Jedd Haas didn’t have to think too long about what business he was going to launch in a city as booze-soaked as New Orleans. The owner of the Broadmoor distillery Atelier Vie noticed that there was an imbalance between the amount of liquor being consumed in the city and the amount we were cranking out.
“You may have noticed there’s a small interest in and consumption of alcoholic beverages in this area,” he said in a recent interview with Very Local. “When I got this started there was only one distillery in the entire state. So it was sort of an obvious combination of product and location, in very much an underserved market. We’re known for consumption and preparation of these beverages, why not be known for creating the beverages as well?”
Creating is exactly what Haas set out to do, kickstaring Vie in 2012 and crafting batch after batch of his currently six-spirit-strong line from a space inside Broadmoor’s Art Egg Studios. Since his realization, Haas has bottled two absinthes (a traditional green and a floral red), a high-proof vodka meant to quickly make infusions, a brandy and two award-winning takes on gin.
Haas says he was able to figure out what worked and what didn’t fairly quickly, thanks to the blotto peanut gallery that surrounded his small workshop.
“Because there is such a large quantity of world-class, expert drinkers nearby, you can get some feedback very easily as to how your spirits measure up,” he explained. “A tough audience, if you will, will put you on the track to excellence.”
It’s clear that excellence is what Haas is striving for, even before you take a sip of his excellent barrel-aged Euphrosine #9 gin or his classic absinthe. All you need to know about the goals of Vie is right there in the name, which he claims is a reference to the fact that he’s trying to create art in every batch.
“An atelier is a workshop or studio for fine creative products,” Haas said. “And Vie is a truncation of the term eau de vie, one of the earliest terms for distilled spirits. So, we can translate [Atelier Vie] as “the liquor studio.” If you have a studio, well, what do you create in a studio?”
“If you’re going to create some art in the studio, now you can drink the art,” he added.
And Haas is far from done trying new things. In addition to the already bottled spirits, he’s currently re-launching of rice whiskey crafted with Louisiana-sourced rice from Crowley and experimenting with other new distillations.
“Looking forward to [the rice whiskey] coming out of the barrel maybe in a year or so,” he said. “There’s also a few other things that I’m working on, some in the barrel some not that…suffice to say, I’m very excited about.”