The Jackson Brewing Company of New Orleans made history with Jax Beer. Not only was it the second beer by that name, but also beer “experts” I know say it helped bring up the rear for the many beer brands in America. The saying goes that many beers boast about the pristine water that goes into them. Jax came from Mississippi water about to dump into the Gulf of Mexico. Everybody has separate tastes, so to each his own. I claim no personal knowledge.
What did make it into the national consciousness in the late 1950s and early 1960s were the funny commercials from Mike Nichols and Elaine May. Together, they probably sold a lot of beer.
Jax Beer operated in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1890 to 1974. It was another brewery selling under the name Jax Beer. The other was Jacksonville’s Jax Brewing Company. The New Orleans brewery went by “Jax Brewery”. Its name came from Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. The one in Jacksonville, Florida came from the name of the city, which in turn may also have come from Old Hickory.
The two breweries clashed over territorial and trademark disputes, but in the 1930s they declared a truce and agreed to divide their marketing geographically. In 1954, the issue became moot when the Jacksonville brewery folded, and the New Orleans company bought the trademark. The Jax successor became the largest brand in the South for a while, no doubt helped by Nichols and May.
The actual beer was relatively low in alcohol content, with a slightly sweet taste. Detractors say it was a thin-tasting light beer before anybody cared.
In 1974, Pearl Brewing Company bought Jackson Brewing. Texas-based Pearl kept the Jax name until 1984. Pabst acquired Pearl in that year. The site of the New Orleans brewery is now stores, housing, and restaurants.
Here are some of the key events in the history of Jax Beer of New Orleans:
1890: Jackson Brewing Company is founded in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1900: Jax Beer is first brewed and sold.
1919: Prohibition begins in the United States. Jackson Brewing Company pivots to other products and services.
1933: Prohibition ends. Jackson Brewing Company resumes brewing Jax Beer.
1974: Jackson Brewing enters financial straits and is acquired by Pearl Brewing Company.
1984: Pearl Brewing Company is acquired by Pabst Brewing Company. Jax Beer takes on Pabst branding.
- Year Started: 1890
- Year Ended: 1974
- Origin Of Name: Andrew Jackson
- Location Sales: United States
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Jackson Brewing Company
- Owner While In Use: Jackson Brewing Company
- Owner Successor: Pearl Brewing Company
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Coors Beer
- Naics Code: 312120
- Location Headquarters: New Orleans, Louisiana USA