Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sazerac Buys New Orleans Buildings to Create New 'Sazerac House' Attraction

The Sazerac Company, based in New Orleans since 1850, has purchased two buildings on the corner of Canal and Magazine Street, adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel, a few hundred yards from the original 1850 Sazerac Coffee House site.

The company plans to rehabilitate the nearly 200 year-old buildings into The Sazerac House visitor attraction and beverage alcohol museum. Guests will learn about the history of the iconic Sazerac Cocktail and many other original New Orleans brands while exploring the unique role New Orleans has played in the bourbon and rum industries, and in American cocktail culture. The buildings will include a gift shop and Sazerac company offices, with a projection of 60 employees eventually working there.

The two buildings, vacant for more than 30 years, date back to the mid-1800s and contain rich architectural details including wood floors, high ceilings, oversized windows, and ornate support columns throughout. As many of the original design elements as possible will be kept as the buildings undergo renovation. “We simply could not be happier than to have the opportunity to restore such beautiful buildings to their former glory, in a perfect location, so close to the original site of the Sazerac Coffee House that will act as our future New Orleans homeplace,” commented Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Sazerac Company. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to preserve our roots, while at the same time explore opportunities to introduce our visitors to new product releases that have a special tie to New Orleans.”

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, employs nearly 500 workers, and welcomes 165,000 visitors a year who enjoy its lush restored gardens and picturesque campus.

New Orleans historic preservation architects Trapolin-Peer and Ryan Gootee General Contractors have been selected to renovate the structures and plans are being finalized. Sazerac expects the building to be complete by late 2018. Upon completion, Sazerac projects 100,000 visitors in its first year of operation. The purchase price is not being disclosed.


Sam Komlenic said...

My hat is off to Sazerac on so many more than just this one level. Their stewardship and improvement of the Frankfort Distillery is impressive in its own right, including the recent discovery and preservation of those old fermenting tubs they uncovered there.

Add to that the Single Oak Project and Warehouse X, and you have evidence of a company that is completely committed to tradition and quality improvement for the long haul.

I am also grateful for their stewardship of their customers, refusing to price the Antique Collection of of the reach of the average drinker's budget and keeping a 10-year age statement on the still sub-$30 Eagle Rare.

Thank you, Sazerac, and Happy Holidays to all!

Anonymous said...

And their distilleries have got the best tours in the business. On a trip through Kentucky and Tennessee last spring, when we hit all but the Lawrenceburg distilleries, the tours with tasting at Barton in Bardstown and Buffalo Trace in Frankfort were by far the best. No fee, extremely knowledgeable industry old-timers as guides, and none of the Disney-esque circus at some other places with well-known names. Just the steam-punky charme of old-fashioned distilleries that make great whiskey. Great company.

Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

I'm hoping you'll post about Sazerac's purchase of Popcorn Sutton. The move from Dickel to Sutton, by two master distillers, never did make much sense to me---until I heard this news.