Gallagher & Associates recently partnered with the Sazerac Company to reimagine the Sazerac House in New Orleans. Housed in a historic building at the bustling corner of Magazine and Canal - just a short distance from the original 1850s-era Sazerac Coffee House - the new Sazerac House museum is a 20,000-square-foot multi-sensorial journey into the spirited culture of New Orleans.
The design studio created an experience that redefines what a brand, a drink, and a distillery can do when married with a historic city, a spirited culture, and an intoxicating story. "The Sazerac House is designed to tell the story of New Orleans' distinctive history and heritage through the lens of its illustrious cocktail scene," explained Sazerac General Manager, Miguel Solorzano.
This new category-defining experience breaks all the rules of a traditional museum, a branded experience, and a retail establishment. It's a true multi-sensory journey into the story of craft cocktail culture and a celebration of the city where it all began. Visitors to Sazerac House can see, smell, and taste their way through the experience, tracing the roots of the Sazerac story back to the Sazerac family's origins in France and to the turn-of-the-century French Quarter where the Haitian-Apothecarian, Antoine Peychaud, invented bitters-paving the way to America's first cocktail.
"The Sazerac House reveals the little-known story of the company's New Orleans origins while celebrating the local cocktail culture and the art of craft distilling," commented Rob Malootian, G&A's Project Creative Director. "This hybrid experience uniquely merges historic architecture, interactive media, immersive storytelling, and distillery production to create something completely new for the city. We could not be more proud to contribute to the cultural landscape of New Orleans."
Upon entry, visitors find themselves where Sazerac began. G&A artfully integrates the story into architecture, using soundscapes and two-dimensional projection mapping to recreate the experience of traveling from NOLA's bustling port by trolley car. Lightwells become the trolley car's windows, illustrating the busy streets and storefronts, as visitors move through the French Quarter to their final destination: a bar, naturally!
The physical design of the experience is meant to celebrate all things Sazerac. The charred wood and barrel lids are evocative of the wooden barrels used to age whiskey. Botanical graphics give a nod to the ingredients that are used to create bitters. Intricate tile and metalwork give a nod to those old New Orleans bars where our favorite cocktails were created. The exhibits transport visitors to places where ingredients are harvested, liquor is created, and drinks are served.
The Cafe Culture interactive captures the Sazerac Coffee House circa 1902, where tourists and the city's who's who went to cut deals, order the best cocktails, and admire master mixologists at work. Visitors activate stories by moving three-dimensional coasters around the table. Here, visitors can meet the Sazerac House's most famous bartender, enjoy tales of its spirited history, examine the method of making its signature drink; it's a magical experience that gives people a taste of the celebrations once had. In the end, the coaster, complete with a recipe on the back, becomes a souvenir to take home.
Photos: Courtesy of Gallagher & Associates