Fernet-Branca Coin Challenge

Fernet-Branca Coin Challenge image 1

A token of bartender friendship and community around the world, the Fernet-Branca coin is a rare collectable. Just showing that you own one of these bartender coins is like a knock on the door of a members club. And your design for the 2024 UK Fernet-Branca coin could win you £250 in gift vouchers, on top of the accolade of seeing your coin go into production.

So how do the coins work, and what do they mean?

When visiting a bar, the owner of a Fernet-Branca coin may present it and if the bartender also happens to have a coin and presents theirs, the two share a 'bartender handshake' (each drinking a shot of Fernet-Branca) to celebrate their fraternity.

You could be minted!

Well, your coin could be! The Fernet-Branca Coin Design Challenge is open for entries!

Calling all UK bartenders - showcase your creativity and enter your design for the 2024 Fernet-Branca coin, inspired by what the industry means to you.

Skip to Enter below

The coin's story

Fernet-Branca has always been an advocate for bartenders and is considered a bartenders' brand, particularly in San Francisco where it has long been a tradition for bartenders to have a shot of Fernet-Branca at the changeover between shifts as duties passed from one bartender to another.

This tradition merged with the American tradition of the military challenge coin, which started in WWI when a wealthy lieutenant had bronze medallions made for each member of his squadron. When one of his pilots was shot down, captured, and all his identification taken, the only thing he was left with was his medallion, which he used to convince allies of his true nationality, therefore saving him. Each squadron member was required to always keep their medallion with them, and to ensure this happened, a drinking game was invented. If a member were asked to show their medallion and didn't have it on them, they would have to buy a drink for their challenger. If they did have it, the challenger had to buy them a drink.

The coin challenge was embraced by bartenders in San Francisco, with the first official Fernet-Branca coin being minted in 2013 as a physical symbol of the 'bartender's handshake'.

The coin challenge spread, with bartenders world over recognising the Fernet-Branca coin and understanding its significance and purpose. The coins have become a desirable collectable, known and regarded.

A symbol of the friendship between bartenders and the creativity at the heart of the hospitality industry, each rare, limited-edition coin tells a story and showcases a different city, design and culture. But they all have a tradition and a 'secret' ritual in common, a ritual shared by members of the bartending fraternity.

Coins cannot be purchased; they can only be gifted or exchanged. Through this competition, Fernet-Branca aims to bring together the hospitality industry, fostering collaboration.


The entry period is open from 5th February and closes on 1st March 2024. The challenge is open to UK residents, working within the UK hospitality industry.

To enter, you should submit your coin design, inspired by the question 'What does the industry mean to you?', via the Fernet-Branca Coin Challenge website

  • Five finalists will be announced, and their designs shared online for public voting. The winner will be the design with the highest number of votes.

The winner will be announced and not only have their design feature on the new UK Fernet-Branca 2024 coin but will also receive a £250 gift voucher, a limited edition coin and Fernet-Branca merch. Each of the four runners-up will receive a £100 gift card, a limited edition coin and Fernet-Branca merch.

The new coins will be released later in the year, but just like all the previous rare and limited-edition coins, they cannot be purchased and can only be acquired if you are lucky enough to be gifted one.

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