Craft beer merger involves brewery with New Orleans roots

September 23, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans beer company with roots in the early 20th century — and purchased five years ago by the owners of the New Orleans Saints — has merged with three other regional breweries.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that the Benson Group in New Orleans and Wiregrass Equity Partners of Montgomery, Alabama, announced the plans Thursday.

The late Tom Benson and his wife Gayle bought Faubourg Brewing Co. — which was then Dixie Brewing — five years ago. Wiregrass owns the holding company Made By The Water LLC, which owns craft beer breweries in the Carolinas and Florida.

Made by the Water will relocate its headquarters to the Faubourg Brewery in New Orleans as part of the deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the two privately owned companies.

They described the deal as “a 50/50 partnership,” with plans to add more brewing capacity and acquire additional craft beer companies.

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“Our goal is to help New Orleans become as well known for its beer as it is for its cuisine and to see the local craft beer industry continue to grow and create quality jobs,” Gayle Benson in a prepared statement. “Our partnership with Made By The Water allows us to grow the Faubourg brand, and bring in a partner that is a leader in building craft beer brands.”

Dixie Brewing, founded in 1907, had been operating from its landmark Tulane Avenue facility near New Orleans central business district until Hurricane Katrina forced it to shut down and contract brewing to out-of-state breweries.

A new $30 million brewing facility in the New Orleans East area was completed in 2019, the year after Tom Benson died. Two years later, the company changed its name and brand from Dixie to Faubourg and has since introduced new beer brands and flavors.