Sazerac has operations in Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, California, New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia and Montreal and produces a wide range of offerings in whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cognac, cocktails, cordials, liqueurs, “shooters” and other categories. The names of Goldring’s more recognizable labels roll easily off his tongue … the wildly popular Fireball, Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s Bitters, George T. Stagg, W. L. Weller, Old Charter, Pappy Van Winkle and Buffalo Trace among them. Among the distilleries owned by Sazerac,it is the Buffalo Trace Distillery that whiskey writers from across the globe consider to be the best in the world, consistently recognized for its outstanding quality and innovation, and as such garnering world wide media attention. In 2013 Buffalo Trace Distillery was named a National Historic Landmark, one of only 2,500 designations in the United States. The attention is well deserved, and something Goldring has never taken for granted. “You can’t just go out and open a distillery, as it takes a long aging process to make a good bourbon,” explains Goldring.“We are aging whiskey anywhere from three to 23 years, and there are dozens of formulas in the process. I am constantly looking for improvement in the product lines, never settling for anything less. Sometimes I believe it’s tough to create anything better than what we have, but we’re going to continue to work at it.” It’s that Holy Grail thing again … Today, labels from Goldring’s deep portfolio are the top-selling brands in their categories in Rouses Markets across the South. But the greatest benefit to the retail history with Rouses Markets rests well beyond the well-stocked liquor shelves. Fast Friends While products from Goldring’s holdings have sold at Rouses Markets for generations, the two had never crossed until they met at an event both were attending. As Donald Rouse recalls,“Everybody was dressed immaculately except for me and this one other guy, both of us in our traditional, more casual clothes. And we just sort of gravitated toward one another and introduced ourselves.” “Kindred spirits is how I describe us,” says Goldring, the two businessmen sitting at opposite ends of a sofa in an office above the Rouses Market on Baronne Street in New Orleans’Warehouse District on a rainy afternoon.
Southern Comfort The story goes that Southern Comfort, aka SoCo, was created in 1874 by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron at McCauley’s Tavern in the lower Garden District of New Orleans. Heron took harsh, unrefined whiskeys and mixed them with his own blend of spices and fruits. He initially called his new peach-apricot whiskey Cuffs & Buttons. The name was changed to Southern Comfort in 1885 for the World’s Industrial & Cotton Exposition in New Orleans where it was touted as “The Grand Old Drink of the South.” SoCo went on to win gold medals at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900 and again at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. The iconic Southern Comfort label depicting Woodland Plantation in West Point á la Hache debuted in 1934.
“My father had recently passed away, and meeting Bill and gaining him as a trusted friend filled a void for me at a time when I needed it. All these years later, being able to pick up the phone and pick his brain on things is something I greatly appreciate. Bill has been an extraordinary presence because of his knowledge and his experiences.” It was around the same time when Rouse was looking to expand his retail operations to include a location in downtown New Orleans, and he set his sights on acquiring the old Sewell Cadillac building on
Baronne Street. But there were a few last minute hurdles Rouse was having difficulty navigating with regard to licensing and permitting. “One phone call to Bill and he helped us get across the finish line and land the location, just as we were on the brink of losing the opportunity, and I’ll always value that support,” said Rouse. The market opened in November 2011 and has since garnered national attention. The Baronne Street location, it is fair to say, has spurred the burgeoning growth of the city’s business district.
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