The project will likely open sometime in 2020.
As long-time beer drinkers can tell you, regional beer brands existed well before “craft beer” took America by storm over the past few decades. These brands were a lot fewer and much farther between than regional brewers are today, but they still elicited plenty of local support. For example, Pennsylvania has loved its Yuengling since 1829; Texas has been home to Shiner for nearly 110 years; and since 1907, Louisiana has been the land of Dixie. However, unlike the previous two, sadly, the iconic Dixie Beer has faced a rockier road: In 2005, New Orleans’ Dixie brewery shut down in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the brand has been brewed out-of-state ever since. But now, Dixie Beer is coming home.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson, who acquired the Dixie brand with her late husband last year, along with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other city leaders, announced yesterday that a new Dixie brewery would be built on a vacant industrial site at 3501 Jourdan Road in the city’s New Orleans East area. The $30 million plan—which will turn the 14-acre property into a brewery, taproom, and recreational space—is expected to take around 18 months to two years to complete. Once open, the brewery hopes to churn out a relatively modest 1,000 barrels of beer each month of products like Dixie, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager.
Saints President Dennis Lauscha said that eventually the facility hopes to offer things like tours and tastings, as well as community programs such as outdoor concerts, working to help revitalize New Orleans East and bring work to the area. “The more Dixie you drink, the more jobs we can create in New Orleans East,” he told the paper.
Since the devastation of Katrina shut down the original brewery, Dixie Beer has instead been contract brewed in places like Wisconsin and Tennessee. The Times-Picayune writes that though that original Dixie building has been restored, it’s no longer making beer; instead, it’s a research facility slated to open as a part of the Veterans Affairs hospital complex this month.
Granted, Dixie has never been a life-changing beer. It’s just your run-of-the-mill American lager. Still, some beers are more about their history than anything else. Even if it will never be as tasty as Pliny the Elder or as popular as Bud Light, Dixie is still a brand with plenty of stories behind it—and it belongs back in New Orleans.