Luxardo was originally founded in Zara. Now the Croatian city of Zadar, Zara was under Austrian rule when Girolamo Luxardo, a gentleman and diplomat from Genova in Italy and his wife Maria Canevari moved there in 1817. Mrs. Canevari began experimenting with liqueurs soon after, attracting the attention of family, friends and serious connoisseurs.
,In 1821, Mr. Luxardo founded a distillery to produce Maraschino, and within eight years the liqueur had attracted the attention and approval of the Emperor of Austria. This auspicious beginning laid the foundation for a long history of quality liqueurs and the Luxardo family brand.
The liqueur factory remained in Zara until the 1940s, when the city was considerably damaged in World War II. The only surviving fourth-generation Luxardo, Giorgio Luxardo, moved to Torreglia, Padova. There he, along with younger Nicolò Luxardo, made a new start for an old brand.
The distillery has remained in Torreglia until the present day, still owned completely by the Luxardo family. Piero Luxardo is now the president of the company and part of the sixth generation of the Luxardo family. Five other family members are part of the enterprise: Filippo, Matteo, Giorgio, Guido and Franco Luxardo.
The distillery also employs about 45 employees, as well as about 100 salespeople throughout Italy. Luxardo continues to create liqueurs, as well as flavoured aromas and preserved fruit. The company is the worldwide market leader in Maraschino cherry liqueur.
Other popular liqueurs include Amaretto and Sambuca. The aromas are created in alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties, perfect for baking, truffles and other confections. Apart from its drinks and syrups, the factory also produces jam and preserved maraschino cherries perfect for cocktails.
Capable of producing 6,000 bottles per hour, the 6,800 m2 factory produced a pre-tax profit of 16 million EUR in 2010. Luxardo itself is very self-sufficient and does most of its work in-house. The distillery has its own laboratory, quality management and automation equipment.
The company even takes pride in being smaller than its competition. “Our business’s compact size allows us to be faster and more flexible, especially in creating new products and bringing them to market,” describes Franco Luxardo. The liqueur manufacturer is also completely independent from outside funding or shareholders.
As an established brand, Luxardo puts its quality above all else. Proud of its own brand, the distillery does not create or sell any private label products. Though the liqueur manufacturer was not always located in present- day Italy, the Luxardo family takes pride in the made in Italy designation of their products.
Luxardo even grows many of its own fruits to use in its liqueurs. The cherries needed for Luxardo’s famous cherry liqueurs and preserved maraschino cherries are produced by 22,000 Luxardo-owned Marasca cherry trees. Alongside the classic, bestselling Maraschino cherry liqueur, Luxardo’s second flagship product is cherry Sangue Morlacco liqueur.
Luxardo is the only company with such a significant cherry orchard in the European Union. Within Italy, Luxardo sells its liqueurs directly to retail chain stores. Outside of Italy, distributors in each country market and sell Luxardo’s liqueurs and other products. About two thirds of Luxardo products are exported.
The most important international markets are the UK, Canada, Japan and the USA. Overall, Luxardo products are sold in about 70 countries worldwide. With such a significant amount of products being exported, Luxardo is careful to manage its reputation worldwide.
Trade shows are perfect opportunities for the company to showcase its wares and interact with a vast array of customers and potential leads. The liqueur manufacturer is looking forward to the world’s leading food fair for retail, the 2011 ANUGA fair in Cologne. Luxardo also appears every year at Vinitaly in Verona and Vinexpo in Bordeaux, among many other fairs.
Luxardo has also had significant international exposure through tasting challenges and competitions around the world. In 2011 alone, seven of the company’s liqueurs have been awarded twelve bronze, silver, or gold medals in various international competitions.
At the 2011 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition, the Amaretto di Saschira won double gold and best liqueur in show and the Triplum Triple Sec Orange also won double gold and best fruit liqueur in show. Other competitions in 2011 included the International Spirits Challenge in London and the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.
Luxardo looks forward to continuing to grow and improve, but this distillery with a long history has a long vision for the future, too. “We will continue to grow, moderately, step by step,” says Franco Luxardo humbly. After seeing so many generations of the Luxardo family improves the family business one step at a time, the current generation would expect nothing less from themselves.