Asheville, North Carolina has a long and rich history when it comes to craft beverages. From the early days of moonshine and beer, to the more recent rise of craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries, the city has always had a deep connection to the art of beverage-making. In this essay, we will take a look at the history of craft beverages in Asheville, and how it has helped to shape the city’s culture and economy.
The history of craft beverages in Asheville can be traced back to the early days of the city’s founding. The city’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains made it an ideal location for growing a wide variety of fruits and grains. This, in turn, led to the development of a strong tradition of moonshining and home brewing. The city’s early settlers, many of whom were of Scottish and Irish descent, brought with them a deep knowledge of distilling and brewing, which they passed down through generations.
The early 20th century saw the rise of commercial breweries in the city. The city’s first commercial brewery, the Asheville Brewing Company, was established in 1896 and produced a wide variety of beers and ales. The brewery was located on the banks of the French Broad River and was powered by the river’s hydroelectric power. The brewery was a major employer in the city and provided jobs for many residents.
The city’s brewing industry continued to grow throughout the 20th century, but it was hit hard by the rise of mass-produced beer in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the city’s smaller breweries were unable to compete with the larger national brands and were forced to close their doors. However, a few of the city’s larger breweries, such as Highland Brewing Company and Wicked Weed Brewing, managed to survive and continue to operate to this day.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the craft beer movement began to take off in Asheville. The city’s microbreweries and craft beer scene began to grow, and by the early 2000s, the city had established itself as a major player in the craft beer industry. In 2009, Asheville was named “Beer City, USA” by a national poll and it has retained the title every year since.
The growth of the craft beer industry in Asheville has had a major impact on the city’s economy. According to the Asheville Brewers Alliance, the beer industry in Asheville generates over $1 billion in economic impact and supports over 4,000 jobs. The city’s breweries and beer-related businesses also attract thousands of tourists each year, making the beer industry a major driver of the city’s tourism industry.
In addition to beer, other craft beverages such as hard cider and spirits also started gaining popularity in Asheville. The city is home to a number of craft cideries, distilleries and wineries, which have been able to establish themselves in the market with their unique offerings and have helped to promote the city as a destination for craft beverage enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the history of craft beverages in Asheville, North Carolina is a long and rich one. From the early days of moonshining and home brewing to the recent rise of craft breweries, distilleries and cideries, the city has always had a deep connection to the art of beverage-making. The growth of the craft beer industry in particular has had a major impact on the city’s economy and helped establish Asheville as “Beer City, USA”. The growing popularity of other craft beverages such as hard cider and spirits have also helped to promote the city as a destination for craft beverage enthusiasts.