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Brioschi is an Italian company founded in 1907 as Achille Brioschi & C. to "produce and make commerce of chemicals, liquors and similars"; in 1914 the society was quoted on the Milan stock exchange. In the 1970s Brioschi was transformed into an investment company and today’s Brioschi Sviluppo Immobiliare is a real estate contractor, no longer bearing any relationship to the epoch-making "cachet Brioschi" which was once its staple product. Its offshoot, the American company Brioschi Pharmaceuticals, LLC, continues to market the effervescent antacid however, and asserts that the same formula has been used since 1880.
The company’s origins date back to 1880 when Achille Antonio Brioschi (1860–1942), who had served as an apprentice at various manufacturers of chemical-pharmaceutical products and eau de Colognes, began the small-scale production of the so-called effervescente Brioschi: a powder which, when dissolved in water, produced a refreshing drink. It was not a medicine, nor was it marketed as one, although the idea for it derived from effervescent products based on magnesium citrate which had originated in the UK. The business grew and the product found various export markets of which the first was Brazil. Subsidiaries were established in the United States (1894) and in the Swiss Canton Ticino (1897), and in 1907 the business was transformed into the company Achille Brioschi & C. The popular, analgesic cachet Brioschi, based on the kalmine of Paul Métadier of Tours, was introduced in 1911; other product lines included Lysoform-based disinfectants, the Johann Maria Farina eau de Cologne, and anti-malarial drugs. In 1914 the company was quoted on the Milan stock exchange.
Brioschi is an antacid which uses sodium bicarbonate and tartaric acid as its active agents. It is known for the distinctive blue bottle in which it comes and the fizzing action it exhibits when used. The Brioschi pellets themselves come in several small pale, natural lemon/tan colored rods, which are put in cool water to effervesce which is then drunk to relieve the ache of heartburn. It appears to have an "Alka-Seltzer like" reaction when placed in water, but does not contain aspirin.
The narrator of Umberto Eco's novel The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana describes the use of Effervescente Brioschi—two distinct powders are used—to transform ordinary tap water into a home-made mineral water which reminds him of Vichy Water.