FOOD SECURITY FOR ALL: As  the demand for food assistance in WNC continues to grow, local food-security organizations are embracing September, designated national Hunger Action Month, as a chance to raise awareness about the issue.  Here, volunteers and staff at MANNA FoodBank raise orange spoons — the symbol of the Hunger Action Month initiative.

Gather around the table: WNC rallies for Hunger Action Month

With one in six people in Western North Carolina lacking consistent access to food, MANNA FoodBank and its partner agencies are uniting to host hunger-awareness events and initiatives in September for national Hunger Action Month. MANNA also hopes to wrap up its Space to Erase Hunger capital campaign this month, allowing for crucial expansions to the organization’s capacity that will impact hungry families in 16 counties.

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.

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