Brazzale, the noble art of milk has a long history
Among the pastures of the Asiago plateau and the Venetian plain, Giovanni Maria Brazzale, born in 1837, followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather with great passion: milk, the butter collected in the shepherd’s huts, the cheese, trading in the markets on the plains. In the late nineteenth century he moved to Zanè, near Thiene, the Veneto’s cheese market. His business kept on growing, as did his family, and soon his grandchildren came one after the other. After the Great War, the first industrial butter factory was founded and sales spread throughout Italy under the brand name Burro delle Alpi “Alpine Butter”; in the 1940s the Brazzale family was among the founding members of Assolatte and one of the pioneers of Grana Padano PDO. In the 1960s they established the new butter factory and dairy farm in Campodoro (PD). The cream and butter came from their own dairy farms, from all over the Po valley and the Alps and the best European dairies. Producing the milk in-house allowed them to keep abreast of progress in the animal husbandry sector. In the 1970s and 1980s the group developed the brand name Alpilatte for the production of milk, cream and fruit juice in UHT packaging, a revolutionary technology that changed consumer habits. Thanks to the advertising campaigns, the Alpilatte brand name became famous in Italy and abroad and it is still used on the products packaged in Zanè and destined for foreign markets. In 2002, the Brazzale family finalised a merger with the Zuapa family, with its Zogi brand, another prestigious company in the industry, completing its assortment of products with provolone, stretched-curd cheeses and Asiago cheese. The factories and commercial networks were rationalised reducing costs and improving quality.
Meanwhile, north of the Alps, Moravia, with its great agricultural tradition, made its comeback to Europe. This is where Brazzale decided to launch an innovative project: to create new cheeses that express the best of the Italian dairy and animal husbandry traditions of a marvellous region, able to produce superb milk on a par with Italy’s best milks. The result is an ultra modern dairy, which collects milk from dozens of local farms boasting cutting-edge technology, cattle breeds and dimensions. All within an enchanting environment and landscape.
The product assortment offered today by Brazzale basically covers the entire industry. The group produces and packages butter in a wide range of sizes for retail consumers and industries. The flagship brand is “Burro delle Alpi”, with the “Paesanella” specialty. The company also has many “private label” customers, a segment in which the group has extensive expertise and is a national leader.
Grana Padano is produced at its own or affiliated and controlled dairy farms. Milk is provided by over two hundred suppliers with whom the company has extensive collaboration and often long-standing relations. The PDO range includes Asiago Pressato and Provolone Valpadana, produced uphill of Malo, at the foot of the small Dolomites, in addition to a wide variety of stretched-curd and soft cheeses, such as Verena, the latest speciality presented by Brazzale.
Gran Moravia is a very successful commercial product: it is a grating cheese with longer ageing that is appreciated especially by young and traditional consumers alike. Cheese and curd for the dairy industry are custom packaged to meet the needs of the most demanding customers who are seeking the highest possible quality.
The cheese is cut, grated and packaged in Zanè with vacuum and modified atmosphere technologies that ensure high standards of quality, something that the company is renowned for. The group produces high-quality milk and pigs for San Daniele and Parma Ham at its own farm.
We asked some questions to Gian Battista Brazzale, the company’s CEO and member of the seventh generation of the family running the business.
The company has a long history which still represents a brand identity that characterises its business and entrepreneurial decisions. Who is behind these decisions?
Even today, all decisions are still made by the family and it directly coordinates every sector of the company with the support of a number of extremely valuable collaborators who have grown with the company. The company has almost three hundred employees My brothers, Piercristiano and Roberto, and I have the arduous responsibility of improving what we have received, and passing it on. Each generation must interpret its own era for what it is. The legacy of tradition should never hold back entrepreneurial dynamism, but become its driving force.
Apart from the Brazzale brand, the company also markets many other products using a variety of brand names. What is behind this choice?
The care and attention we put in giving a name to any of our own products testifies to our desire to give them a distinct and original identity. We are obsessed with the thought of providing our customers with the best possible blend of quality and affordability in order to perceive their desires. This also involves creating innovative, bold and unconventional combinations. Our own brands such as Gran Moravia and Verena allow us to freely develop processing recipes and a product philosophy in tune with the changing tastes of consumers. It is hence possible to exploit all opportunities offered by innovation and avoid all the costs and burdens that no longer translate into a tangible feature of the product.
The “family brand” is our seal of guarantee, because for a company like ours, nothing is worth more than its name. How important is technology and innovation for the Brazzale Group? For us everything that improves the price-quality ratio and customer perception are vital key factors. Keeping abreast of change should not be viewed as technological exhibitionism, but as everything that is useful to improve products over time. Innovation also means doing even very ancient activities in an innovative way and having the courage to constantly question one’s own choices, with a certain level of humility.