Family-operated distillery will use local sugarcane to breathe new life into Donaldsonville

The Noels are involved in every step of the process, from field to glass
Updated: Aug. 16, 2019 at 6:25 AM CDT
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DONALDSONVILLE, La. (WAFB) - There’s an exciting new business in the works in Ascension Parish. A new distillery will turn local sugarcane into delicious rum.

The new concept will be big for the City of Donaldsonville, bringing tourists and money into the heart of downtown.

It may not look like much now, but the city’s old power and light building will soon be transformed into the Noel Family Distillery, which will include a tasting room. It’s the brainchild of Chip Noel and his daughter, Natalie.

The father-daughter duo will be tapping their hometown’s sweetest crop: sugarcane.

“Every time I’d pass the sugar refinery during the grinding season, I would think, ‘Why don’t we make rum here?’” Chip said.

The distillery will launch a line of unique liquors made with freshly pressed cane juice. Gin, vodka, and their signature rhum agricole will all be on the menu at Noel Family Distillery.

The Noel family is involved in every step of the process, from the field to the glass. Cousin Spike will harvest the cane.

“It gives us another outlet as a sugar grower to have something for our product,” Spike said.

The distillery will help breathe new life into Donaldsonville. The Noels hope to partner with other area attractions to maximize their impact on the local tourism industry.

“Investment breeds more investment, confidence, trust in the economy, so if we can contribute to that, we’re really looking forward to it,” Natalie said.

With most of their funding secured, the Noels are reaching out to the community to get them over the top. A crowdfunding campaign gives people the chance to be a permanent part of the distillery.

“We’ll have a huge wall where everyone who’s contributed, they’ll have their name there for as long as this building stands, so we’re really excited about that, to just invite people into what we’re doing," Natalie said.

It’s a true family operation using the fruits of their community to grow a new legacy.

“It makes me very proud. I mean, I’ve been here my whole life. I was born and raised here, so yeah, it means a lot," Chip said.

The projected opening date is January 2020.

Help support the beginnings of the Noel Family Distillery through their crowdfunding campaign on

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