Opened in 2011 by President Jedd Haas, Atelier Vie is a New Orleans-based distillery producing two kinds of absinthe, Toulouse Red and Toulouse Green, RIZ Louisiana Rice Whiskey, Buck 25 Vodka, and Euphrosine Gin #9. Their Euphrosine Gin earned a gold medal — Best of Category for Contemporary Rectified Gin, their rice whiskey earned a bronze medal in clear whiskies, and Toulouse Green and Red absinthes garnered gold and silver medal respectively in the absinthe category in ADI’s 8th Annual Judging of Craft American Spirits ( As his distillery gains awards, he draws attention to New Orleans micro distilling scene.

In his own words, Jedd tells us about how he got into craft distilling, what he has done to grow his company and brand, and why specific spirits were chosen for production at Atelier Vie. As an artist and musician, Jedd eloquently states: “Liquor is art you can drink.”

Tell us a bit about how Atelier Vie began.

There’s a tremendous interest in and consumption of alcoholic beverages here in New Orleans. But most of the spirits consumed here are made out of town. It seemed like an obvious combination of product and location. Atelier Vie was founded to provide a greater variety of indigenous spirits to New Orleans and the wider world.

What path led you to distilling and spirits?

I was apprenticed into manufacturing at an early age, and gained an appreciation for the possibilities of mass production. As an artist and musician, I’m deeply involved in creating new work. Liquor is art you can drink.

I first looked into distilling in the late 1990s, but at that time, the expense and red tape seemed too daunting. Around 2010, I started seeing articles about small distilleries popping up across the country, so I thought that perhaps the possibility of starting a distillery had improved. The more I looked into it, the more I liked the idea. I started the company at the beginning of 2011.

As the startup got underway, people began contacting me, wanting to be a part of it. Several partners have been added and now we’re a working team of four. We built much of the distillery and some of our equipment ourselves, taking a “do it yourself” approach to all aspects of the distillery.

What led you to produce absinthe, gin, and rice whiskey? 

There’s a lengthy history of absinthe in New Orleans. Beginning in the late 1800s, French manufacturers began sending absinthe to New Orleans and it took hold here. Local manufacturers sprang up as well and there were enough to form a New Orleans absinthe manufacturer’s association. After the unjustified absinthe ban of 1912, absinthe production in New Orleans ended. One hundred years later, we released our first absinthe, Toulouse Red, fittingly, on Prohibition Repeal day, Dec. 5th, 2012.

A red absinthe is perhaps something of a novelty; we call it our “new school” American absinthe. As a counterpart, we modeled our green absinthe, Toulouse Green on traditional recipes from the 1800s. Is there such a thing as “absinthe terroir”? We provided wormwood seeds to local farmers, and receive ongoing harvests. This locally grown herb has made a key difference in the spirit.

Rice was the reason I wanted to start distilling. Years ago, I’d heard of “rice whiskey” being made in Asia. Rice is a signature crop of Louisiana, so was an obvious resource for making a Louisiana style whiskey. So far, we’ve only released unaged bottlings of Riz, but an initial experimental barrel is aging now. Riz is made from 100% Louisiana rice.

Among the partners at Atelier Vie are a couple gin aficionados. So by popular demand, a gin was born. It was brought into this world along a long and winding path involving much discussion and sensory evaluation of different formulas. I’ve been cooking since I was very young, so my experience with flavor helped find a balanced recipe. Some gins have what I call a “hit you over the head” quality; our goal with Euphrosine Gin #9 was an alluring combination of flavors coming together in ways that are both subtle and profound.

How do you get your products into cocktail bars — and how many states are you currently available in?

The sales side of the distilling business is certainly the biggest challenge. Louisiana is a strict 3-tier state, with no self-distribution allowed. So we work alongside the distributor, selling our product into local accounts. New Orleans is fiercely local, so our local distilled spirits have generated some strong response amongst the locavores. Making a product that satisfies picky local chefs and bartenders has lead to local bars and restaurants creating signature cocktails with our spirits.

Besides Louisiana, we’re also in Arkansas, Illinois, and Washington DC.

How have you grown your brand?

Hands-on sales work is the only reliable method. We visit with retail accounts, conduct tastings, participate in charity events, and keep the local media informed of our accomplishments. We also encourage visits during our weekend bottle sales hours.

What advice would you give to other distillers looking to get their spirits into bars?

Visit with bartenders and find out what they like and what they’d like to have available to them. Get your spirits in front of decision-makers. Some bartenders are very creative and will come up with their own drink using your spirits. Others will want you to supply recipes. Either way, your goal is to find a way for your brand to be on call at the bar. Repeated use leads to repeat orders.

What craft/small batch spirits (either something you’re working on or a spirit you’ve tasted) are exciting you most right now?

Currently, we’re working on a number of new product ideas; and also barrel-aging some of our current spirits. These experiments are all at the earlier stages, so I can’t be too specific. Perhaps the most exciting thing in the current climate is that the same kind of creativity is going on all over the country. Real products are being crafted, as opposed to the big-liquor strategy of contract brands in a pretty bottle. Good taste is increasing and spirits drinkers are becoming keenly aware of the great possibilities for new spirits.

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Founding The Perfect Spot in 2007 sharing top recommends globally in food and drink, Virginia Miller is W. North America Academy Chair for The World's 50 Best Restaurants, regular columnist at The Bold Italic and Medium, Distiller Magazine, American Whiskey Magazine, Whisky Magazine, VOICES,, Gin Magazine, etc. She held roles as Zagat SF/NorCal editor, SF Guardian restaurant critic, Table8 National Editor/VP of Content. Published in over 60 international publications, she’s covered global dining, travel, spirits, cocktails, hotels and bars with regular columns at Time Out, Where Traveler, Google’s Touringbird, Food Republic, Thrillist, Travelux, to name a few. She wrote The Official Emily in Paris Cocktail Book. Virginia consults in dining, spirits, cocktails and drink. She co-created Avion’s Reserva Cristalino tequila with Pernod Ricard’s House of Tequila innovation, marketing and distilling teams and is now working multiple agave spirits projects in Mexico over recent years, including cutting edge innovation products and blends for different clients. She consults for multiple distilleries on short-term projects, whether evaluating and providing feedback on samples or products or multiple versions. She helps create various samples and flavor profiles with distilling teams or in labs, edits or writes tasting notes, provides feedback on marketing materials and leads tastings virtually or in-person. She leads tastings virtually for Whiskies of the World and for company parties or private events, educating on a range of spirits. Virginia creates drink menus for Michelin-starred restaurants (like Dominique Crenn’s Golden Poppy in Paris, a multi-month project creating an entire menu of cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails with stories and photos for the restaurant’s launch). She aids in honing and curating food and drink menus and provides feedback on dishes and drinks. Virginia judges in many international dining, food, spirits, cocktails and bars competitions and awards (including SF World Spirits, ADI Craft Distilling, Tales of the Cocktail, Good Food Awards, IWSC in London, Nola Spirits Comp, Whiskies of the World, etc.) and has visited over 13,000 restaurants and even more. top bars around the world.