Gabriel Amatller starts producing chocolate
At the beginning of 1797 Gabriel Amatller established his chocolate workshop at the heart of old Barcelona, not far from the towers of the gothic cathedral Santa Maria del Mar. His artisan chocolates soon became popular amongst the wealthy families at the near Argenteria Street and the Born and Ribera quarters. His ability and determination to excel in the chocolate trade made his small workshop prosper, and soon he acquired his first stone grinder. Soon Chocolate Amatller was already distributed to several cities in Catalonia. Over the time his two sons Antoni and Domingo Amatller expanded the business importing and trading goods from overseas such as tea and coffee, which ensured the best supply of cocoa, sugar and vanilla, key ingredients in chocolate.Invoice for the selling of cocoa from Caracas to Gabriel Amatller in 1799.Invoice for the selling of cinnamon for chocolate making to Gabriel Amatller in 1797.First house and chocolate workshop of the Amatller family. Manresa street 6, Barcelona.
Second Amatller generation
Antoni Amatller takes the reins
In 1878 Antoni Amatller i Costa, grandson of the founder, was 36 years old when he stepped up front to lead the family’s chocolate business. The company’s name Amatller Hermanos gave way to that of Antonio Amatller. Antoni did then an inspiring trip around Europe visiting the most important chocolate factories of the time, before he designed and built a new factory in the new thriving industrial district of St. Martí de Provençals, best known today as the Poblenou quarter in Barcelona. The factory was equipped with the most modern machinery of the time, coming from Germany and France. The latest technical advances, such as the refining machine and the conche boosted Chocolate Amatller quality and led the brand to a path towards leadership in Spain at the end of the 19th century.Antoni Amatller i Costa (1851-1910), chocolate businessman. The third generation of the family leading Chocolate Amatller.Chocolate Amatller factory, built in 1878 in the industrial area of Sant Partí de Provençals. Built by the architect Pere Bassegoda.Commercial letter to a customer of the Antonio Amatller society in 1887.
Amatller and art
First advertising posters
Antoni Amatller was a man of a restless entrepreneurial spirit, with also a significant cultural upbringing. He would follow closely the artistic trends of the time and funded the work of several artists in the Modernist Barcelona. He was an art collector and patron. His knowledge of the art of the moment, along with a great commercial vision, led him to advertise the Chocolate Amatller through posters and collectible cards made by great artists such as Alphonse Mucha, Apel·les Mestres, Alexandre de Riquer, which undoubtedly contributed to the prestige of the brand during the decades before and after the turn of the century.Poster “Réverie” made by the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha used by Chocolate Amatller in 1900 to celebrate its centenary.Decoration can and coloured print based on a children's chocolate party, gift from Chocolate Amatller.Picture of the Casa Amatller, at Passeig de Gràcia nº 41, Barcelona. Developed by Antoni Puig i Cadafalch, between 1898 and 1900.
The arrival of Teresa Amatller
A new chocolate brand in the making: Luna
After the death of Antoni Amatller in 1910, his daughter Teresa Amatller continued the family business under the company name Hija de A. Amatller, although the executive management was entrusted to a professional external to the family. Father and daughter had been very close, and also shared the love of art. Soon the new chocolate brand LUNA was created, and to launch it to the market, Teresa called one of the most important poster contests held in Spain, with unprecedented success. As much as 600 posters participated. It was the year 1914.Picture of the inside of the Fine Art Palace in Barcelona. Room showing the 600 contestants for the advertising poster competition organised by Chocolate Amatller in 1914.Advertising poster of Luna, a brand of Chocolate Amatller.Advertising poster of Chocolate Amatller made by Rafael de Penagos and 4th prize winner of the competition organised by the brand in 1914.
Cocoa from all over the world
The Amatller factory produced in 1915 approximately 11,000 kilos of chocolate a day, sourcing cocoas from several origins, such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador (Guayaquil), the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea and Ceylon. The factory had two ice machines that would manufacture 4,000 kilos of ice per hour. Up to 150 employees would work at the factory in different sections: The cocoa and other raw materials store, the roasting room, the cocoa mill, the mixing and refining room, the blender and molding machine, the wrapping machine, the refrigeration chamber, and the lithographic and typographical section, that would print their own envelopes and promotional materials.Cocoa toasting room. The machinery was activated by a central steam system that drove the movement energy through the whole factory thanks to a busbar system hung on the ceiling.Engraving of the Amatller factory in 1915.Amatller factory in 1914. Cocoa warehouse.
World War impact
Growth led by Teresa Amatller
During the First World War, the Spanish chocolate industry experienced an activity increase due to difficulties in Europe’s chocolate supply; After the war, though, the increase in the cost of raw materials complicated the general situation. Within this context, Teresa Amatller assumed the executive management of the company, which was then renamed Chocolates Amatller S.A. The change of direction turned out to be positive and the needs for chocolate production were growing every year, leading to successive expansions of the Barcelona factory. In 1924 a new Amatller factory was inaugurated in Banyoles (Girona), with modern facilities, which reinforced the brand's leadership.Wrapping Old wrapping for Amatller Chocolate Milk. “150 grams 1.25 pesetas”Chocolate Amatller factory in Banyoles (Girona) in 1929.
A decade of innovation
Introduction of advertisement photography
In the 30s Chocolate Amatller was one of the favourite brands in Spanish homes. During this decade, Amatller was very innovative for the time in communication strategies, and pioneered in the use of photography in advertising, which gave the brand a new image of modernity.Chocolate Amatller advertisement in the magazine "D’Ací i d’allà". Autumn 1934.Chocolate Amatller advertising photography shot by Josep Sala Tarragó in 1930. Josep Sala studied painting in the Llotja School. He was a member of the Photography Group of Catalunya and FAD, Catalan Association for Art and Design Promotion. From 1931 he started collaborating with the magazine "D'Ací i d'Allà", ambassador of modern photography. Professional photographer for brands such as Roca Jewelers, Myrurgia or Chocolate Amatller, all of his work shows a groundbreaking character. He managed to combine commercial efficiency, beauty, and sensuality, and also make poetry out of each product.Chocolate Amatller ad in Barcelona Grafica magazine, in 1930.
Adapting to times
"Today as yesterday, Chocolate Amatller"
At the end of the 50s, Chocolate Amatller launches one of its most remembered slogans “Hoy como ayer, Chocolate Amatller” which translates as "Today as yesterday, Chocolate Amatller". The brand was already well known throughout Spain and knew how to modernize its communication according to the times. During these years, leading chocolate brands would launch collectable card albums, which were very much appreciated by children as they were a main source of entertainment and education. Particularly successful was album Nº1, which contained the latest technological advances of humanity.Chocolate Amatller ad in ABD magazine in 1959. The slogan "Today like Yesterday Chocolates Amatller” is one of the most remembered slogans of the brand.Coloured print album “Album nº1”. One of the most popular albums of the brand, in 1950.
Life after Teresa Amatller
The Coll family buys Chocolate Amatller
Teresa Amatller died in 1960 without offspring. She had established in her will that Chocolate Amatller would be set to find a new owner ensuring the brand’s continuity. After a period of sale of the business assets of Chocolate Amatller S.A., in 1972 the brand was acquired by the Coll family, owners of Simón Coll Chocolates, a bean-to-bar family-owned chocolate company since 1840, who since then have given continuity to this leading brand. One of Amatller’s most iconic products, the bright green-labeled Chocolate a la Taza drinking chocolate bar, has been uninterruptedly present in the market still until today.
Change in consumption
Shifting to a more gourmet consumption
Around the 2000s, the chocolate market was gradually becoming more and more interesting for food lovers, as chocolate’s value proposition was evolving towards more elaborate formulations, finer cocoas, and innovative packaging. It was the perfect time for Chocolate Amatller to be part of this, and in 2007 the brand launched a new range of products aimed at fine chocolate oriented consumers. Thanks to the Coll family’s chocolate making know-how, some new and innovative formulations were created, and new packaging was designed. Unlike other brands with no past, Chocolate Amatller had in 2007 an outstanding heritage: a beautiful history linked with the evolution of Barcelona as a city, and an amazing archive of old advertising art. The newly designed range would reveal this captivating Amatller’s past.Die-cut coloured print with flower motives, Chocolate Amatller advert. It is currently present in some of the chocolates tin cans of the brand.Advertising poster made by Alphonse Mucha, edited for the brand Amatller in 1901. Currently present in some wrapping and tin cans of the brand.
Casa Amatller opens its doors
Visit to the Amatller family home
Casa Amatller, located in Passeig de Gràcia 41, Barcelona, opens the doors to the visitors in 2014. What once had been Antoni and Teresa Amatller’s home, a stunning masterpiece of the architect Puig i Cadafalch, is today thoroughly restored. The visit inside Casa Amatller focuses on the main floor of the house (the Principal), where the Amatller’s lived. On the ground floor, visitors will find a pleasant surprise, as they can taste a louscious Chocolate a la Taza Amatller served in the traditional cup and plate used for drinking chocolate in the ancient Spain, named Mancerina. In the same ground floor of Casa Amatller, Chocolate Amatller store offers the brand’s complete range of products.Casa Amatller. Built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, finished in 1900. Home to the Amatller family up until Teresa Amatller's death, in 1960. It is in Passeig de Gracia 41, Barcelona.Inside the Amatller House Museum one can find the coffe place-fresh bar Faborit, where you will be able to taste the delicious Amatller drinking chocolate served in the traditional "xicra" and "mancerina", made current.Detail of the Amatller store inside the Amatller House Museum in Barcelona.