In Suds & Sounds we turn the spotlight on breweries, focusing on the role of music in that brewery’s history, packaging, tastes, and in its city or town as a whole. The idea is to get beer and music lovers to connect with a side of the brewery that may often go overlooked, but one that we think is absolutely vital. To accomplish this, we are talking to the brewers themselves about their own love of music and the role it plays in how they approach their beer. And who knows, maybe we’ll even talk to a musicians from time to time to give a perspective from the other side.
Recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I noticed one of my longtime favorite artists, Bobby Bare Jr., sharing the news that a brewery had named a beer after him. Besides the silly name – Bobby Beer Jr. – I was interested know about a brewery that clearly has great taste in music. Upon researching Sanctuary Brewing Company, I found that music played a role in not just their beer naming, but in pretty much everything they do.
Located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Sanctuary was founded by Joe Dinan and Lisa McDonald 2015 as a community-focused brewery. The brewery maintains a busy schedule of music – both local and touring acts – and also hosts open mics. Music is seemingly a constant presence at Sanctuary, which makes it almost as much a music venue as a taproom. Besides the music, they also welcome animal lovers and frequently host events like yoga with cats, adoptable pet night, and fundraisers for local animal-oriented charities. All of these activities are complemented by beers such as Pineapple Express IPA, Cascara Kitten biere de garde, Carolina Panther Porter, and of course the refreshing Bobby Beer Jr. kolsch. Joe Dinan – who formerly brewered at renowned sour and IPA purveyors Wicked Weed – aims to use organic and local ingredients whenever possible, only adding to the hyper local, community-oriented approach of Sanctuary. And did I mentioned they’re all vegan? While there are tons of cool things happening at this nano brewery, I recently with chatted co-owner Lisa McDonald about Sanctuary’s symbiotic relationship with music.
How long have you been brewing and what do you consider your greatest triumph so far as a craft brewer?
Joe has been home brewing for nearly a decade, and professionally brewing since 2013. As for greatest triumph, we’d both definitely say opening a successful brewery that is not only highly competitive and well respected but also serves as a community center and a place that does good in the world.
Talk about the beer culture a bit in your town. What do people look for in a good beer and what do you hope to provide, and also do you see the beer scene as being linked in any way to the music scene?
We are located in Hendersonville, so we have a mix of the Asheville craft brew scene (tourists and locals), and our own small town culture. We run the gamut of folks who like their good old-fashioned American classics (light ales and porters), all the way to folks who are drinking on the cutting edge (fruit forward New England IPAs and fruited kettle sours). The music scene is as vibrant as ever in Hendersonville and Sanctuary is right in the middle of it. We have live music 6 nights a week, and have been rated one of the best local venues since we opened.
A lot of breweries seem to incorporate their own musical tastes into their packaging and presentation, whether it be a collaboration with a band, a tribute label, or a beer name that references something they like. Has you brewery ever done something like this, and if so can you tell us about it?
We actually named a beer after one of our musical idols, Nashville indie rocker Bobby Bare Jr. The beer is called Bobby Beer Jr. and Bobby played our taproom the day we released that beer, which was kind of a dream come true. We’ve got him coming back later this summer, stay tuned for updates on that! We also did a beer for Flat Rock locals Letters To Abigail, our LTA IPA!
In your opinion, is there a particular band or genre that is ideal to listen to while brewing beer?
It depends on who gets there first, as that brewer typically sets the tone. That said, the brew team can usually agree on listening to everything from Johnny Cash to Modest Mouse to Jack White.
Some breweries have gotten more into music through sponsoring tours, festivals, or even throwing their own versions of those. How do you think live music fits into the fabric of craft beer, and is this something your brewery has done?
We host live music 6 days a week, including open mics, bluegrass jams, etc. Music is an intrinsic part of who we are to ourselves and our identity in the community.
When naming beers, do you consciously try and reference songs, bands or albums, or do you find you naturally gravitate towards it?
There’s been some back and forth on this, Lisa LOVES Ryan Adams and has been pushing for a Rye’n Adams Rye for quite some time (she’s going to win).
Do you have any musicians or noteworthy people that you can say are fans of any of your beers?
We have done quite a few collaborations, and we made a beer with local fan favorites Letters To Abigal (the aforementioned LTA IPA). We are also currently working on a collaboration with ARCA racecar driver Leilani Münterwho is a friend and a hero to us because of her activism and all-around badassery, stay tuned for that as well! And we recently finished the first of 2 beers we’re brewing in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Kip Anderson, the 2nd brew will be coming out of Bourbon Barrels in 4 weeks!
Breweries often collaborate with other breweries for beers. They also have been known to collaborate with musicians. Is there a musician or band that you would love to collaborate with, and if so, what kind of beer do you envision you would brew?
We’ve done lots of collabs with other breweries, and now you’ve really got us thinking about asking one of our musical heroes to do a beer with us, what’s Ryan’s Address? 🙂
Sanctuary Brewing Company is located at 147 First Avenue Eastin Hendersonville, NC. For tap room hours, beer lineup and more visit sanctuarybrewco.com.
Check out other editions of Suds & Sounds: