Gallatin’s Newest Employer Is SO Italian

What's the best way to sell shoes designed for hunters and outdoorsmen? If you're a nearly 500-year old Italian firearms manufacturer, the answer seems to be draping them over the shoulders of shirtless male models during a runway show. Credit: Beretta via YouTube

What’s the best way to sell shoes designed for hunters and outdoorsmen? If you’re a nearly 500-year old Italian firearms manufacturer, the answer seems to be draping them over the shoulders of shirtless male models during a runway show. Credit: Beretta via YouTube

When Beretta opens its Gallatin, Tennessee factory, that facility will be devoted to straightforward firearms manufacturing. Even so, a quick look at the nearly 500-year old company’s broader operations shows a certain continental style to doing business.

That Beretta-owned vineyard  Lo Sparviere was founded in the 16th century and is still in operation. A second estate was added in the 19th century, and Beretta obtained a third vineyard just a decade ago. Image: beretta.com

That Beretta-owned vineyard Lo Sparviere was founded in the 16th century and is still in operation. A second estate was added in the 19th century, and Beretta obtained a third vineyard just a decade ago. Image: beretta.com

The Italian gunmaker’s bread and butter has always been guns. The first documented order was from the Arsenal of Venice; in 1526 the city bought 185 barrels for long guns similar to muskets, called arquebus.

Wineries, Diamond-Encrusted Pistols

Not long after, the Beretta family branched out into the business of making wine and now owns three wineries, in Lombardy, Tuscany, and Abruzzo.

Of course, any family that’s run the same kind of business for 16 generations is bound to have picked up a few choice industry keepsakes from time to time. For Beretta, that’s the 900 or so historic firearms they keep in a private museum.

Beretta’s mainstay products are rugged weapons for military, law enforcement and hunting, but the company also produces a line of products as stylish as they are powerful, like diamond-encrusted handguns.

And Fashion Shows

Beretta seems to be the only gunmaker to hold an annual fashion show. And much like any Fashion Week event in New York, Paris or Milan, models parade down a runway to the sound of pounding music, showing off the company’s latest designs for clothing and accessories.

There’s camo gear, quail-hunting togs and–in the long tradition of fashion shows featuring visible undergarments, the latest includes a man and woman who come out in long underwear–Beretta brand, of course, intended for those cold-weather hunts.

Tags:
Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.