Back from the dead: Dixie turns 100

October 31, 2007

Dixie Kettle
Local beer geek Jack Curtin was invited to attend the Dixie Brewing Company‘s 100th year anniversary and reopening party today. Turns out the New Orleans brewery was devasted by Hurricane Katrina. It was initially under 9 feet of water, then was almost completely looted of everything of value in the aftermath.

Dixie beer brands, including the popular Blackened Voodoo have been contract brewed in the interim. I had no idea the brewery was out of commission until I read Jack’s site and did some research. Turns out NPR even noticed their plight.

I had the opportunity to “tour” the brewery back in 2003. I was in the Big Easy for the amazing annual Jazz & Heritage Festival (confusingly shortened to “Jazzfest” by most people) and ran into a guy who worked at the facility. He invited me to a private tour the next day but never showed up. So my friends and I entered the wide open building and took our own tour. (I had little reservation about it since I’d already been invited, and I had already “toured” many breweries in the past, my first a vacant brewery in Flint, Michigan as a teenager, and later, every vacant brewery in Philly). We never came across a soul even though the place was wide-open and we went through the whole thing. I snapped the above shot of one of the kettles, then rode my bike up Tulane Avenue to check out the wonderful but vacant Falstaff building, which ceased production in 1978.

A quick search of the Internets found a lot of images of the brewery post Katrina, and I have to admit, they don’t look much worse than it did back when I visited!

New Orleans, unlike the rest of the almost dry South, has quite a brewing history. Before prohibition they boasted 13 breweries.

The Jackson Brewery (brewers of Jax) which closed in 1974, has been converted into a nice shopping mall and condos. I had no clue about the city’s rich brewing history until I arrived there and literally stumbled into all three of them.
jackson brewery

Dixie opened it’s doors on Halloween day, 1907. We’ll keep an eye out for pictures and reports of today’s party. I’m sure it’ll be a good time.

More pics here

MP3: Dr. John– (Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away


One comment

  1. hopefully they will reopen one day…just had a tastte of Dixie beer here in Denver and really enjoyed it.

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