‘Good Jax Boogie’ and the Story of Jackson Bohemian Brewery

I wonder how much Jax Brewing Company paid Dave Bartholomew to cut this track back in 1950? The song is little more than a two plus minute elegy to the common lager that was widely available at bars and corner stores in that long ago time.

It is a jumper though.

Jackson Bohemian Brewery, locally known as Jax Beer, was founded by 27 year old Alsatian German immigrant Lawrence Fabacher in 1890 at 600 Decatur Street. The building was designed and constructed by fellow German Dietrich Einsiedel. Thos. Hofer was employed as head brewer after being spirited away from rival Weckerling Brewery.

New Orleans was the 12th largest city in the US at the time with a population hovering around the quarter million mark. By the end of that century, 30 breweries called our city home but Jackson was the monolith. At the time it was the 10th largest single-plant brewery in the country. It employed 500 workers.

You’d never know it if you were a subscriber to the Western Brewer and Journal of the Barley, Malt and Hop Trades. Their publication in June of 1909 only listed Mr Fabacher and rivals A.G Ricks of American Brewing Company, and Andreas Schlosser of Columbia Brewing Company.

Fabacher busied himself in the brewhouse producing Jackson (Jax), Fabacher, Bohemian Hof-Brau, and Tex among others. He also somehow managed to find time to open a restaurant; Fabacher’s Restaurant and Oyster House at Royal and Iberville Street in the French Quarter. A place “wherever gourmets and epicures gathered” according to his 1923 obituary.

That building now houses Mr. B’s.

Jax was one of the few breweries in the US to survive Prohibition. During those lean times the company pivoted to selling root and ‘near’ beer. By 1933 American had come to its collective senses and Prohibition was brought to a grinding halt.

With good times ahead so came the lawsuits as a Jax Brewery of Jacksonville, Florida sued our homegrown beer maker in 1935. The suit was resolved somewhat amicably with the Florida interlopers consigned to only selling their beer in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

In 1956 Jax of Florida sold their trademark to New Orleans Jackson Brewing Company for $36k. A nearly two decade period of prosperity followed.

In 1974 Pearl Brewing of San Antonio Texas purchased Jax and brought an end to local control. Jax beer would continue to be produced for another decade before being consigned to the dustbin of history.

Pabst Brewing Company now owns the various trademarks attached to the old Jax marques.

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