NEW ORLEANS — Dixie Beer, New Orleans' oldest brewery, is changing its name to be more inclusive and better represent culture and community, company officials said.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions that we’ve had to make because we knew people would be frustrated,” Dixie Brewery General Manager Jim Birch told WWL. “We know there’s a tremendous amount of heritage and great memories associated with the brand.”
The Benson family, who also owns the Saints football team, conducted extensive research before they bought a majority stake in the beer company in 2017, showing that there was support to reestablish the brand, WGNO reported.
“We recognize, however, that our nation and community are currently engaged in critical conversations about racism and systemic social issues that have caused immeasurable pain and oppression of our black and brown communities,” Gayle Benson said in a statement. “As New Orleans, and our country, continue to evolve 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.”
Company officials said the new name will reflect the history of the region, WWL reported. It will take about a year to establish the new brand, but officials hope it will be ready for the 2021 Mardi Gras season. They are also asking for ideas for the new beer’s name.
The rebranding comes at a time when Confederate monuments are being taken down, names of people who held white supremacist views are being removed from buildings and companies are removing racially dubious imagery from products.
“This is really a retirement of a brand,” Birch said. “This isn’t us trying to rewrite history or trying to tell a different story.”
The brewery isn't the first to drop "Dixie" from its name.
Recently, The Dixie Chicks changed their name to The Chicks. Leaders in Miami-Dade County also voted to rename part of the Dixie Highway to Harriet Tubman Highway, CNN reported.