, the Molinari family started their relationship with coffee. It cost 15 cents to enjoy a cup of coffee standing at the "new and very elegant" bar. Achille could be found opening the bar between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning, ready to receive supplies.

Achille's son, Giuseppe Molinari, took over the company upon his father's death in 1917.

Your Lordship [is invited] to the inauguration of our Bar, on the corner of Via Emilia and Via S. Carlos, which will take place on Saturday 15 July 1911 at 10 pm.
— Invitation card to the opening of the Bar Molinari
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1945

 
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from the bar to the coffee roasting business

The "Bar Molinari" by night, second half of the forties

Between two World Wars and an economic depression, the Molinari business struggled. Giuseppe attempted a number of new projects and business extensions, but was forced to flee to Fanano. After World War II, Giuseppe restored his family's shop and returned to coffee. His children became very involved in the shop, and his son Alberto helped his mother with coffee roasting. He and his brothers, Emilio and Achille, set about building the coffee business as demand grew.

Around this time, the first hydro-compressed machine was introduced to the area. This machine created a creamy surface without burning the coffee. With the help of this machine, the Molinaris made a name in coffee.

In 1950, the brothers opened a coffee roasting business in Via Rismondo, which later moved to Via Modenella no. 10. In its new location, the business grew, allowing for the sales network to grow further.

 
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1991

 
 

By this time, the Molinari bar was known for having the best espresso coffee, and was a popular meeting place. Though Alberto and Emilio Molinari spent the last several years focusing on selling hot coffee and other beverages from carts with automatic dispensing machines, they agreed to sell this branch of the business in 1991 so that they can focus on coffee roasting instead.

It is in this same year that they began exporting abroad, starting in Greece, then Germany, Belgium, Australia, Russia, and Korea. 

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1993

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Giuseppe Molinari, son of Alberto Molinari, proved himself ready to run the family business. A mechanical engineering graduate, Giuseppe continued the family tradition of curiosity and a drive to improve and crafted new ways to keep the coffee fresh and flavorful, and worked in close contact with the University of Modena to help the area thrive. 

 
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2017

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Caffè Molinari arrives in the United States

The Molinari family has always strived to innovate, and continued to do so as it launched a line of organic, fair trade coffees in biodegradable packaging. These sustainable coffees made it to the United States in 2017, so Americans finally have the chance to join Molinari's premium Italian coffees!

 
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