The first 100 days of Dixie Beer's new brewery haven't been the easiest. During its opening weekend in January, the I-10 exit closed and about 50 days later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown. Although New Orleanians couldn't experience the taproom and well-manicured grounds for the last two months, Dixie Beer has continued to serve the community with new releases and a pick-up option.
"We’ve seen strong demand for our new Crafted By Dixie releases, DAT’SUMA, Bayou King, and Lucky Mucker. We expect to continue the to-go program even after we are able to safely re-open for onsite consumption," says Jim Birch, the brewery's general manager.
DAT'SUMA IPA was released in late April and is brewed with over 100 lbs of Satumas, which come from the brewery's Satsuma trees. Dixie Beer also participated in the All Together IPA, a collaborative open-sourced brew that Birch says was inspired by Other Half Brewery in Brooklyn, New York. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Louisiana Restaurant Association for its Employee Relief Fund.
While an opening date has yet to be confirmed, Birch is "cautiously optimistic" that breweries in Orleans Parish will begin opening by mid- to late-May. Birch explained the experience will be different but better: The production tour program and beer flights will not be offered for the time being, and the focus will be on the ample outdoor space which includes over 15 acres of property and more than 100,000 square feet of lawn space. The beer garden furniture is being placed around the property to create mini-pods of social distancing options.
"We expect to bring in entertainment too," Birch says. "Look out for some movie nights and things of that sort. We have the perfect campus to spend an afternoon relaxing at—whether playing games, reading a book, or just relaxing around the lake with a cold Dixie beer and some food."
Despite the setbacks, Birch says the new team has gelled over the past few months. "We are so excited to eventually open again and offer a full menu of options for first-time and long-time Dixie customers."
Dixie Beer is located at 3501 Jourdan Road.