Durkeeville: Jax Beer Building

by Tim Gilmore, 8/7/2014

The brewery building’s a run-down warehouse on West 16th Street at Barnett Street in Durkeeville, the early black neighborhood where the city’s first public housing projects were built in the late 1930s. The Jax Brewing Company started making Jax Beer here in 1913. During Prohibition, they changed their name to Jax Ice & Cold Storage Company, but resumed the original name at the end of Prohibition in 1933. The brewery stopped making beer for good in 1956 when it sold its copyright to the Jackson Brewing Company of New Orleans. By then, Stanley Kowalski and his pals had been drinking Jax in New Orleans in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire since the play first ran nine years before. Now the 100 year-old brewery building operates as a recycling center for electronic waste.

IF YOU LIKE A MELLOW, ZESTFUL BEER      TRY JAX        The Drink of Friendship         Old-timers in Florida have long known and cherished the mellow goodness of JAX, one of Florida’s favorites since 1914.      You, too, will like JAX. You’ll enjoy the tangy taste, the fine flavor, and the superbly high quality that make JAX truly a great American beer.                  For a downright, refreshing beer, try a bottle of JAX today.             You can’t buy a better beer at any price           Jax Brewing Company    Jacksonville Florida

One night about 1:30 a.m., Mike Collins listed to starboard across the living room of his house trailer on Winners Circle, just north of the Intracoastal Waterway near the beach. He had already downed a bottle and a half of cheap Cabernet. He clambered to the cabinets and stared down the unopened bottle of Jax Bock brewed in 1953 in some neighborhood he’d never visited on the other side of town. The bottle had been a Christmas present from his father-in-law five years ago. Having no idea why, he grabbed the bottle opener and quickly swigged the 57 year-old beer. He didn’t care. Not until the morning.