A Memphian with smiling eyes is already on store shelves. A kid who grew up on Florida Street, makes history in Tennessee, and will now be known to people around the world.
Angelo Lucchesi will be the name of a new line of Jack Daniels!
Lynchburg, Tennessee exports some of the best hospitality and distills the number one selling whiskey in the world, Jack Daniels.
Angelo is a true Memphian but in this town, he's like the mayor of Lynchburg.
Angelo Lucchesi's name appears on the company's theatre for all visitors.
57 years ago the company founder, Lem Motlow, had the bright idea to hire its first salesman.
“I asked him for a job. He didn't much want to do it because he said we don’t have anybody yet. I said make me the first,” said Lucchesi. “You couldn't hardly give it away. Had to beg to get business in Memphis. “
“I went to Kentucky. I went to Chicago. All that,” said Lucchesi.
Angelo Lucchesi is an Italian kid out of Memphis with one arm. He lost the other arm as a boy in a meat grinder accident.
At 33-years old, he was married, happy and very worried about whether the sales gig would work out. But a lucky star fell in his lap. Old blue eyes, singer Frank Sinatra loved Jack.
If Jack Daniels ever had a shortage, they made sure the liquor store he traded with in Palm Springs had five cases every month.
“The phone rings, he says hey Pisano, I love you for the rest of my life. You're my friend from here to eternity. I said Mr. Sinatra,” said Lucchesi.
Back then Jack Daniels was selling 100,000 cases a year which was 57 years ago.
Today they sell, "11 million. Right at 11 million. "
“(Reporter) something happened? (Lucchesi) "People liked it,” as he cracked a smile.
He is a person whose eyes smile when he talks. That's the master distiller number 7. He and the master taster have the authority to sign their name to any item that bears the Jack Daniels’ name.
The only other person with that authority is Angelo Lucchesi. He keeps that signature hand polished at a Memphis nail salon.
He's been busy and has already signed new bottles for the line of Jack Daniels, barreled to bear his name.
5,500 cases are hitting store shelves around the country. A one of a kind honor that left the articulate gentle man speechless in front of the boss.
“I didn't know what to tell him. I figured saying thank you was not enough. He said well give me a hug."
The Jack Daniel's Angelo line is one of a kind. A 90 proof that marries the old and the new.
"It will have the same sweet oaky consistency that people would know from old no. 7 but with a retro proof we haven't produced in 20 years or so," said Jeff Arnett, the master distiller.
"I'm gonna be 90 years old. Whiskey is 90 proof," saidLucchesi.
And like the whiskey, the senior salesman shows no signs of weakness. At Lynchburg legends bar and grill in Memphis, he is legend #3 and Sinatra is #6.
You'll never know the secret to the whiskey but here is what's behind the flavor that makes up Angelo Lucchesi.
“Attitude, how you feel. How you want to make other people feel. Not being a hypocrite about it. On dialysis three days a week. I’m a diabetic, and have neuropathy. That don’t bother me. My health is great. Those are just things that come with me.”
Angelo Lucchesi turns 90 in December. The Angelo bottle sells for about $35 in Spirit stores and look for it to hit E-Bay soon.
It's a collector’s item, signed by the Italian kid who grew up on Florida Street.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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