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Fostering Community One Pint At A Time: Meet L.A. McCrae

L.A. McCrae holding a glass of her beer
Courtesy of L.A. McCrae
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For L.A. McCrae, beer is a ministry. She owns Black Star Line Brewing Company – the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina. 

The brewery specializes in sweet beers and uses botanicals and herbs similar to traditional African styles.

McCrae does not want Black Star Line to be just another spot to get together for a cold one. She wants her beer to bring people together.

Many of their brews are named after activists, like Stokely Carmichael and Audre Lorde, and McCrae hopes that visitors will learn something about civil rights history while they are there. The space of the brewery itself is another opportunity for McCrae to bring social justice issues to the forefront of conversations, and she is adamant that anyone and everyone is welcome.

Growing up in Bel Air, Maryland, McCrae was involved in activism at a young age. She grew up in the church and was shaped by elders who gave her the works of intellectuals like Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Today McCrae aims to enhance her community’s critical consciousness one pint at a time.

Host Frank Stasio talks with McCrae about her Hendersonville-based brewery and her personal history with social justice activism.   

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.