SAZERAC COMPANY OPENS SAZERAC HOUSE IMMERSIVE SPIRITED EXPERIENCE
New homeplace celebrates New Orleans cocktail culture in completely restored historic building; brings first whiskey distillery to downtown New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, LA (October 2, 2019) The Sazerac Company, an American family-owned company based in New Orleans since 1850, today opened the Sazerac House, an immersive, spirited experience exploring the history of New Orleans through its cocktails. The Sazerac House, located at the intersection of Canal and Magazine Street, is just a few hundred yards from the original 1850 Sazerac Coffee House—the site where the Sazerac Cocktail was first introduced and the company was born. Cutting-edge, immersive exhibit technology throughout the experience allows guests to dive into the French Quarter in the 1800s, take a seat at a simulation of the original Sazerac House café tables, chat with virtual New Orleans bartenders about their signature drink recipes and learn how to build drinks from the famous Mr. Boston guide, based on their favorite flavor profiles. The Sazerac House is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm through the end of November 2019, and will then be expanding its hours. Complimentary tickets, available at www.sazerachouse.com, are required for entry.
Inside, guests will learn about the roots of the Sazerac family, which date back to the 1630s in France, explore interactive exhibits about the iconic Sazerac Cocktail, as well as learn about the impact of New Orleans on international cocktail culture. The Sazerac Company worked with a number of archivists to thoroughly research and document all of the information in the exhibits. More than a museum, guests can also take part in the production of Peychaud’s Bitters and Sazerac Rye Whiskey—marking the first time that whiskey has been legally distilled in the New Orleans Central Business District.
“The opening of the Sazerac House gives us a show-stopping homeplace in the heart of New Orleans, in a building with a history that aligns so closely to ours,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Sazerac Company. “The Sazerac House showcases our roots in this remarkable city, our commitment to our guests to create an incredibly memorable experience and our celebration of the Sazerac Cocktail.”
Upon arrival, guests will travel past a three-story-tall bottle wall featuring signature Sazerac brand spirits to elevators that bring them to the third floor, where the self-guided journey begins. Guests will first immerse themselves in New Orleans in the 1800s before traveling to the second floor exhibits which feature modern day cocktail craftsmanship. Finally, visitors will explore whiskey production in the distillery before exiting through the retail store on the first floor. Along the way, guests who are age 21 and over will enjoy sampling stations with a variety of Sazerac products or cocktails, which will vary by day of the week and the season.
Sazerac House Highlights Include:
- Sophisticated Spirits
- Sit down, choose a drink and enjoy a virtual cocktail mixed up by a New Orleans bartender. Four bartenders who represent the city’s diverse cocktail culture share their craft, cocktail history, and personal stories. Watch an expert in action and along the way, learn about important tools, ingredients, spirits, and lore. Visitors leave feeling inspired and empowered to order or make new drinks.
- Café Culture
- Café Culture captures the Sazerac House, c. 1902, one of the city’s top destinations–a place where the who’s who went to cut deals, handle business and discuss politics. Visitors use physical coasters to activate the three stories and touch to expand upon story elements. Guests will meet the Sazerac House’s famous bartenders, enjoy tales of its spirited history, learn methods for making its most famous drinks, and get a taste for some of the celebrations. At the end, visitors can take the coaster as a souvenir, which has a drink recipe printed on the back.
- Magic Mirrors
- Using hidden motion sensors, seemingly regular mirrors magically reveal a series of animated films. Through each of the three mirrors, visitors will see historic advertisements, photographs, and iconic Sazerac products, including Herbsaint, Sazerac de Forge Fils Cognac, and Sazerac Rye Whiskey.
- The Power of the Dash
- Visitors discover that bitters are a versatile product with the power to elevate cocktails and food recipes. They learn what bitters are, how they’re made, and simple pairings for each of the three featured Sazerac products. While learning about bitters as a concept, guests will also be able to view production and bottling of the famous Peychaud’s Bitters.
- Mr. Boston
- Inspired by the Mr. Boston Bartender Guide, this interactive exhibit offers a curated-but-extensive menu of cocktails and a playful mode to find just the right one. Spin the virtual wheel to locate the perfect drink based on favorite flavors and spirits. Visitors can also browse recipes and learn about how drinking has changed since the first Mr. Boston guide was published in the 1930.
- Sazerac Rye Distillery Exhibit
- One of the showstoppers of the Sazerac House is the Distillery Exhibit, which includes a new, custom-built still on the first floor of the Sazerac House. The 60-inch diameter, 500-gallon capacity still, which will produce Sazerac Rye Whiskey, is viewable from two stories through a glass front facing Canal Street, making it a prime attraction in the heart of downtown New Orleans. Sazerac Rye will also be bottled on site and available for sale in the Sazerac House retail shop. A 2,200 gallon thermal energy tank, viewable in the Distillery Exhibit, makes 14,000 pounds of ice at night to cool and condition the distillery equipment during the day.
- Retail Shop
- At the close of their visit, guests will have the opportunity to purchase items from the retail shop, including apparel, bar tools, exclusive gift sets and even the spirits represented at the Sazerac House.
The Sazerac House is a full renovation of two nearly 200-year-old buildings which were previously vacant for more than 30 years. Local historic preservation architects Trapolin-Peer Architects and Ryan Gootee General Contractors led the renovation efforts of the 48,000 square foot space over the course of two years. Throughout the renovation there was a focus on restoring and reusing historic elements of the building, which reduced landfill load by 5300 tons and saved 2.557 metric tons of CO2.
Gallagher Associates, a museum design company known for its work on the National WWII Museum, The Spy Museum, and many other notable attractions designed the exhibits. The New Orleans-based Solomon Group fabricated and installed the exhibits, and provided audio-visual integration.
In addition to exhibit space, the Sazerac House provides state of the art meeting and event space, with a capacity of up to 400 guests. Private events can include tastes of the spirits portfolios of the Sazerac Company with cocktail experts.
The buildings also house Sazerac company offices, which are home to 60 employees, 45 of which are new positions due to the Sazerac House creation.
Sazerac has a history of buying hidden gems and restoring them to their natural beauty. In 1992 the company bought Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, complete with ramshackle buildings, barbed wire fences surrounding the property, and an employee base which had dwindled down to 50 from its thriving post World War II days of 1,000 employees. Today, Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of only 2,600 national historic landmarks in the United States, employing nearly 500 workers, and welcoming more than 250,000 visitors a year who enjoy its lush gardens and picturesque campus.
Sazerac is projecting 200,000 visitors within the Sazerac House’s first year of operation. The purchase price and renovation price is not being disclosed.
About Sazerac House
Standing proudly in a historic building at the corner of Canal and Magazine, and just a short stroll from the original 1850s era Sazerac Coffeehouse, the Sazerac House is an immersive exploration of the spirited culture of New Orleans. Featuring three floors of interactive exhibits across 48,000 square feet, including private event venues, an on-site Sazerac Rye distillery, and Peychaud’s Bitters production facility, the Sazerac House welcomes visitors to experience New Orleans history through the stories of its cocktails. For more information on the Sazerac House, please visit www.sazerachouse.com
About the Sazerac Company
Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in the United States in Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, California, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, India, Australia and Canada. For more information on Sazerac, please visit www.sazerac.com