By Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer
A self-described black, queer woman-owned brewery in the Asheville area claims “white supremacy” forced it to shut down.
Black Star Line Brewing Co. of Hendersonville says it is the first black-, family- and woman-owned brewery in Asheville’s “Beer City USA” orbit. While women have increased their presence in the craft beer world, critics say the industry remains overwhelmingly white.
The brewery announced on Facebook last week that it would no longer operate at its downtown Hendersonville location. On Monday, a second post said the “community space that centered healing and liberation for all people” had been shut down when “white loan officers called the police.”
“White supremacy shut us down,” company founder L.A. McCrae told the food-focused website Munchies. “Our world has been rocked.”
The brewery had received racist, threatening emails in November, Asheville’s WLOS reported, and says it had suffered multiple break-ins. McCrae told Munchies the brewery was underfunded when it launched six months ago because a lender would loan it only $50,000. She said company officials were unable to contact the lender despite numerous attempts before the brewery was evicted.
But the brewery had also found substantial community support, news accounts say.
Several other breweries helped Black Star Line recover after apparent vandalism damaged brewing equipment, Mountain Express reported in November. The Hendersonville police response to the threatening emails was “swift and conscientious,” a brewery official told Mountain Express, and a surge of beer lovers visited to show their support.
In an email Saturday to Asheville’s Citizen Times, McCrae said the brewery is “alive and well” and expects to announce a location change.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, the brewery says it was under-capitalized, bought “oversold” supplies and used hand-me-down equipment.
The trip-planning site exploreasheville.com says Asheville has more breweries per capita than any U.S. city, producing about 100 local beers.