Happy Raptor Distilling is thrilled to announce that it will begin production of its signature line of craft spirits—504 Rum—this fall in New Orleans. Once the site of a graffiti-covered storage facility, the distillery’s location at 1512 Robert C. Blakes Sr. Drive (a two-block stretch of Carondelet Street) is nestled in a high-traffic but often overlooked area. Proudly playing a role in the revitalization of this neighborhood, the distillery will feature a 2,000 square-foot production space and tasting room with an adjacent back patio.
Started by three friends and former next-door neighbors (including a professional mental health counselor, a public relations specialist and a mechanical engineer working with NASA), Happy Raptor Distilling specializes in infused rums made in the Caribbean tradition. The inaugural products, 504 Hibiscus and 504 Bananas Foster, are a light-hearted, unique twist on spiced rum. Each rum is hand-crafted with a variety of spices, botanicals and citrus, infused over time in a premium white rum. Whole ingredients such as hibiscus petals, as well as bananas and limes dehydrated by hand, make these products stand out with the familiar and beloved smells and flavors of Louisiana and the Caribbean.
In coordination with the first annual Louisiana Craft Spirits Week, a statewide celebration taking place through Sept. 9, New Orleans’ newest craft distillery has launched a crowdfunding campaign. Happy Raptor invites the community to participate by supporting some important final touches, such as the purchase of essential equipment, development of a tasting room experience, and related beautification projects to benefit the space and the neighborhood.
“We are excited to give the community an opportunity to get involved before our doors even open. Supporters of the campaign will have access to special perks that can only be found there, and some never again since we’re gearing up for a grand opening,” said co-founder and head distiller Mark Taliancich. “There has been a good deal of excitement around this project and we are so grateful for the support.”
The crowdfunding campaign includes such unique items as vouchers for signed, commemorative bottles from the inaugural batches of 504 Hibiscus and 504 Bananas Foster, invitations to a special grand opening party, and a “golden” Mardi Gras wristband that provides access to the distillery for all 10 operating days of the festivities. Located only one block off St. Charles Avenue, the distillery will offer impressive discounts to wristband holders and a sneak preview tasting of 504 Bananas Foster before it hits the market.
The revitalized space will feature highlights such as a custom-built copper still and a mural by local artist Hill Landry. The Happy Raptor team plans to begin production at the end of September and will open for private events shortly thereafter. They expect to celebrate a ribbon cutting and open the tasting room for limited hours in January. Exact dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
“There’s no better time to launch this campaign than Craft Spirits Week,” said co-founder and chief brand officer Meagen Moreland-Taliancich. “Louisiana craft distilling is a celebration of local ingredients and hand-made spirits developed with consideration and care. Especially in New Orleans, if we’re going to drink, let’s drink local!”
Louisiana Craft Spirits Week is a state recognized week commending and promoting the growing craft distilling industry throughout Louisiana and was made possible through the efforts of the Louisiana Distiller’s Guild.