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Associated Press file photo -- Kirk Coco, founder and president of NOLA Brewing Co., is seeking a live-entertainment permit to expand beyond hosting periodic special music events at the brewery..

The president and founder of microbrewery NOLA Brewing Co. plans to launch a craft distillery this year, initially making vodka, gin and white whiskey.

The distillery has been incorporated as New Orleans Libations and Alcohol Distilling Co. LLC.

NOLA Distilling will begin operations as soon as permitting has been finalized, which could be as early as October.

Kirk Coco, president and founder of New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing Co., announced plans to launch the craft distillery.

“New Orleans is known as the birthplace of the cocktail,” said Coco, “yet is only home to a handful of craft spirit distillers. We want to change that. We want to make hand-crafted, high-quality spirits in New Orleans for New Orleans.”

Joining NOLA Distilling as chief operating officer is Andy Kutcher, a New Orleans native with a background in digital marketing. Kutcher was director of social media at FSC Interactive, a digital agency. Kutcher also led NOLA Brewing’s marketing efforts from 2009-2012.

David Bock, formerly with Celebration Distillation, will join the company as head distiller.

Bock said details of the distilleries planned vodka, gin and white whiskey products are still being worked out and tested.

“We don’t want to release something that isn’t the absolute best,” Bock said. “We are aiming to create premiere products for consumption.”

Founded in 2008 by Coco and Peter Caddoo, NOLA Brewing makes a variety of lagers and ales. The company has won acclaim for its beers, which include Mecha, Irish Channel Stout, Hopitoulas and NOLA Brown Ale. NOLA beer is sold on draft and in cans at bars, restaurants and stores across south Louisiana, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

While craft brewing gained in popularity during the 2000s, craft distilleries are becoming more popular in recent years. The Louisiana Legislature passed a law several years ago that allowed small local distilleries to offer tours and provide tastings of their spirits, a move that has helped companies such as Louisiana Spirits Distillery LLC, which makes Bayou Rum from sugar cane at a plant in Lacassine.