Editor’s note: The following story, unlike the rest of Mountain Xpress’s award-winning coverage of local news and events throughout the rest of the year, is 100% fake.
In the wake of New Belgium Brewing Co.’s sale to Kirin subsidiary Lion Little World Beverages and the announcement the very next day that Bold Rock Hard Cider would be purchased by Artisanal Brewing Ventures, fellow Western North Carolina brewing giant Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is joining the ranks of changing ownership.
The new boss? Weaverville’s Zebulon Artisan Ales, for a sum reported to be somewhere in the hundreds. Conducted via PayPal, the transaction puts the U.S.’s third-largest craft brewery under the leadership of husband/wife duo Mike Karnowski and Gabe Pickard, who have run their modest operation out of a former firehouse in an alley off Main Street since 2016.
“We strive to be a pioneer in every conceivable manner,” says Brian Grossman, co-manager of Sierra Nevada’s Mills River brewery. “The entire team and I look forward to handing Mike and Gabe the keys to Malt Disney World.”
Within hours of the news hitting social media, packages of Sierra Nevada beer disappeared from Asheville-area shelves in a wave of local loyalty.
“It shows what they truly value,” says craft beer connoisseur Marty Zumstein. “Have I been to Zebulon? No, I’m always working during the 10 hours they’re open each week, but I hear good things.”
The new owners plan to take an “if it ain’t broke” approach to their new business while remaining firmly invested in the Zebulon brand and its focus on utilizing locally sourced ingredients and resurrecting historical recipes. Pickard is considering using the influx of funds to can her house-made sodas while Karnowski “might go to a few more metal shows” each year.
“Or travel to Mars. I haven’t decided,” he says.
It’s time to play (North and South) America’s favorite game show:
Prescription drug, marijuana strain or Asheville brewery?
-Ace of Spades