Jedd Haas opened Atelier Vie in New Orleans back in June 2012 after noting that the city has always had a great interest in alcohol but very little was actually made here. Haas, the president of the company, had been apprenticed to an electrician and always had interest in manufacturing, and connected with Skylar Rosenbloom after Todd Price from NOLA.com suggested they meet. Along they way, Brennan Steele came to them through Craigslist and marketer and sales person extraordinaire Amelia Walch contacted the group after tasting their products and falling in love with them, to see if they needed her help. (Spoiler alert: they did.)
Most of the distillery, found in the Art Egg building under the South Broad overpass in Broadmoor, was built by the four of them from scrap metal and used pieces (like their still), and they have, over the past two-plus years, put out six different spirits.
They started with Toulouse Red, their absinthe with a hibiscus addition that creates the red color and gives it a subtle floral note and Buck 25 Vodka; followed by Toulouse Green, a more traditional absinthe style, and Riz rice whiskey. Their much tinkered-with Euphrosine Gin #9 came out almost a year ago, and just a couple weeks ago, they released their barrel-aged Riz Whiskey.
Rosenbloom and Haas point to the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)'s decision in 2007 that repealed the ban on wormwood and absinthe, as well as the Louisiana state law change in 2012 that permitted them to sell directly to the consumer at their distillery, as important legal decisions that allowed them to open Atelier Vie.
One of Atelier Vie's missions is to include Louisiana ingredients in their products. They distributed wormwood seeds to local farms, and use those crops to make both absinthe products; the rice whiskey uses 100% Louisiana rice, and reflects the grain's importance in local culture here; and the gin's signature herbal note is courtesy of another often used, culinarily significant ingredient, the bay leaf.
Atelier Vie also collaborates with local bars to create recipes and mutually promote one another. Twelve Mile Limit has a cocktail on their menu called the Inverted Vespa that utilizes both the Toulouse Red and the Buck 25 Vodka, and Mick's makes a damn fine gin and tonic with the Euphrosine Gin #9. Recipes using Atelier Vie products, which also spotlight the bars that created them, can be found on their website.
Behold, a look inside the tiny distillery where the magic happens.