Beer In Ads #45: Dorothy Dandridge For Jax

It’s not just any Tuesday, but Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday — Mardi Gras — so today’s ad is for a New Orleans beer, Jax. It’s a celebrity ad, with actress Dorothy Dandridge hawking Jax Beer. Dandridge was the first African-American woman nominated for an Academy Award and Halle Berry played her in the award winning HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Using the tagline “Get the Light Idea!” That’s followed by “Drink Mellow Jax Beer.” You rarely see mellow used as a positive attribute these days, which is a shame, I think. I’m not sure when this ad is from, though Dandridge passed away in 1965, so it’s most likely it was before then. It was brewed by Jax Brewing Co. until 1956, when the New Orleans’ Jackson Brewing Co. bought the brand and brewed it there (the old brewery is now a shopping mall) until 1974, when Pearl Brewery bought them out. Since 1985, Pabst has owned the brand, but as far as I now, is not brewing it anywhere. Happy Mardi Gras.



  1. says

    Two small corrections re: Jax Beer. The “Jax” brand name was used by the Jackson Brewing. Co. in New Orleans from at least Repeal > on. (I’ve got an ad from 1934, when it was advertised as a “straight malt beer” [?]).

    There was another “Jax” from that Jax brewery in Florida- not uncommon to have beers with the same brand name in the era when small breweries had tiny distribution areas (there were a LOT of “Old German” brand beers, for instance- at least 3 I remember in the Northeast). The New Orleans brewery merely got the full rights to the name in 1950’s when the Jacksonville brewery closed, as I understand it.

    Also, Pabst hasn’t really owned the brand since 1985- the company that owned Pearl and so the Jax label, S&P Corp. (which also owned Falstaff and General), bought Pabst in 1985, and eventually all those brands were slowly “folded into Pabst” as they closed breweries and started going by the best known brand name for it’s corporate identity.

    There was still some “Jax” draught beer available at least a decade ago (altho’, with Pabst, who knows were it was brewed- the Pearl- San Antonio brewery most likely) but it always seemed strange they didn’t do more with the label, especially in Louisiana what with all that free advertising via the former brewery being a landmark in downtown New Orleans. (And, “free advertising” is Pabst’s specialty). Also, wasn’t there an Abita “Jax” beer – maybe a one-off?

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