Letter: Yay, more beer

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the Carolina Beer Guy’s article about the expansion of the French Broad Brewery [French Broad River Brewery Looks to the Future,” Oct. 18, Xpress], he neglected to mention that it comes at the cost of losing a valuable community space.

The brewery’s expansion has forced the closure of the Toy Boat Community Arts Space, via a nonrenewal of the lease, a not-so-smooth move many of us recognize as the unofficial “Asheville eviction.” Toy Boat has been home not only to arts and theater, but also countless other community events like meetings, classes and fundraisers, often at no charge.

A brewery expansion is a poor substitute. We don’t need more beer or breweries. We need more space for people to have real, multifaceted lives beyond the Disney-fied dystopian construct that Asheville has become at a cost to all else.

— Milo Marlow

Editor’s note: An article on the loss of Toy Boat’s space, “Toy Boat Seeks a New Harbor” appears in the Nov. 8 Xpress and online at avl.mx/4ax .


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14 thoughts on “Letter: Yay, more beer

  1. Daryl

    I like the Toy Boat but their location was terrible. No parking and the place was in rough shape. Besides, a place that requires you to rent it out to use it or pay an entrance fee is NOT a “community space”.

    Calling the city a “Disney-fied dystopian construct” because one of countless event venues closed down is knee jerk.

    • Jason W

      Toy Boat, while far from ideal, provided a performance space were many small performing arts groups could do their chosen form of art. The space included, although minimal, lighting and sound equipment.
      Of course they had to charge fees, because they wanted to keep their doors open. However their fees were considerably less than these “event venues” you speak of (which in reality are really more focused on weddings and receptions, where they can charge exorbinate amounts of money and get away with it.)
      For example Toy Boat may have charged somewhere around $150 per night for use of their space, whereas The Masonic Temple charges upwards of $500 per night for use of theirs. A small performing arts group such as Anam Cara Theatre, or Asheville Vaudeville could never afford to operate at in a space that charges $500 a night.
      In actuality there are only two affordable performance spaces in Asheville: one being Toy Boat, the other being The BeBe Theatre. With the loss of one of those spaces, performance arts groups in Asheville will be hard up to find a space to perform in.
      So in my opinion, bemoaning the loss of the Toy Boat space to an expanding failing brewery is far from a knee-jerk reaction, it is a considerable loss to the community.

        • Jason W

          The Magnetic Theatre doesn’t regularly rent out it’s space to outside groups. The same goes for NC Stage, and ACT. Different Strokes PAC is working on a space in the south slope, but there is no word on if it will we available to outside groups, and the Diana Wortham has plans to create two additional performance spaces, but that won’t begin until the Art Museum is completed.

  2. Deplorable Infidel

    I believe that Marshall has it’s own wondrous community art space for the writer to enjoy without having to drive into AVL …

    • Peter Robbins

      And there are several places where you can have a beer now. Once again, Marshall leads the way!

    • Big Al

      If you are talking about Marshall High Studios, I am not sure they do performance art except on special occasions.

      Besides, a group like Toy Boat and its’ affiliated troupes value the artistic freedom that is hard to get from venues that someone else owns (and insures).

  3. BMacAVL

    “We don’t need more beer or breweries…” what we don’t need is more HOTELS!!!!! Why not just stop approving new hotel projects and build affordable housing for folks who live and work in the community…the beer brings people into town making money for businesses but at the same time our government and tourism council keep approving multi-million dollar hotel projects that are not being constructed to the art deco detail that most of use love…why you may ask…so they can continue the gentrification of downtown and all surrounding neighborhoods at a much lower cost than if they were forced to build in a style that would resemble the art deco architecture movement.

    • Alan Ditmore

      Hotels are a type of housing and yes we do need them, far more than we need either breweries or art spaces. I hope hotels displace both!

  4. Bright

    “We don’t need more beer or breweries. We need more space for people to have real, multifaceted lives beyond the Disney-fied dystopian construct that Asheville has become at a cost to all else.” Disney-fied dystopian contruct is THE perfect description of Aville!

  5. James Cassara

    “We don’t need more beer or breweries”. Says who? They continue to open and the vast majority stay in business, so the market is certainly there. If at such a point there are “too man” some will close. That is how it works.

  6. Jason

    Speak for yourself. I like the beer and breweries. If you would like to see something different feel free to take the risk and open whatever business you would like, but don’t ridicule others for taking a huge step and investing in their future. As far as Toyboat goes, they should purchase their own space if they don’t want this to happen again. When you rent or lease, you are at the mercy of the property owner.

  7. Alan Ditmore

    We Need HOUSING, at the expense of BOTH breweries and community art space! BOTH cause homelessness and NOT BY ACCIDENT!

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