New Orleans Spirit
Seven Three Distilling Co. takes its name and inspiration from the city’s 73 neighborhoods, and works to celebrate and support each one.
If you want to send a spirit to a friend or family member that can’t get here right now because of the pandemic, then we’ve got a spirit for you…and hand sanitizer. – Tristan Johnson, General Manager of Seven Three Distilling Co.
Seven Three Distilling Co.’s spirits bear names like St. Roch, Irish Channel and Gentilly, and sport eye-catching labels evoking Prohibition-era New Orleans or an old-timey apothecary bottle — or both. The distillery, located in the Tulane Gravier neighborhood, capitalizes on local history with maps and vintage imagery dominating the design and décor. The approximately 13,780-square-foot warehouse includes a tasting room, gift shop and production facility. Owners Sal and Eileen Bivalacqua worked with Albert Architecture and Logan Killen Interiors to achieve their vision for the space.
General Manager Tristan Johnson said the team understands that while the operation creates, grows and expands, relying on New Orleans for inspiration brings with it a responsibility to the city and its inhabitants.
“We are named after the neighborhoods of New Orleans,” said Johnson. “We’d be hypocrites if we didn’t give back.”
In the past, the company has opened the space to community events and donated products to organizations to support their fundraising efforts. More recently, however, it meant joining other distilleries and breweries around the country in getting into the hand sanitizer game.
“We were able to pivot into that, produce a lot of [hand sanitizer] quickly and give a lot to the community,” said Johnson. “We currently give it to any teacher that wants to come in. We aim to take on every donation that we can. It’s so important.”
While production of hand sanitizer added another avenue of revenue and philanthropy, it didn’t deter the company from its primary goals.
“At the core, we are here to produce spirits and to put them into distribution, and that includes the greater New Orleans area, Louisiana, and, of course, our goal is to expand,” said Johnson. “We want to offer a little bit of something for everyone, whatever your home bar might need. If you want to send a spirit to a friend or family member that can’t get here right now because of the pandemic, then we’ve got a spirit for you…and hand sanitizer.”
Tours and tastings, albeit on a smaller and much more cautionary scale, resumed in November when pandemic restrictions were slightly rolled back. The distillery was designed with the public in mind and some of its most distinct design elements were created not only to share the “how to” of distilling, but also to showcase the distinct lay of the land in the Crescent City along with its storied history.
“It’s hard to talk about a distillery and not talk about the still,” said Johnson. “We have a very unique still and it does create that Willy Wonka effect. When you walk in from the tasting room you are right in front of that still. You are seeing behind the curtain. We have a very impactful copper bar in our tasting room. It’s big. It has impact, and it works so well for larger events. It just leaves an impression. Opposite that bar is a full map of New Orleans, [which makes it] so easy for the tourist traffic coming in, [because] it’s of course a city that it’s difficult to wrap your head around if you’ve never been here. When you see the map, it’s easy to see where the names on the bottles come from, Gentilly, Irish Channel [and] the whole concept of Seven Three.”
Johnson said he and his counterpart, Head Distiller Erik Morningstar, collaborate to create a positive and fun work atmosphere that promotes creativity and collaboration and relies on the various personalities and skillsets of each staff member. In 2021, the company’s goals are to continue to slowly increase distribution into markets outside of New Orleans and expand their online sales presence. Despite this eye on outside markets, Seven Three remains rooted in its sense of place.
“Seven Three distilling has built its name, its identity, around the 73 neighborhoods of New Orleans,” said Johnson. “We are here for the New Orleans community. We want to be the local spirit of New Orleans.”
At a Glance
Seven Three Distilling Co.
301 N. Claiborne Ave.
Date of opening
Logan Killen Interiors
Furnishings and Art
Art – Map graphics by Tilt Design Firm out of BR (also designed the distillery’s labels and website graphics; Photos – Sourced from State Museum of Louisiana (Storyville photos and other bar-related imagery); Various custom pieces made by Logan Killen.
Number of Employees
Person in Charge
Owners, Sal and Eileen Bivalacqua