When Joe Dinan and Lisa McDonald met singing karaoke in Boston, they didn’t know they’d end up opening a vegan brewery in Hendersonville, NC—but that’s exactly what they went on to do!
Always an animal lover, Lisa says she thinks she “gave the bug to Joe,” who ended up sharing Lisa’s passion for animal advocacy. The pair chose a vegan lifestyle because of their awareness of the harm done to animals, the planet, and individual health through the non-vegan food industry.
Asked what prompted Lisa and Joe to open a vegan brewery, Lisa says, “We initially moved to North Carolina to buy some land, grow food, and rescue animals, which we did. … At the same time, Joe had been honing his brewing skills working at Wicked Weed and the Funkatorium (in addition to nine years of home-brewing and completing the Oskar Blues/BRCC Brewing Program). One day, we were talking, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to open a brewery and save enough money to start our own animal sanctuary?’ And then the lightbulb went off and we realized the answer was to open a brewery dedicated to animal advocacy. We filed the copyright the next day and started a business plan.”
Thus Sanctuary Brewing Company was born. Housed in a 140-year-old space that’s gone through many transformations, including former incarnations as a stable and a garage, SBC has a “pretty industrial vibe.” But Sanctuary Brewing is anything but cold. As Lisa puts it, “We literally opened our business to serve great beer and to make the world a kinder place.” That they do, with weekly shelter animal events,* as well as additional “campaigns of kindness,” like their donation wall, where anyone can drop off or take as needed coats, scarves, umbrellas, etc. SBC also works regularly with groups like Asheville Humane Society, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, and Full Circle Farm Sanctuary.
Additionally, Lisa and Joe don’t believe in competing with other local brewers. “We believe in helping to lift our community by supporting each other in business, kindness, and advocacy for all living things,” Lisa explains.
You can see why THE BLOCK off biltmore, Asheville’s first vegan bar, sees Sanctuary Brewing Company as kindred spirits! And why we’re so excited to be helping them celebrate their upcoming beer launch! On Sunday, January 31, SBC will be opening at noon with fifteen of their very own vegan beers, marking the event with two bands, The Stipe Brothers and The Carolina Catskins, plus food and games.
Here at TBob, we’ll be featuring one of SBC’s signature brews at our Grand Opening party at 6pm.(Details Here.) We’re thrilled to be the first (and so far only) Asheville bar to carry Sanctuary Brewing Company beer. THE BLOCK off biltmore’s Grand Opening will help support, our neighbor, Block by Block Industries, a work force development corporation, and jobs training program of Eagle Market Streets Development Corp.
So mark your calendar for Sunday, January 31—start with the Sanctuary Brewing beer launch in Hendersonville, then head to downtown Asheville for the Grand Opening at THE BLOCK off biltmore. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday: supporting good causes and having a blast!