Licor Beirão

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Licor Beirão is a Portuguese liqueur with 22% ABV. Its recipe is a trade secret; producer J. Carranca Redondo, Lda. It is made from a double distillation of seeds and herbs from all over the world, including Malaysia, Brazil, and Thailand. Licor Beirão is a typical liquor from Portugal, particularly from the Beira region.

Its production began in the 19th century, in the village of Lousã, based on several plants - including eucalyptus, cinnamon, alecrime and lavender - and aromatic seeds, undergoing a double distillation process. The product thus obtained has a transparent, sweet-tasting topaz shade.

It is usually consumed as a digestive, simple or with ice.

Origin of the name[edit]

Beirão is a Portuguese adjective meaning "from Beira", the name of a former province in Portugal, currently contained within the country's Centro region.

History[edit]

The liqueur was produced in the 19th century as a medicinal product for stomach aches by a pharmacy in Lousã. In the late 19th century alcoholic beverages were no longer qualified as medicinal but the liqueur was kept in production in a small factory owned by the son-in-law of the original producer. In 1929 the liqueur entered a contest on the 2nd Beirão Congress where it earned a gold medal and its name of Beirão. In 1940 the factory was bought by José Carranca Redondo (1921-2005). In the 1960s Redondo drove Beirão to a nationwide success. He understood the importance of advertising - he used to say that "after laying an egg, the hen clucks" – so he launched the first Portuguese advertising campaign using billboards.

Advertising[edit]

These first billboards, picturing a simple sign-board with "Licor Beirão, the liqueur of Portugal" on a country landscape, became an icon of Portuguese advertising.

A later billboard, picturing an American style majorette, wearing very short and tight red T-shirt and breeches, and showing her belly, had to be withdrawn because it was not well accepted due to the girl's lack of clothes.

A punch line used by then, O Beirão de que todos gostam (port. The one from Beira which everybody loves), had a subtle reference to António de Oliveira Salazar, "the one from Beira which not everybody loves", the leader of Portuguese authoritarian New State. Allegedly Salazar knew of this even before it was out on the streets and just smiled at its audacity.[citation needed]

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