Patrick Brady and general manager Richard Ellis are opening Brady's Wine Warehouse (1029 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., Suite C, 504-662-1488: www.bradyswinewarehouse.com) this month.
"We really want to make people feel comfortable and put them in touch with the best wine for their needs," Brady says. "We want to remember our customers' names, what they like to eat when they're drinking their wine, and if for some reason they don't like certain foods or flavors."
Patrick Hunter will be in charge of spirits and beer.
"The thing about craft beer, and specifically hoppy styles, is that they are meant to be consumed as fresh as possible," Hunter says. "People are focusing too much on having a wide range of products, but the beer is sitting on the shelf for way too long and not hitting the customer's glass at its peak."
The spirits selection will include many items common on current craft cocktail menus. "We want to have cocktail-focused ingredients," Hunter says. "We'll have a pretty large collection of vermouth and amaro. People are always sitting at cocktail bars and asking, 'What is that? Where can I buy that?' We want to make sure the answer is us."
The large space (with room to stock 90,000 bottles) will feature a 14-seat tasting table to allow visitors to drink and dive deeper into wine and spirits. "We want people to gather around and drink and have fun while they're learning," Brady says. "We're thinking about doing some historical classes — French history in New Orleans with French wines, Spanish history with Spanish wines."
Large-scale graphics covering one wall explain the intricacies of wine flavor, color and texture and will help bashful customers. "We would never want anyone to feel embarrassed to ask a question about anything," Brady says. "We want to help everyone learn what they like."