We hear a lot about mindfulness these days. Mindfulness is, basically, not taking things for granted but instead being consciously aware of what is going on in the present moment.

It’s unlikely that serious practitioners of mindfulness have a protocol for walking into a bar. But, hey, this is New Orleans.

When you walk into a bar you might unconsciously be asking yourself, “What am I going to drink?” A more mindful approach might be to let your gaze fall on the bottles behind the bar. And perhaps notice a particular bottle. Say, one with a bright blue wax seal, and a label that says, “River Basin Distillery.” And you might find yourself asking, “Who are the people who make this rye whiskey?” Then, noting that all the bottles in here are made of glass, your next mindful moment might be to wonder, “How do you make glass?”

Well, your mindfulness is paying off. These are the very questions Peter Ricchiuti’s guests are answering on this edition of Out to Lunch.

Elliott Wiener, co-founder of River Basin Distillery

Elliott Wiener, co-founder of River Basin Distillery

The answer to question number one is Elliott Wiener. Elliott is co-founder of New Orleans rye whiskey company, River Basin Distillery.

And so, to question number 2, How do you make glass? Peter puts that question to Jean Blair.

Jean Blair, founder of New Orleans Glassworks

Jean Blair, founder of New Orleans Glassworks

Jean is the founder of New Orleans Glassworks, on Magazine Street, near the World War 2 Museum. Glass artists make and sell glass creations there. And you can also sign up for classes at New Orleans Glassworks and learn to blow glass yourself.

When we talk about “the economy” we typically like to divide things into neat categories. Among those categories are “manufacturing,” “tourism,” “hospitality,” and “fine arts.” But when we’re talking about manufacturing whiskey and high-end pieces of glass works, that are all purchased by tourists and locals, and can be found in bars and restaurants, those categories are blurred in a way that’s unique to our New Orleans’ economy. Jean and Elliott are both contributing to all kinds of categories of the local economy.

Peter Ricchiuti, Jean Blair and Elliot Weiner, Out to Lunch at NOLA Pizza

Peter Ricchiuti, Jean Blair and Elliott Wiener, Out to Lunch at NOLA Pizza

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. Photos by Jill Lafleur. And check out more lunchtime conversation about making beer and homemade wine.