Dixie Beer was once a proud name down south. But it’s had a tumultuous and unfortunate history that the opening of a new destination brewery in New Orleans hopes to change…
Founded in New Orleans in 1907, Dixie Beer’s fortunes have waxed and waned over the years.
It not only survived Prohibition but came back strong, and in the 1950’s Dixie Beer was an industry leader, not only in New Orleans where it commanded almost 30 percent of the city’s local beer market, but throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
That success suffered a near fatal blow in the 1970’s due to a bad batch of beer, which made its way throughout the city, that had been tainted with chemicals fumes from cleaning supplies.
After that unfortunate incident Dixie Beer struggled to rebuild its reputation and regain its once solid economic base in the south. But ownership changes and competition with national heavyweights such as Pabst, Miller and Budweiser over the decade proved challenging…And then came Hurricane Katrina.
When Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 monster made landfall in Louisiana in August 2005, the floods put an end to Dixie’s Tulane Avenue brewery, leaving the company homeless after the government expropriated the building as part of the new VA Hospital.
With no functioning brewery in New Orleans, owners Joseph and Kendra Bruno moved Dixie Beer’s production to contract brewing operation in Wisconsin until June 2017 when the beer’s production was moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
In 2017 Saints owner Tom Benson purchased Dixie Brewing along with his wife Gayle and not only restored the beer to its original formula but promised to bring the brewery back to New Orleans.
After Tom Benson’s passing, Gayle Benson announced plans for a 30-million dollar 80,000-square-foot brewery and visitors center in New Orleans East with a brewing capacity 72,000 barrels a year.
New Orleans used to be the brewing capital of the south and Dixie Beer ruled that empire. And although we don’t have an official opening date for Dixie Beer’s new home, it’s nearing.
The brewery has already begun hiring staff to help restore Dixie Beer to its previous glory.
H/T to Nola Brew Bus for its background on Dixie Beer’s history