Some museums praise fine art while others honor history or other scholarly subjects. But a new museum planned for Asheville will celebrate North Carolina craft beverages, including beers, ciders, wines, distilled beverages and even soft drinks.
The North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum likely won’t open before 2019, and the location hasn’t been announced other than that it will be in Asheville. To kick-start progress, a fundraiser will be held Thursday, Sept. 7, at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria.
“This has been in the works for about a year now,” says Kimberly Floyd, executive director of the museum-in-planning. “We are officially a nonprofit, and we have finalized our board of directors. Now [that] we’re moving forward with fundraisers and events, I’d love to see the doors open with something by summer of 2019 — but that may be generous.”
Floyd has plenty of museum experience — she’s worked in that field for 11 years and is currently employed at the Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace state historic site in Weaverville. In her words, Floyd “pitched the idea” to Kendra Penland, director of the Asheville Brewers Alliance, which represents area breweries and beer businesses, and the project took off from there.
While Asheville is best-known for its many craft breweries, Floyd wants to “tell the cultural, social and economic history of the state, and do it through the lens of craft beverages.” That history will include such products as moonshine, cider, wine and such Carolina-linked soft drinks as Cheerwine (based in Salisbury) and even Pepsi (created in New Bern).
“A lot of people have different ideas [about what should be included],” Floyd says. “Coming at it from my viewpoint as a museum professional, my idea would be to present all those viewpoints on what a craft beverage can be and let people make those decisions for themselves.”
The Brewers Association trade group defines craft breweries as small (no more than 6 million barrels produced annually), independent (less than 25 percent controlled by noncraft breweries) and traditional.
Floyd believes there are plenty of beverage artifacts that could be exhibited. “One thing that we are working on are oral histories. There are objects and items out there. Now is the time to be thinking about them,” she says.
The North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum fundraiser will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, 42 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. Tickets are $50 and include two beers and a pizza buffet, or $25 for two beers. They are available in advance online or in person at Barley’s.
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