BREWPUBS TO BIG BUSINESS: Over the past decade, craft breweries have taken the state of North Carolina by storm, pulling in nearly 800 million dollars in 2014 alone. However, with bigger profit margins comes more scrutiny from state alcohol regulators and a stricter adherence to N.C. statutes. Photo by Gina Smith.

Growing pains: Craft brewing comes of age

North Carolina has always had a complicated relationship with alcohol. However, alcohol has consistently been an economic driver in North Carolina, as it still is, with 130 craft breweries as of 2014 – the most of any Southern state. As the craft brewing industry in the region grows into a multimillion-dollar business, the desire to review the statutes and improve communication with state officials has come to the forefront.

The Rebirth Brass Band brought a little of the Big Easy to Burning Can 2015 at Oskar Blues Brewery's REEB Ranch.

In photos: Oskar Blues Burning Can Festival 2015

Oskar Blues Brewery hosted its 2015 Burning Can ExtravaCANza Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, at its REEB Ranch just outside of Hendersonville. Despite some complications with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Department, a few thunderstorms and a blistering-hot afternoon sun, brewers, performers and attendees stuck it out and had a ball.

NEW MOON: Modern day distillers in WNC are bringing the region's most-storied spirit into the 21st century. Photo by George Etheredge.

Bottled lightning: Appalachia­n moonshinin­g in the 21st century

Western North Carolina is now home to a growing number of craft distillers making legal moonshine. Blending traditional recipes with new technology and methods, these pioneers are bringing Appalachia’s most fabled and misunderstood product into the 21st century, changing cultural perceptions even as they adapt to shifting economic realities.

AED: Breakfast and brunch

Asheville takes breakfast and brunch pretty seriously. Simple or elegant, urban or rustic, Asheville and environs offers options ranging from a heaping stack of pancakes with eggs and bacon to a breakfast salad — and just about everything in between. A walk through downtown on a weekend morning reveals a staggering number of choices. Eateries […]

AED: Hidden gems and unsung heroes

Every city has its hidden gems — eating and drinking establishments that locals treasure but that may not command the same attention as their higher-profile brethren. Asheville boasts an array of those unsung heroes in just about every corner of the city. Many are tucked away amid the bustling downtown, but there are also good […]

AED: Sweet stuff

When your sweet tooth starts making noise, it’s good to know that Asheville has myriad options offering swift and complete satisfaction. Consider these choice venues: The French Broad Chocolate Lounge downtown is one of Asheville’s standard-bearers for quality chocolates. When you visit, be sure to sample their sipping chocolates. Also notable is The Chocolate Fetish: […]

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