NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Dixie Beer is returning home.
Tom and Gayle Benson announced Thursday the majority purchase of Dixie Brewing Company, LLC. Joseph and Kendra Bruno will continue to the company 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."
The Bruno's have owned and operated Dixie Beer since 1985, and despite a number of challenges, were able to preserve the sole remaining traditional New Orleans brewery.
"We are thrilled that they will remain an important part of the Dixie team, and look forward to working with them," Tom Benson said.
The company actively is seeking a site for a bricks-and-mortar brewery in Orleans Parish. Building a brewery in New Orleans and continuing the creation of jobs and economic development are top priorities for Dixie Brewing Company, according to a news release.
Tom Benson said his 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," Tom Benson said.
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, TN.
The first production of Dixie Beer will begin appearing at bars and restaurants as well as retail shelves beginning July 26.
Until the New Orleans brewery is up and running, the beer will be brewed in Memphis.