Asheville, any way you drink it

OK, I am really not a prude, and I occasionally have a drink, but I am concerned about the widespread promotion of alcohol in Asheville. Is anyone else?

These past two summers I’ve observed way more staggering, vomiting people wandering the downtown sidewalks than ever before.

We are producing our own sake, moonshine, wine, hard cider, and a gazillion different beers. There are new breweries showing up downtown and in almost every surrounding community. Everyone is singing their praises. We have brew fests of several varieties including Asheville Beer Week. We have brewery tours. We have an Asheville Beer Club. We have brewery calendars and weekly articles describing the latest variations.

We can buy beer while we shop for clothes and outdoor gear (Black Dome), we can do yoga and drink beer (four local breweries are participating), we can pump gas while drinking a beer (The Brew Pump), we can cycle around town and drink beer or wine (Amazing Pubcycle), we can go for a trail run and drink beer ( Hash House Harriers: “A drinking group with a running problem,” says the Meet-Up page) and, most recently, we can start drinking hard cider at 9 a.m. (Urban Orchard).

I understand this is good for the economy and tourism AND we are creating a culture where drinking several alcoholic beverages anytime, anywhere, any day is the norm. What will the impact of this be on our health, our alcoholism rate, our drunk driving arrests or our street fights?

Is anyone collecting any data on this?

On there is this quote: “Asheville, per capita, has one of the highest rates of craft brew consumption in the Southeast.”

Is anyone else worried?

Linda Block


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9 thoughts on “Asheville, any way you drink it

  1. Jason W.

    Ever been to Germany? Or Belgium? The Netherlands? England? All of these countries have a long brewing tradition, with little problems.

    • LauraH

      I hate to tell you this, but they don’t drink alcohol while shopping or buying gas in Germany. And the fact that they “don’t have problems” (which is not entirely true) says nothing about US culture.

  2. Dionysis

    Well, at least it’s not like some states, Texas for example, where the state ABC Board is considering allowing alcohol to be sold at gun shows.

  3. ash90210

    I work downtown, and I’ve noticed this, too. While other countries, as mentioned above, indeed have long brewing traditions, and the claim is that there isn’t a problem, one doesn’t really know without living there – the cultural relationship to the drinking, and general perspective on getting gassed, may not be as similar to how we approach it here in the states, as we’d like to think. It would be interesting and timely to research.

    I’ve lived in Asheville for over a decade, and while there has always been a “drinking culture” here, it has definitely been capitalized on, and there is something a little unsettling about it. Drinking is fun and social, but it has become more and more woven into daily life. A lot of people I know that live here spend an excessive amount of time drinking at the bars. I have no doubt there are plenty more people out there in the surrounding area who don’t partake, I just don’t see them because I’m smack dab in the center of it. Like the writer above stated, I too have seen on many occasions, walking home from work, young people throwing up and staggering in the streets. There is an immaturity to it all, and I witness many incidences lacking respect for others, this including the homeless.

    A few people I know have moved away in the past year, and all of them have remarked that while living here in Asheville, they consumed more alcohol than ever before. Upon leaving, that lessened. Is the growing drinking culture ultimately insidious? Not sure. But I can tell you I personally have been affected by it … and I am leaving, too. Every US city has plenty of alcohol consumption going on, but I don’t think I can align myself with a city that specifically promotes itself so heavily through alcohol. Beer and yoga? Really? That almost sounds like it’s promoting dependency! Life is very enjoyable without it, trust me… and when working in downtown Asheville, some people tend to forget that.

  4. I am one of the founding members of the Asheville Hash House Harriers and I find this article offensive. While the writer points out the many opportunities to do fun things in Asheville where there is the opportunity to have a beer or adult beverage, she completely fails to cite a single example of any of those events ending poorly or with police involvement.

    The Asheville Hash House Harriers was formed in 2009. Since our inception, we have promoted athleticism, supported local businesses and breweries, created and supported tourism to the area with our larger events, and raised thousands of dollars for the American Heart Association, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Movember Foundation, an organization that supports Prostate Cancer Research. Each Holiday season, our group also does a canned food drive and supports the Manna Food Bank. Our focus has never been just about “beer” but rather about running, community, and camaraderie.

    I am disappointed that the Mountain X published such a poorly researched and far-stretching article that casts a negative light on several Asheville Businesses and Asheville athletic groups. In the end, consumption of alcohol is the responsibility of the individual, not the groups or businesses that include an adult beverage with their activities.

  5. chops

    I’m not worried about the alcohol. I’ve never seen any negative consequence of it.
    …But I am worried about all the BAD DRIVERS out there. Every day I see people speeding, and not using their signals. We have a lot of people on the road who are from outside the area and are unfamiliar with mountain driving. I also am concerned with the number of car wrecks. Is anyone collecting data on THAT!? It’s bad. Not to mention all the burning of fossil fuel. (Have you seen the air quality reports this summer?)
    Maybe Asheville should curb the promotion of sightseeing, touring, and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. That website romaticasheville has on the homepage their very first Thing-to-Do the BRP and *scenic* drives– keep your eyes on the road, people!!
    In my opinion, we need less car driving (dangerous!) and more bike riding.

  6. Kate

    Asheville has much more to offer and much more to boast than its breweries. Craft beer may be a unique offering of the town, and an emerging trend in the tourist economy, but I, too, and disappointed that beer has stolen the spotlight from the many fascinating aspects of the Asheville community. To me, its just sad to see the city that I love become such a “beer town” in such a short period of time, like any other tourist trap. When I moved to Asheville in 1999, I was inspired by the consciousness of the people that I met. Alcohol was always a part of life, but not central to daily activities the way it is now.

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