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DIXIE® BREWING COMPANY ANNOUNCES RETURN OF BREWING OPERATIONS TO NEW ORLEANS

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Contact: Nicole Hutson nicoleh@dixiebeer.com

The Dixie Brewing Company, LLC. has announced today the company’s restoration of brewing operations to the city of New Orleans as part of a multimillion dollar project on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans East.

Dixie Beer, which was established in New Orleans in 1907, had developed into one of the Gulf South’s iconic craft beer brands, but has been brewed out of state since Hurricane Katrina. Intending to return the beer to its former glory, the late Tom Benson and his wife Gayle, purchased Dixie Brewing Company in 2017. Since the purchase of the brand, Mrs. Benson and her late husband’s intention has been to return the Dixie Beer’s production to New Orleans.

“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,” said Gayle Benson. “This is the realization that my late husband Tom (Benson) had and his goal was to bring business to New Orleans and to be able to bring such an iconic brand such as Dixie Beer back where it belongs makes it that much more exciting.”

With today’s announcement, Dixie Brewing Company will renovate and equip an 80,000-square-foot- portion of the former MacFrugal’s building on the Industrial Canal. The brands include Dixie, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager. With brewing operations returning to New Orleans, Dixie Brewing will create jobs for the region in bringing the unused New Orleans East facility back to commerce. As well as creating the manufacturing center for Dixie Beer products, development plans of the project will aim to make the site a consumer destination as well, through the establishment of a brewpub, tours and other recreational amenities.

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Dixie® Beer Now Available in New Orleans Retail Stores

NEW ORLEANS (August 16, 2017) – Dixie Beer’s return to the New Orleans area has reached another milestone this week, with 12-ounce cans and longneck bottles of Dixie, and new 91.3-calorie, 3.7 carb Dixie Light landing on retail shelves across the metro area. Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager will also be available in longnecks. Can’t decide on which one to buy? Pick up the Dixie Dozen, a variety pack of all three brews in 12-pack bottles where Dixie Beer lovers can sample all three styles.

A list of stores carrying Dixie Beer products can be found here:
https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Dixie_Locations.pdf

“Gayle and I could not be more pleased with the overall positive reaction we have received from the community on the return of Dixie Beer,” said Tom Benson. “We have spoken with so many people locally and regionally about the return of the beer to New Orleans and the return to its original recipe. We have periodically stopped in various restaurants and bars around the city to ‘share a beer’ with those and the feedback has been tremendous. It is exactly what we had hoped for and are so pleased that people cared about the beer, a local icon and certainly wanted it back. We are very happy to have it available in our community.”

Crescent Crown is Dixie Beer’s distributor in New Orleans.

 

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.

 

Download as PDF

 

Links to high resolution press images of Dixie Beer, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo:

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/DixieBeer_12oz_Bottle_Lager.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_DixieBeer_12oz_Bottle_BVL.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_Dixie_light_can.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_Dixie_lager_can.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_BottlesFamily.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_BottlesCansFamily.jpg

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DIXIE® BEER POURS INTO BATON ROUGE AND LAFAYETTE

NEW ORLEANS (August 16, 2017) – Dixie Beer’s return to the Gulf South area has reached another milestone this week, with 12-ounce cans and longneck bottles of Dixie, and new 91.3-calorie, 3.7 carb Dixie Light landing on retail shelves in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager also will be available in longnecks. Can’t decide on which one to buy? Pick up the Dixie Dozen, a variety pack of all three brews in 12-pack bottles where Dixie Beer lovers can sample all three styles.

Dixie Beer began distribution of the iconic brew in New Orleans last month, first with kegs to area bars and restaurants, and just last week with product at retail locations. Now fans in Baton Rouge and Lafayette can enjoy Dixie Beer. A list of stores carrying Dixie Beer products can be found here:
https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Dixie_Locations.pdf

“Gayle and I could not be more pleased with the overall positive reaction we have received from the community on the return of Dixie Beer,” said Tom Benson. “We have spoken with so many people locally and regionally about the return of the beer to New Orleans and the return to its original recipe. It is exactly what we had hoped for and are so pleased that people cared about the beer, a local icon and certainly wanted it back. We are very happy to have it available in our community.”

Crescent Crown is Dixie Beer’s distributor in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

About Dixie Brewing Company, LLC

  • Tom and Gayle Benson purchased Dixie Brewing Company, LLC, from Joseph and Kendra Bruno, who were stewards of the brand beginning in 1985. 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.
  • The purchase agreement was finalized in December 2016.
  • Dixie, new Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager are available in kegs and 12-ounce longneck bottles. Dixie and Dixie Light also will be available in 12-ounce cans. Additionally, there will be a Dixie Dozen variety pack of all three brews in 12-pack bottles where Dixie Beer lovers can try all three.

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, Instagramand Twitter.

 

Download as PDF

 

Links to high resolution press images of Dixie Beer, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo:

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/DixieBeer_12oz_Bottle_Lager.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_DixieBeer_12oz_Bottle_BVL.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_Dixie_light_can.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_Dixie_lager_can.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_BottlesFamily.jpg

https://dixiebeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/6739_DIXI_BottlesCansFamily.jpg

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Dixie® Beer Returns to New Orleans: Born in 1917. Reborn in 2017.

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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Dixie® Beer’s Rebirth – Fact Sheet

Dixie Brewing History

  • Dixie Beer was born in New Orleans in 1907.
  • The founder of Dixie Brewing was Valentine Merz, who also was a supporter of the Audubon Zoo.
  • In the 1920s, during Prohibition, the name was changed to Dixie Beverage Company. It survived prohibition by producing other drinks like sodas and near beers, returning to brewing beer by the early 1930s.
  • In its heyday, Dixie Beer was known as the neighborhood beer of New Orleans, and it enjoyed a market share of more than 30 percent.
  • In the ‘80s, local breweries were challenged to compete with mass-produced national brands such as Pabst, Miller and Budweiser.
  • Joseph and Kendra Bruno bought the struggling Dixie Brewing Company in 1985. Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in 2005 left the brewery with 10 feet of water that ultimately destroyed the equipment and left the Tulane Avenue building in disrepair.
  • Today, the original location on Tulane Avenue sits within the footprint of the new Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which plans to use a portion of the original building to house a research center. The building’s distinctive cupola is being incorporated into the design.
  • Without a functioning brewery after Katrina, the Bruno’s moved to a contract brewing arrangement with a craft brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. In June of 2017, brewing was moved to Blues City Brewery in Memphis, Tennessee, right up the Mississippi River from its birthplace.

Road to Rebirth

  • Gayle Benson, just as her husband Tom did, has a passion for New Orleans and for restoring things that make the city unique. Dixie Beer is one of those “lost” iconic New Orleans brands that make up the city’s history and identity.
  • Brewing of Dixie Beer will return to New Orleans.
  • The traditional Dixie Beer, using the original recipe for a rich and higher-quality, better- tasting lager, as well as a new 91 calorie Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager are now available throughout the Gulf South.

About Brewing in New Orleans

  • The first commercial brewery in New Orleans was opened in 1852 by brothers Louis and Samuel Fasnacht, who came to New Orleans from Switzerland. Its location is where the Cotton Mill apartments now stand. It closed by 1876.
  • Dixie Brewing was founded in 1907 by Valentine Merz, who also was a supporter of the Audubon Zoo.
  • Brewing continued to grow through the end of the century, making New Orleans the largest beer-making city in the South. Merz, Pioneer Merz, Southern Brewing Company, Crescent City Brewing, Weckerling Brewing, Pelican Brewing Company, Lafayette Brewing and Louisiana Brewery all distributed their beverages regionally.
  • In 1891, a group of investors opened Jax Beer across from Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The facility closed in 1974, and currently is a specialty shopping center.
  • By the 1950s, the incredible diversity of the industry prior to Prohibition was reduced to four brands that controlled 80 percent of the New Orleans market: Falstaff, Regal, Dixie and Jax.

About Dixie Brewing Company, LLC

  • Tom and Gayle Benson purchased Dixie Brewing Company, LLC, from Joseph and Kendra Bruno, who were stewards of the brand beginning in 1985. 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.
  • The purchase agreement was finalized in December 2016.
  • Dixie, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager are available in kegs, 12-ounce longneck bottles and 12-ounce cans. Dixie and Dixie Light are also available in 16–ounce cans. Crescent Crown is the distributor in the New Orleans area. Additionally, there is a variety pack of all three brews in 12-pack bottles where Dixie Beer lovers can try all three named the Dixie Dozen.
  • Director of Operations is Jeffery “Mel” Coleman. Brewmaster is Kevin Stuart.

Sources:

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Dixie Beer Questions and Answers

About the Business

 

When will the “new” Dixie Beer be back on the shelves?

While Dixie has remained on shelves and in bars in limited quantities, Dixie Beer (using the original recipe), a brand-new Dixie Light (only 91.3 calories) and craft beer Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager will be available on draught in neighborhood bars beginning July 27 (check website for updated availability). Retail, bottle and can availability will begin by the first week of August 2017.

 

Why did the Bensons buy Dixie Brewing?

New Orleans was once a great brewing city, and the Bensons look forward to bringing Dixie Beer back to where it was born. It’s gratifying to fuel the rebirth of a cultural institution like Dixie Beer that the Crescent City has lost to time, storms and even economic changes. As with other Benson endeavors, keeping businesses in New Orleans, creating good jobs and giving back to the community are the primary motivations for the Dixie acquisition.

 

Who are they buying it from and for how much?

The Bensons purchased the majority interest in Dixie Brewing from Joseph and Kendra Bruno, who have been stewards of the brand since 1985 and will remain minority owners and members of the Board of Managers.

The purchase price has not been disclosed.

 

What role will the Brunos play in the new organization?

The Brunos will remain valued members of the Dixie team and part of Dixie’s future as minority owners, including serving on the Board of Managers. The Benson organization has assumed day-to-day management responsibilities.

 

Explain what you mean by “The Original Craft Beer of New Orleans”

At its founding in 1907, Dixie Beer was brewed as a rich lager, made from lightly roasted two-row barley, rice and Cascade hops, much like contemporary craft brewers are using now. In recent years, the recipe was adjusted, but Dixie Beer will return to its original recipe, a richer, higher-quality and better-tasting lager.

 

Where will it be brewed?

After Katrina, brewing was moved to Wisconsin. In June of this year, it was moved to Blues City Brewery in Memphis, Tennessee, right up the river from its New Orleans birthplace. The original recipe is being brewed there until a New Orleans brewery is secured and operational. Brewing the highest-quality, best-tasting beer possible and building a brewery in New Orleans are the top priorities of Dixie Brewing Company.

 

Where will the beer be available?

Dixie Beer will be available at retail locations across the Gulf South as well as in restaurants and bars.

 

Will the brewery be located at its original Tulane Street facility? If no, why not and where will it be?

Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in 2005 left the brewery with 10 feet of water that ultimately destroyed the equipment and left the Tulane Avenue building in disrepair.

We are actively seeking a new location for the brewery in New Orleans. We look forward to announcing its location and beginning construction, but can say we are looking for opportunities to serve as a catalyst for revitalization. We’ll share information about this when details are confirmed.

Other info: Today, Dixie Brewing’s original location on Tulane Avenue sits within the footprint of the new Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which plans to use a portion of the original building to house a research center. The building’s distinctive cupola is being incorporated into the design.

 

Who is the brewmaster?

The Brewmaster for Dixie Brewing Company is Kevin Stuart. He is exceptionally excited about the opportunity to return Dixie to its original recipe and start brewing in New Orleans. Kevin oversees all aspects of brewing in Memphis.

 

Who is the general manager?

Ken Caldcleugh, a highly respected and knowledgeable member of the beer industry, has been named General Manager.

 

Who is the distributor?

Crescent Crown is the distributor in the New Orleans area.

 

About the Beer

 

How do you know the original recipe? And why did it change?

Back in 1907 when Dixie Beer was born, beer was brewed in the German tradition. Dixie Beer was a rich lager, made from lightly roasted two-row barley, rice and Cascade hops.

When the Tulane Avenue brewery was destroyed, the owners moved brewing to Wisconsin to keep the company alive, and the recipe was adjusted then.

 

What beer will be available at launch?

Dixie Beer, new Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager will be available at launch in kegs and 12-ounce longnecks. Dixie and Dixie Light also will be available in 12-ounce cans. The bottles and cans will begin to appear on retail shelves in mid-August.

 

What other kinds of beer do you see Dixie coming out with?

Beer lovers can expect to see an expanded portfolio of craft brews, including the introduction of a new product this fall, in addition to Dixie Beer, Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager.

 

Packaging

Dixie Beer, new Dixie Light and Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager will be available at launch in kegs and 12-ounce bottles. Dixie and Dixie Light also will be available in 12-ounce cans.

Crescent Crown is the distributor in New Orleans. Dixie Beer packaging has been updated but will feature the traditional look New Orleans has loved for generations. Dixie Light, a new product, incorporates much of Dixie’s traditional branding with a contemporary blue and silver finish. Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager, our initial craft brew (also returned to its original recipe), will feature innovative and fresh packaging reflective of its place as Dixie’s first craft beer.