Francesco began distilling as a hobby in his garage in 2010. He hadn’t planned on it becoming a business. After having a neighbor over to enjoy what he had created, his neighbor told him that it was illegal to distill bourbon in his garage. After discovering that his hobby was illegal, Francesco called his lawyer to help him obtain a license to distill bourbon, so he could carry out his grandfather’s dream.
Francesco’s grandfather was a man named Mariano Viola. His dream was for his family to build a business and create a legacy in the United States. Mariano taught Francesco many skills including gardening, making pasta and wine, and distilling brandy and whiskey. In honor of his grandfather, Francesco created recipes for Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that are the foundation of Luca Mariano Distillery. The company is named after Francesco’s son, Luca Mariano, who is named after Francesco’s grandfather.
In 2016, LMD began prospecting for land to house its future distillery while waiting for the bourbon and rye whiskey to come of age. Francesco’s long-term vision is to create a distillery location that is like no other distillery. He envisions a place for family and friends to come and enjoy great music, food, and whiskey. The same way his family does it in Italy.
With the long-term goal in mind, in 2017, LMD found a 553 acre farm in Danville, Kentucky that would give plenty of space for what Francesco envisions. The farm includes a stone house that was built by a man named William Crow, which is the oldest stone house in the State of Kentucky. Although the stone house was left abandoned and in disrepair, LMD plans to restore the house to its original condition. Additional plans for the project include the following: construction of a fully-functioning distillery; a visitor’s center; multiple rickhouses for barrel aging; and, an entertainment pavilion.
At Luca Mariano Distillery, our farm to bottle philosophy starts by using only the highest quality of ingredients. Our supreme bourbon thrives off of many ingredients, including a hard working team of talented individuals, the best distilling location in the heart of Kentucky and grains from local farmers who share the same passion as we do.
Before our barrels are assembled by Independent Stave Co., they age the white oak wood for 18 months. By using the aged wood it produces better flavors for our product. After the barrels are assembled, they char the barrel to a char number four. This extracts flavor from the wood, which then seeps into the bourbon during the maturation process and gives the bourbon its color from the tannic acid in the burnt wood.
All of our products are aged for no less than four years before they see a bottle. To represent the high-quality bourbon that is inside the bottle, we worked with the best designers in the industry to design the branding, bottles and packaging.
We expect only the finest quality of whiskey and nothing else. This is why we feel our product is an experience within itself. It’s a personal experience and an experience that you can share with friends, family and those that you share your time with.
The William Crow House was the first stone house built in the area, when it was built in the 1770’s. Known as the old “Crow Stone House,” it is the oldest stone house in the state of Kentucky and is the oldest free-standing stone home in the State of Kentucky as well. William Crow purchased the land in 1776, but did not begin building the house until after he had returned from the revolutionary war. The house is reportedly the only house in Kentucky established by an original James Harrod pioneer. Over the years as the countylines have changed, the stone house has been located in three different counties: Lincoln; Mercer; and, Boyle.
In 1917, Guy Jones married his wife Linelle who owned a two hundred acre farm outside of Danville. After his marriage, Guy worked the farm with his wife. In 1918, Guy Jr. was born, with a wife, a son and a farm, Guy’s thought about airplanes had to be placed on the back burner. However, in late 1925, Guy had earned some money making moonshine whiskey, and went to a man named Homer Farris to learn how to fly. Guy wanted to learn how to fly so he could carry bonded whiskey in from Canada.
The first thing Guy learned about moonshine was that to make a good “shine” it took talent and care. Guy started with a fifty-gallon barrel of water and added one hundred pounds of crude corn sugar, two pounds of yeast and a light bran. After mixing it together, he let it set and ferment for about eight days in 70-degree temperature. The second phase to the operation was the actual distilling process. During this process, Guy poured the mash into the still and after it boiled and the steam flowed through the copper coil, it would be condensed into a liquid. This liquid was a very strong, clear whiskey. Due to the strength of the whiskey, it had to be cut down to 100 proof by adding distilled water. This process is similar to the process that is used today by Luca Mariano. While the process was simple, it required constant attention. Guy’s attention to detail and meticulous cleaning of his equipment set him apart from other moonshiners. Guy distilled his illegal moonshine, on the now property of the Luca Mariano Distillery, in the silo. The property was also equipped with an underground tunnel system, that is being restored, and a runway to escape from the law.
Francesco decided to take his hobby of distilling whiskey in his garage and create a company where he could share his family’s recipes with the world
Luca Mariano Distillery, LLC (LMD) was established. On December 31st, 2013, Francesco received his federal basic permit licensing him to produce bourbon.
Francesco believes the best bourbon in the world is produced in Kentucky, which is why he partnered with an established distillery in Kentucky. He demanded the use of only the highest quality ingredients to make his product. LMD did a test launch of 60 cases of young whiskey in Nashville, Tennessee. The whiskey was aged in used oak whiskey barrels prior to its release. Francesco was not satisfied with the young whiskey. After the launch, he changed his focus to producing only the highest quality Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Straight Rye Whiskey. LMD was committed to producing only properly aged bourbon and rye whiskey made from the finest grains available.
LMD produced 240 barrels to begin aging. Francesco knew that building the inventory first would provide many benefits to LMD, such as:
LMD produced 240 barrels to begin aging. Francesco knew that building the inventory first would provide many benefits to LMD.
LMD produced 480 barrels to begin aging and secured a 553 acre farm in Danville, Kentucky. The 553 acre farm features the first and oldest stone house in the state of Kentucky, which was built by William Crow.
LMD produced 750 barrels to begin aging.
LMD released the Old Americana Bourbon and Luca Mariano Rye Whiskey. The Old Americana Bourbon features a sweet oak and slight vanilla fragrance. The Luca Mariano Rye features a strong rye flavor accompanied by a variety of other spices. LMD launched in Michigan, Middle Tennessee (Nashville area), and Kentucky. LMD will produce 1,000 barrels to begin aging.
LMD released the limited edition Francesco S. Viola Signature Single Barrel Bourbon and Luca Mariano Single Barrel Bourbon. The Francesco S. Viola Signature Single Barrel Bourbon features a mild cherry and brown sugar nose. The Luca Mariano Single Barrel Bourbon features a strong vanilla and caramel nose.
In April, LMD completes the construction of the Dan Campbell Rickhouse, and migrates thousands of barrels into their new home.
LMD had a limited release of their Gianna Lorèn Single Barrel Rye, featuring a tame slightly fruity and floral nose, with a rich, sweet green apple, brown sugar and chocolate taste.