People

Luxardo: Family-Owned, Internationally Treasured

Matteo Luxardo posing
For nearly 200 years, Luxardo has been owned and operated by the Luxardo family, who originally founded the company back in 1821.

While it may be a small brand, Luxardo has an international reputation. The Italian company has gained a massive following around the globe for its classic Maraschino liqueur, and has since gone on to expand its product lineup to include a wider variety of fruit and herbal aperitifs. For almost 200 years, Luxardo has remained under the ownership of a single family; here, the current company head, Matteo Luxardo, discusses how his family-owned brand has achieved its tremendous level of popularity.

What was the initial inspiration behind your product’s creation? Was there a specific “eureka” moment?

The company was founded in 1821. The founder, Girolamo Luxardo, had the idea from his wife who was producing a Rosolio Maraschino at their home. He modified the recipe and started production.

What are the three most challenging aspects of starting your own brand?

I was lucky because I was born into the Luxardo company; however, it is still challenging:

  1. Working with your family is not always easy
  2. Keeping it moving: we are 196 years old, but we need to look forward and create new things
  3. Keeping the quality of the products as high as we can

How did you first learn about Tales?

I have been attending Tales since 2004. My former importer told me that there were good opportunities for Luxardo to be seen by a large amount of bartenders. He also told me that this event was called Tales of the Cocktail, and here I am after so many years, and I'm still loving it.

Kindly describe your first Tales experience and what it meant to you?

The first Tales I attended was in 2004. It was small — only at the Monteleone — and there were a lot of passionate guys that were calling themselves "mixologists" with a lot of tattoos. It was the first time I was in contact with bartenders for almost an entire day. I learned so much from these people, and still do.

Why did you choose Tales as a platform for promoting your product?

Since the beginning, Tales was considered the place to be if you wanted to connect with the bartender community, so we started our great experience at Tales.

White Negroni Luxardo's new Bitter Bianco is made for bartenders intrigued by the white Negroni craze.

How do you think that smaller brands can compete against bigger ones for mindshare at Tales?

We are a bit of an exception: we are a small company, but we have a long history. We are the example of how a small brand can survive with the big ones and still be respected. You need to be unique, you need to have a story to tell, and you cannot fear mistakes.

What are your product’s signature cocktails?

Martinez, The Last Word, The Aviation, Hemingway Daiquiri, and the Havana Special.

What is your marketing mix, e.g., advertising, PR, consumer events, bartender relations, etc.?

Being a small company while selling in more than 80 countries means the budget is limited. We do our best to promote the brand during my travels around the world; putting a face behind the bottle is the best way to promote your products. People love to see someone from the family, and, more specifically, they love to see that you made time to go and visit them.

In your overall marketing mix, how prominent is Tales?

Very important.

What is your company’s approach to bartender relations?

The core of our investments now focuses on bartenders. As I said before, we invest time and money in teaching our bartender friends how to use Luxardo and what Luxardo is.

How important a platform is Tales for reaching bartenders with new products?

Tales is a great way to start promoting old and new products; in the case of the Bitter Bianco, it was almost essential to launch the product with Tales, and that paid off. Thank you, Tales.

Ann Tuennerman Founder of Tales of the Cocktail, Ann Tuennerman is a serial entrepreneur focused on hospitality.

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