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.

A 500 acre fire tore through the slopes above Ridgecrest on Tuesday afternoon. As of Wednesday at noon, the fire has been 50% contained.

UPDATED The morning after: Photos from the Black Mountain/R­idgecrest Wildfire

Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, a brush fire caused by unknown sources in the Ridgecrest area of Buncombe County erupted across the ridgeline. Spurred by gusty winds and dry conditions, the blaze soon spread across the mountains bordering Black Mountain, destroying several homes and forcing residents to flee to safety as state and federal Park Service officials, along with firefighters from across Western North Carolina, came in droves to battle the wildfire.

Clarifications needed: The crowd of 200 at the Feb. 5 Friends of Big Ivy meeting was very vocal about prohibiting logging in the Nantahala and Pisgah forests.

Message clear at Friends of Big Ivy meeting: no logging needed or planned

An informational meeting regarding the U.S. Forest Service’s long term plans for the Big Ivy section of the Pisgah National Forest drew about 200 people in Barnardsville Feb. 5, with another 100 waiting outside to get in. The crowd voiced strong anti-logging opinions to forest rangers, who are in the process of drafting a new long-term plan for the forest.

In bed with the Brewers’ Alliance-attachment0

In bed with the Brewers’ Alliance

Pisgah’s here. Wedge is here — aloof rock stars of Asheville beer, confident and not entirely lacking in swagger. French Broad is the proletariat of the scene, big and gentle, unstylish, a touch shambling. Highland: the jetsetter, slick and self-assured. All is revelry, echolalic chatter drowning out the jazz trio.