In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, several American companies have reconsidered their branding as the nation reexamines historic links to racial injustices. Now, the oldest brewery in New Orleans has announced it will change its name.
In a statement released on Friday, Dixie Beer’s owner Gayle Benson said the brand has started the process of renaming the Dixie Brewery and all Dixie-branded products. While a replacement has yet to be decided, the company intends to work with “community stakeholders” to find a name that “will best represent our culture and community,” Benson wrote.
The term “Dixie” has problematic ties as it is used as a nostalgic nickname for the American South during the Civil War era. As Jeremy Helligar explains in a recent Variety article: “‘Dixie’ […] is the epitome of white America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves.” Last week, country music trio the “Dixie Chicks” also announced they were dropping the word “Dixie” from their band name, instead becoming “The Chicks.”
“We recognize […] 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,” Benson wrote.
Dixie Beer has had a tumultuous history. After its founding in 1907, the brewery has overcome a series of tribulations, including Prohibition, production shutdowns, bankruptcy, and ownership changes. In 2005, its New Orleans brewery was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. After years of being brewed out-of-state, the company returned to New Orleans in January.
Dixie’s decision to rebrand follows high-profile announcements from multiple companies, including Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s. The brewery’s announcement has since prompted polarized reactions on Twitter.