New Orleans is on the cusp of a craft distilling boom. The New Orleans Advocate reports that several up-and-coming distilleries are slated to launch this year thanks to a bill passed by state legislature allowing for restaurant-distillery operations. Within the next several months Lula, Bootleg Spirits, and NOLA Distilling Co. all expect to begin producing their first batches of booze. Here's a primer on each of the forthcoming projects:
— Lula: One of this year's most anticipated developments, Lula is positioned as New Orleans' first restaurant and microdistillery. Chef/owner Jess Bourgeois and partner Bear Caffery are behind the project, which is expected to debut this fall in the former Halpern's Furniture Store. Diners can expect a Louisiana "country"-style menu with Boudin, rabbit, and quail as well as a selection of gluten-free spirits (rum, vodka, and gin) made with local sugarcane. In terms of design, the 10,000-square-foot venue will feature patio seating, a long bar, and a glass wall looking directly into the distilling area.
— NOLA Distilling Co.: First announced last April, NOLA Distilling Co. is a project by the developers of NOLA Brewing and will operate just a few blocks from the brewery on Tchoupitoulas Street in the former Marlene's Eight Ball space. The 8,000-square-foot facility will produce Louisiana-sourced sweet potato vodka starting this summer alongside gin and whiskey. Expect a tasting room to open on site this fall.
— Bootleg Spirits: This massive, multi-million dollar operation is prepping for national distribution. The 24,000-square-foot facility is expected to produce around 150,000 cases of vodka per year and will eventually add whiskey to its repertoire.