Dixie Beer Returns to New Orleans

Discussion in 'South' started by Jason, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,163) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    NEW ORLEANS (July 27, 2017) – One of New Orleans’ most iconic brands – Dixie Beer – will be returning home thanks to Tom and Gayle Benson, who announced today the majority purchase of Dixie Brewing Company, LLC. Joseph and Kendra Bruno will continue to contribute their invaluable knowledge, experience and passion for Dixie Beer as minority owners and members of the Board of Managers.

    “We look forward to bringing Dixie Beer back to where it was born. It’s everything a New Orleans beer should be: It is iconic and it is truly New Orleans,” said Tom Benson, Chairman, Dixie Brewing Company, LLC. “Gayle and I could not be more excited. Dixie Beer was lost to time, storms and even economic changes, but it is part of the social fabric of our city, and needs to be back home.”

    Joseph and Kendra owned and operated Dixie Beer since 1985, and despite a number of challenges, were able to preserve the sole remaining traditional New Orleans brewery. “Gayle and I would like to offer our gratitude as New Orleanians to Joseph and Kendra Bruno for the determination, grit and sacrifice they have displayed in keeping Dixie Beer alive,” said Benson. “We are thrilled that they will remain an important part of the Dixie team, and look forward to working with them.”

    The company actively is seeking a site for a bricks-and-mortar brewery in Orleans Parish, with a goal of helping revitalize an area of the city that still hasn’t completely recovered from Hurricane Katrina. Building a brewery in New Orleans and continuing the creation of jobs and economic development are top priorities for Dixie Brewing Company.

    “I have always believed in our city and our history,” said Benson. “As I have built businesses here in New Orleans, I have always cared about growing our economy and raising the awareness of what we are doing here in New Orleans. Dixie Beer is generational. It is part of all of our families in some way and having it back home is very important.”

    While the announcement is right in time for Dixie Beer’s 110th anniversary, Benson’s vision for the brewery is much greater than just a nostalgic homecoming of a historic brand. The new ownership signals a new direction: back to the original 1907 recipe, and back to the founding philosophy of crafting top-quality beers using top-quality ingredients.

    “You could say that Dixie was the original craft beer of New Orleans,” said Benson. At its founding in 1907, Dixie was brewed as a rich lager, made from lightly roasted two-row barley, rice and Cascade hops. In recent years, the recipe was adjusted, but Dixie Beer will return to its original recipe, which he said is of higher quality and better tasting.

    Although until recently Dixie Beer could still be found on retail shelves, it has been brewed and bottled in Wisconsin since Hurricane Katrina destroyed the brewery on Tulane Avenue in Mid-City in 2005. This past June, Dixie moved brewing to Blues City Brewery in Memphis, Tennessee, right up the Mississippi River from its New Orleans birthplace.

    The first production of Dixie Beer will begin appearing at bars and restaurants as well as retail shelves beginning July 26, along with a brand new Dixie Light (only 91.3 calories) and craft beer Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager. Until the New Orleans brewery is up and running, the beer will be brewed in Memphis under the direct stewardship of Brewmaster Kevin Stuart.

    For decades, Dixie Beer was known as the beer of the people of New Orleans, and it enjoyed a market share of more than 30 percent. The Bensons intend to rebuild the brand, adding new products that appeal to a wide spectrum of today’s beer drinkers. Additionally, Dixie Brewing Company, LLC, is committed to working with others to support and grow the local and regional craft brewing industry by creating apprenticeships, educational programs and increased visibility for the craft beer brewing industry in New Orleans.

    “My husband, Joseph, and I have been proud to be caretakers of the Dixie brand since 1985. We have fought for decades to make sure Dixie Beer survived and thrived in New Orleans, and can say it has truly been a labor of love,” said Kendra Bruno. “Over the years we have had countless unsolicited offers from many reputable people and businesses to buy Dixie Beer, but never felt it was the right time or the right fit. When we met with Tom and Gayle Benson, that changed. We know how committed they are to New Orleans and how much they appreciate the importance of Dixie Beer to generations of New Orleanians. Most importantly, we know they will invest the resources and love necessary to bring the brewery home, make great beer and give the community another New Orleans business to be proud of . . . to be part of. We so look forward to being part of Dixie’s rebirth.”

    Dixie, new Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager initially will be available in kegs and 12-ounce longnecks. Dixie and Dixie Light also will be available in 12-ounce cans. Additionally, there will be a variety pack of all three brews in 12-pack bottles where Dixie Beer lovers can sample all three styles.

    Consumers will shortly be able to find it at stores, bars and restaurants around the New Orleans metropolitan area and the Gulf South region. Ken Caldcleugh, a highly respected and knowledgeable member of the beer industry, has been named General Manager. Crescent Crown is Dixie Beer’s distributor in New Orleans, and if you can’t find Dixie fast enough, call them.

    About Dixie Brewing Company, LLC

    Dixie Brewing Company, LLC, distributes Dixie Beer, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager in the Gulf South region. Production currently resides in Memphis while a New Orleans brewing location is secured and developed. Dixie was first introduced in 1907 and became known as the neighborhood beer of New Orleans. For more information, please visit www.dixiebeer.com and follow us (@DixieBrewCo) on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,441) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Wow, that's awesome. I wish them great luck! I've always been a fan of the Voodoo Blackened Lager, and I'd love to see the original Dixie returned to Louisiana. Looks like I'll have to make another trip to the big easy. :slight_smile:
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  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,363) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Talk about being ahead of their time - Dixie Brewing Co. was using Cascade hops over 60 years before they first became commercially available! :wink: (Using all two-row in '07 for a standard US lager is somewhat questionable, too...).

    And, of course, Dixie was pretty famous for using lined cypress aging tanks into the 1980s, as well as doing open fermentation in cypress tanks previously. Processes likely to not be used in the new brewery - so while they might return to an "original recipe"...

    But, good luck to a reborn Louisiana-brewed Dixie Beer. I recall being pretty disappointed in not finding ANY Dixie in NOLA (bottles or draught) when I went in the pre-Katrina-1990s. (I did find a bottle of Dixie Blackened Voodoo in the snack shop of the Oak Alley Plantation - it was probably old but I bought and drank it anyway). Even drove over to the brewery itself but the beer garden they had supposedly opened in the '80s was nowhere to be found and the place looked pretty uninviting.

    Still don't understand why someone doesn't revive Jax Beer - what with all the free promotion in the city via the renovated brewery building on the Mississippi.
    Pabst apparently still owns the trademark (via Pabst former parent co., S&P purchasing Pearl the decade previous to taking over Pabst) and Jax has been mentioned as a possible next revival for them. Into the mid-60s, Jax outsold Dixie in statewide in Louisiana, although the biggest seller in LA at the time was Falstaff (which had a brewery in NOLA), with over 1/3 of the total beer market (1963).
    #3 jesskidden, Jul 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
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  4. Karibourgeois

    Karibourgeois Poo-Bah (1,776) Jul 28, 2013 Texas

    This has perplexed me forever. Hope the Dixie revival turns out good. When there's a buck to be made in NOLa, Benson usually isn't too far behind.
    KentT likes this.
  5. Dandydude

    Dandydude Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2017

    They've gone back to the original formula from 1907....
    It's fantastic.
    Bready, nice lacing, easy drinking....
    Doesn't even slightly resemble the trash they've been previously putting out.
    KentT likes this.
  6. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (370) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I was in NoLa a couple weeks ago. I saw it in the stores, but passed - maybe I should have grabbed a single or 2. Blackened VooDoo was what clued me in there was more to beer than BMC, back before I could legally drink. Just bummed they aren't using the classic label art anymore - that graveyard scene was what caught my eye first.
  7. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (134) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota

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