13 years after Katrina, Dixie Beer returning to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A warehouse in eastern New Orleans will be the new home of Dixie Beer, a nostalgia-evoking New Orleans brand that has been brewed out of state in the nearly 13 years since Hurricane Katrina laid waste to its landmark brewery near the city’s business district.
Dixie was established in 1907, survived prohibition and remained a New Orleans commercial icon over the decades despite financial troubles, a “bad batch” that damaged the brand in 1975 and the levee failures and flooding that followed Katrina in 2005.
It was brewed in Wisconsin, and, later Memphis after the storm. Previous owners Joe and Kendra Bruno were never able to fully revive the brand and restore the old brewery. But Dixie has enjoyed a resurgence in the city since Saints and Pelicans owners Tom and Gayle Benson purchased majority ownership of the Dixie Brewing Company last year.
Gayle Benson said at a Tuesday news conference that it was the goal of her husband, who died in March, to bring new business to New Orleans along with the return of a familiar brand.
“We are thrilled to be announcing this development here in New Orleans East, as we renovate a building no longer in commerce and turn it into a center of vibrant economic development,” she said in a news release.
In addition to the brewery, Dixie plans to establish a brewpub and will hold tours of the site. It was touted as a $30 million investment.
Dixie’s old brewery on Tulane Avenue is gone. Part of it, including its distinctive metal dome, was incorporated into a new medical complex.