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/// BREWERY REVIEW
 
DECEMBER 2007/JANUARY 2008
 
Dixie Brewery @ 100
Post Katrina Brewery Struggles for Survival
 
 
Exterior of the Dixie Brewery in New Orleans.

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NEW ORLEANS — What nature doesn't do to us will be done by our fellow man. The venerable Dixie Brewery is still standing after the horrendous force of a Category 5 hurricane — but barely. After the rains and wind subsided and the waters receded, the scavengers moved in to administer what might have been the coup de grace to the old brewery.

Classic copper brewing vessels were cut up and removed for scrap. Copper wiring was stripped from the building. The old cedar tanks used for fermentation and storage were disassembled and spirited off. The remaining building looks like something pounded into post-WWII European rubble. The brewery's cache of a century's worth of breweriana has been lost to the elements and the scavengers.

Owners Joe and Kendra Bruno, who purchased the brewery in 1985, are heartbroken but determined to bring the only privately held regional brewery back to some semblance of its former glory.

To mark the occasion of the brewery's 100th anniversary of October 31, 2007, and to draw attention to the brewery's plight, Joe and Kendra hosted a Halloween party at the brewery attended by former employees, Dixie friends and distribution accounts, and a gaggle of media from around the country. The Brunos’ plans for the brewery include a smaller brewhouse and a beer garden on the roof to take advantage of the fabulous view of the New Orleans skyline.

Meanwhile, brewing of the Dixie beers is being accomplished at the Huber Brewery in Monroe, Wis., under the supervision of continuing Brewmaster Kevin Stuart, who has been employed by Dixie since 1987. The new Dixie beers are being distributed by Distinguished Brands International out of Littleton, Colo.

The Dixie Lager and Jazz Amber Light are exceptional. “I must tip my hat to Kevin,” said Jeff Coleman, president of Distinguished Brands. "He tirelessly traveled between New Orleans and Wisconsin to ensure that Jazz, Dixie and Voodoo were absolutely perfect and available in time for Halloween and to kick off the 100th anniversary celebration."

Meanwhile, the Brunos continue their efforts to bring one of America's true brewing legacies back from a near-death experience. Those with a passion for our country's brewing history hope that they will be successful. With Mardi Gras only months away, secure your stash of Dixie Voodoo now and toast the determination of the Brunos’ commitment to saving a true legacy of our brewing heritage.

 

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