In a city like Asheville, one of several self-proclaimed candidates for “Beer City, USA” in this country, it’s easy to assume that the entire community is happy to rally around the thriving success of craft beer as a focal point of growth and prosperity. After all, craft breweries have a tendency to not only provide jobs and stimulate the local tourism economy, but they double as community centers and hubs of employment for artists, musicians and designers. There’s a reason why so many people love them.
However, not everyone is so pleased when more breweries move into their neighborhood. Asheville’s One World Brewing learned that the hard way this week when they woke up to several pieces of angry, anti-beer graffiti spray-painted onto the walls of their new West Asheville expansion brewery at 520 Haywood Road. “No more breweries,” reads the first scrawl. The second likewise declares war on not just One World but presumably all of Asheville’s breweries: “F*#k Beer City.”
It’s a hard pill for a small business to swallow, to know that your own local neighbors are plotting to deface your building under cover of darkness. And really, what is the point? Has an anonymous spraypaint message ever convinced a brewery to just pack up shop and leave? Do they think this will somehow reverse the trend of Asheville being one of the cities with the highest brewery-per-capita numbers in the country? What could they possibly hope to achieve?
Regardless, it seems that the folks at One World Brewing didn’t let it get them down. On the brewery’s Facebook page, they responded with a classy message of inclusion and positivity. Here it is in full:
We will not be deterred from doing what’s best for our employees and our community. We are a homegrown, local, independently owned brewery that does so much more than just brew beer. We use beer as a platform to support so many other aspects of life that we are passionate about.
It upsets us, angers us, but also reminds us that we can’t let our emotions get the best of us. We’ve offered beyond a living wage to our staff so they can continue to live and work in our growing community in Asheville. We give to a monthly cause/charity of our staffs choosing. We’ve hired countless artists & musicians in our 4 short years and we will be able to do so much more of that with a second location.
All of the paint, pavement, sign work, sweat, and hard work of local, honest working folks was defaced last night. So if you’re against supporting the arts, music, fun, fulfilling work done by people that live and breathe Asheville, and are against having a place that builds community, family, & universal acceptance, then we are absolutely, positively guilty as charged for supporting all of these beautiful things!
Encouragingly, One World’s post is full of supportive responses, including locals and other breweries volunteering to help clean up the mess. One representative of Whistle Hop Brewing Co. in Fairview, NC, wrote the following: “We’ve been there too. Not everyone is ready for progress, unfortunately. Let us know if you need any extra painters. We’ve got our brushes ready to go too.”
It’s a nice sentiment for one of Asheville’s most well-regarded young breweries. As for the crime itself, police are currently investigating, according to local media. The brewery also stated on Facebook that security cameras are now in place at the location, so the vandals should probably think twice before trying to hit One World again.