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Local Distillers Run Afoul of City Planning Commission

Earlier this year, two new distilleries announced plans to start making booze in New Orleans, but now it looks like both Soc Au Lait and Atelier Vie have encountered a pretty serious roadblock. And that roadblock's name is the City Planning Commission.

According to the Times-Pic's drinks writer Todd Price, Soc Au Lait, which plans to market a vodka called Voodoo Vodka, met resistance from a nearby church that "felt the distillery would not bring the appropriate kinds of jobs to the neighborhood and that the name Voodoo Vodka was insensitive." The City Planning Commission delayed making a decision on Soc Au Lait until mid-December.

Atelier Vie, meanwhile, should have had an easier road to approval since it's located in an industrial area by Broad Street. But because of some pretty wonkish issues, the absinthe distillery didn't get enough votes for a formal recommendation from the Commission. So its request heads to the City Council without that rec.

If they ever get approved, Soc Au Lait and Atelier Vie would join Old New Orleans Rum as the only distilleries in the City of New Orleans. But we'll see if and when that actually happens. It really should be easier to open a business here.

· New Distilleries Face Hurdles in the Zoning Process [TP]