KINGSTON — With a big smile and a Southern drawl, Angelo Lucchesi fits right in as the face of one of the biggest whiskey producers in America.
Over the last 60 years, Lucchesi, 92, of Memphis, has traveled all over the world, first as a salesman, then as an ambassador for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
This week, Lucchesi made a rare stop in New Hampshire and visited with longtime friend Don Jean of Kingston.
“He’s our company treasure,” said Jean, who is an off-premise manager for the company. “He is a true legend of our business.”
Lucchesi was hired by the distillery in 1953 as its first salesman from outside the family that owned it.
Lucchesi was a friend of the four sons of Lem Motlow, master distiller and nephew of the original Jack Daniel. The legendary Daniel, who became a distiller at age 13, was childless and gave the business to Motlow when he became ill in the early 1900s.
Lucchesi is credited with helping Jack Daniel’s take off outside Tennessee and eventually become a brand known around the world.
“When I started, we sold roughly about 155,000 cases per year,” Lucchesi said. “We couldn’t give it away. Now we sell tens of millions of cases.”
Lucchesi’s role grew along with the company, until he was named its ambassador in 1998. He still does appearances for Jack Daniel’s and conducts tastings.
His continuing tour brought him to New Hampshire this week. He stopped in Hampton at a bar to sign whiskey bottles and even went to Concord to meet with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.
Along the way, Lucchesi shows off his favorite collectible: A limited edition commemorative bottle dedicated to him in 2010 when he turned 90.
The label reads: “Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Brand proudly honors Angelo Lucchesi on his ninetieth birthday.” The label on the back gives his history with the company.