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Closed brewery is vandalized

The night after it abruptly closed, the Black Star Line Brewery was victimized by a break-in and vandalism, including the writing of racial slurs on the taproom's walls.

Hendersonville police responded to an alarm at the business at 131 Third Avenue West at 2:47 a.m. Friday, said police Capt. Bruce Simonds.

"They found the door open," he said, and the vandalism. The DVR for a security camera also was missing. "You wouldn't have any video at that point," Simonds said.

An incident report said the vandal or vandals gained entry by breaking the glass, "wrote racial slurs on the wall" and took the security device. The business was locked up at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"Thanks for the love, Hendersonville," the brewery said in a Facebook post at 5 p.m. Thursday.  "At this time, we will no longer be operating on 131 3rd Ave W. We'll let you know about updates as soon as they are available. Thank you."

A sign on the door confirmed the closing, saying Black Star Line "will no longer be in operation at this location."


The break-in was the second instance of racially charged threats to have hit Black Star Line, which billed itself as the first "black and queer-owned" craft brewery in the Asheville and Hendersonville area. On Nov. 16, brewery employees reported that they had received email threats with racial slurs and that some equipment had been damaged.
“We are just getting started N----,” the email said. “We hate N----. Especially gay, men hating n----. We still coming …”
Detectives are still working on that case as well, Simonds said.

'Not a regulatory issue'


State and local alcohol enforcement officers said they had no open cases against the brewery.

“They had a contract to transition from the old brewery to the new one,” said Web Corthell, assistant supervisor for the state Alcohol Law Enforcement office in Asheville. “We looked into (the licensing) on a complaint basis. That was weeks ago.” No violation was found. “Based on what I read, it just sounded like it was a financial thing but it’s not a regulatory issue,” the agent added.

Hendersonville police Sgt. Bruce Darrah, the ABC officer for the city, also said Black Star Line had no permitting violations.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that owner L.A. McCrae had asserted in an email that Black Star Line is “still in business,” noting that its beer could be found on tap at several locations. 

“We’ll be hosting a town hall to answer people's questions and a party to celebrate the accomplishments in (Hendersonville). Stay tuned for details," McCrae told the Citizen-Times report.

In a metro area awash with microbreweries, Black Star Line made an outsized amount of news in its short time in business in Hendersonville. In an interview in December on the statewide public radio show "The State of Things," McRae told host Frank Stasio about her background growing up in the church in Belair, Maryland, and her desire to start a brewery that specialized in sweet beers and featured ingredients from traditional African styles.

Black Star Line's closing is the second brewery to stop operating at the 131 Third Avenue West location. Basic Brewing Co. closed on Sept. 3 after operating in that space for 18 months.