New Orleans' Dixie Beer Announces New, Less Problematic Name
Faubourg Brewing products will start hitting shelves in early 2021. Here's what the name means.
Originally founded in 1907, Dixie Beer is one of the oldest beer brands in the country. But unlike a brewery like Yuengling—which is still run by the Yuengling family—Dixie has passed through a number of owners, and after Hurricane Katrina, wasn’t even brewed in its home state of Louisiana for over a decade. As a result, despite its history, the Dixie Brewing of today is very different than the one founded over 100 years ago. America is very different, too—which is why this week, Dixie Beer announced it's changing its name.
In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, a number of brands had reckonings with their names—including retired monikers like Aunt Jemima, Eskimo Pie, and Uncle Ben’s (plus, relevantly, country music act the Dixie Chicks). In June, Dixie Beer also announced plans to retire the Dixie name for something more inclusive. Their choice—set to officially launch in early 2021—is Faubourg Brewing Company.
For non-New Orleanians, the brewery explains, “The new name is a tribute to the diverse neighborhoods of New Orleans, as ‘faubourg’ (pronounced ‘fo-burg’) is a French word that’s often used interchangeably with ‘neighborhood’ in New Orleans.”
“When my husband and I acquired the majority interest in Dixie Beer in 2016, we recognized that we were investing in more than a brewery, we were investing in a strong and resilient community,” owner Gayle Benson said in the announcement. “When the team embarked upon this journey in June, we understood that our new name must encompass the spirit and diversity of all of New Orleans unique neighborhoods. The Faubourg Brewing Company is a celebration of our city, our people, and our commitment to New Orleans. Our investments in New Orleans East will continue, and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to our community will remain at the forefront.”
Benson’s talk of “investing in a community” is certainly true. The businesswoman—who, by the way, also owns the New Orleans Saints football team and Pelicans basketball team—was instrumental in building a new brewery to replace the one ruined by Katrina, bringing production of Dixie beer back home to The Big Easy as of January 25 of this year.
Faubourg Brewing says they spoke with hundreds of people from all industries—hospitality workers, historians, drinkers—to determine a new name, with over 5,400 ideas getting submitted online last month. “We took a deliberate approach to the name retirement and rebranding process,” general manager Jim Birch explained. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for our customers and the countless good memories that our products have helped to create since 1907. Throughout this project, there were brand name suggestions that kept coming up in conversations with our team as well as the community, and one of them was ‘Faubourg.’”
Expect the new Faubourg Beer name to arrive at stores and bars early next year as the final Dixie-branded products are sold off. Faubourg Brewing also says that, as part of the rebrand, the brewery’s existing Dixie Beer Museum will get a facelift, becoming the New Orleans Beer Museum.