Dixie Brewery owner Gayle Benson announced the company will change the name of the New Orleans-based craft brewery to one that does not reference the Confederacy. The new name has yet to be selected.
“With inclusive input from all of our community stakeholders, we are preparing to change the name of our brewery and products that carry the Dixie brand and these conversations will determine what brand will best represent our culture and community,” Benson said in a press release.
Widespread protests against racial injustice have gripped the nation since the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Statues of Confederate generals have been toppled and vandalized across the country as a rebuke of the racist underpinnings of Confederate nostalgia.
Dixie, commonly used to refer to the South, has ties to both the Mason-Dixon line, which divided free states and slave states, and ten-dollar notes issued by the Citizens’ Bank of New Orleans with “dix” (French for 10) printed on them, according to History.com.
The brewery was founded in 1907, changed ownership several times over the following century, and its facility was destroyed by Katrina in 2005.
Benson and her late husband Tom Benson, owners of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, acquired a majority share in the Dixie Brewery in 2017 after completing market research that determined the community supported the restoration of the brewery and its brand. The research found “near universal consensus that restoring Dixie Beer to New Orleans would be a sign of our city’s rebirth and a powerful testament to the resilience of our people.”
“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,” Benson wrote. “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.”
Benson’s move to drop the Dixie name comes after similar decisions from musical groups, food brands and entertainment companies.
The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum have changed their names to The Chicks and Lady A, respectively. “Antebellum” refers to the period before the Civil War in the South when slavery enabled plantation owners to accumulate wealth.
CPG companies have made changes to remove brand mascots that evoke Black domestic servants. Quaker Oats announced it would change the name of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup. Mars announced it would change the design of its Uncle Ben’s rice packaging. Conagra announced a review of its Mrs. Buttersworth’s syrup brand.
Walt Disney World announced Thursday it would rebrand the Splash Mountain ride, which features characters from its 1946 movie Song of the South that takes place during Reconstruction in the South. Critics have decried the film’s use of racist tropes and stereotypes. The renovated ride will feature characters from The Princess and the Frog, a 2009 animated film based in New Orleans that features Tiana, the first Black Disney princess.