WHITESTONE RESIDENT OPENS NEW
CRAFT DISTILLERY ON LONG ISLAND
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Whitestone resident Leucio Lacobelli
has fulfilled his dream of establishing
a craft distillery on Long Island
serving local beer, wine and spirits.
This summer, Lacobelli and his
business partner, Thomas Joyce,
opened Montauk Craft Distillery Co. in
the former Riverhead Fire Department
station located at 24 E. 2nd St. Suite B.,
next to the North Fork Brewing Company.
According to Lacobelli, opening a
distillery in Long Island wasn’t their
first choice, until a fellow Whitestone
resident informed them about the historic
decommissioned firehouse that
he had purchased from the town of
“He asked if we were interested in
checking it out and after finishing our
cocktail, we drove out to Riverhead and
that spawned the idea of making it our
location,” said Lacobelli, who works in
the financial services industry.
Lacobelli and Joyce renovated the
3,000-square-foot space, which is divided
into two parts: the tasting room and
the distillery. The tasting room is located
in the front with a large bar, TVs
and tables that lead to a garage door
with outdoor seating. All the products
— gin, bourbon, whiskey and brandy
— are made in-house at the distillery
from local ingredients.
The duo came up with the idea in
2013 to open a distillery given their
love for “booze and entertaining people,”
“Building a distillery is no easy task
— not only for the mind but for the wallet,”
Lacobelli said. “Tom and I shared
a lot of meetings together — playing
around with recipes and thoughts and
labels to produce. We saw a growth potential
with the wineries and breweries,
and now with distilling.”
Lacobelli and Joyce had signed a
lease agreement a year prior to the grand
opening of the distillery in August.
“We’re now in the forefront and
one of three craft distilleries in Long
Island,” Lacobelli said. “Opening a
distillery wasn’t a matter of creating
a quick buck but to create a destination.”
The distillery is the label of Black
Sail Aged Rum, Sunburn Cinnamon
Rum, Bellamy Spiced Rum 71st Regiment
Gin, MODICO Vodka and Tunney
“We went from producing a onecrafted
beverage and now have a lineup
of something unique,” Lacobelli said.
“It’s all crafted in New York — the corn,
grapes and apples are sourced here for
our vodka, and the wheat, corn and rye
The Montauk Distilling Co. in Riverhead serves a variety of local beer, wine and spirits. Photos courtesy of Leucio Lacobelli
for our bourbon.”
The distillery promotes localism
and has established relationships with
wineries and breweries serving their
products, Lacobelli said.
For Joyce, who resides in Connecticut
and visits the site at least two or
three times a month, the success of the
distillery is a remarkable feeling of
excitement with a dose of accomplishment.
“To see it evolve and drive forward
it almost created some momentum
on its own, so to be able to open up a
tasting room it was wildly exciting to
see our vision come to fruition,” Joyce
According to Joyce, the Montauk
Distilling Co. is descriptive of the lifestyle
that they want their product to
embody, which is being outdoors and
having fun with friends and family.
“We want to capture the spirit of
Montauk in everything we do,” Joyce
The Montauk Distilling Co. is open
Thursday through Saturday from noon
to 8 p.m. and Sunday and Monday from
noon to 8 p.m. It’s closed Tuesday and
Wednesday. To make a reservation,
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed
by e-mail at cmohamed@schnepsmedia.
com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.
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TIMESLEDGER | QNS.2 COM | OCT. 23-OCT. 29, 2020