Dixie Beer, a regionally-iconic beer brand founded in New Orleans more than 110 years ago, will soon have a new name. In a statement released Friday, owner Gayle Benson said that in light of the “critical conversations about racism and systemic social issues” taking place in the country, “we find it necessary to reflect on the role our brewery can play in making our home more united, strong, and resilient for future generations.”
Benson said that the company will seek input from “community stakeholders” to choose a new name for the brewery and its products that “best represents our culture and community.”
Gayle and Tom Benson bought the company three years ago, and Gayle took over Dixie — as well as the Saints and Pelicans franchises — when Tom died in 2018. Founded in 1907, it was the only New Orleans brewery to survive Prohibition, growing into a cheap, local go-to. It stopped production when Hurricane Katrina flooded its Tulane Avenue brewery in 2005, with production eventually being picked up by other breweries. After the Bensons bought it in 2017, they revealed plans for a $ 30 million, 80,000-square-foot brewery in New Orleans East as part their effort to relaunch the brand. The new brewery and visitors attraction debuted in January 2020.
Dixie is a nickname for the southern U.S., once divided from Northern states by what was called the Mason-Dixon line. A song by the same name became an unofficial anthem for the Confederacy during the Civil War, creating the word’s association with the unrecognized republic.
Dixie Beer is the latest brand to announce a name change in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and a broader conversation about racial equity and the historical roots of racism taking place across the United States; others include the makers of Eskimo Pie, Aunt Jemima, and Uncle Ben’s Cream of Wheat. This week country music trio the Dixie Chicks announced they were dropping the word “Dixie” from their band name, becoming just “The Chicks.”