Patrick Brady wants to change the way people think about shopping for wine and spirits in New Orleans.
Opening in January 2015, Brady is fusing together his background in business with the wine expertise of General Manager Richard Ellis to create Brady's Wine Warehouse (1029 Oretha Castle Haley, Suite C), a next-generation bottle shop that is as easily accessible for first-time wine buyers as those who know their way around a glass of pinot noir.
"We really want to make people feel comfortable, and put them in touch with the best wine for their needs," said Brady. "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. We want to build that relationship. If you don't like a wine we suggested? We want to know. It would be our dream to help someone pick out their very first bottle of wine."
The spirits and beer program will be headed up by Patrick Hunter, who hopes to help educate New Orleanians about the importance of fresh beer.
"The thing about craft beer, and specifically hoppy styles, is that they are meant to be consumed as fresh as possible," said Hunter. "People are focusing too much on having a wide range of product, but the beer is sitting on the shelf for way too long and not hitting the customer's glass at its peak."
On the spirits front, the city's cocktail scene will drive selection. "We want to have cocktail-focused ingredients [in our spirits section]. 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. If anything is on the menu at a popular cocktail bar, we want to carry the ingredients. We also will have an expansive sherry section."
The cavernous space (which is large enough to stock 90,000 bottles) is shaping up to be a place to shop and learn in equal measure. A 14-top tasting table will allow visitors to drink and dive deeper into wine and spirits in a social environment. "We want people to gather around and drink and have fun while they're learning. We're thinking about doing some historical classes - French history in New Orleans with French wines, Spanish history with Spanish wines."
Education will factor in as a key component at Brady's. A massive mural explaining the intricacies of wine flavor, color and texture takes up an entire wall of the shop, and will prove to be a resource for bashful customers. "We would never want anyone to feel embarrassed to ask a question about anything. I feel like there are some stores that you have to have taken a course just to shop there. We want to help everyone learn what they like," said Brady.
The attitude at Brady's is undoubtedly playful, with quippy tongue-in-cheek sayings peppered throughout the store, from "We've got full-bodied knockouts, and you can take them home," to "Size doesn't matter, but we carry magnums." A speaker system will allow customers to choose their own music while they shop. Eventually, Brady wants to install a vintage video game machine (Mario Kart or Mortal Kombat are the current front runners) in the store.
"At the end of the day, [wine] is just fermented grape juice," said Brady. "We don't want anyone to lose sight of that."
Ellis quickly cut in, "But we still want to take care of that person who wants a $1,000 bottle!"