Special Collections and University Archives

On Friday, May 20, Elizabeth Perrill (School of Art) along with Erin Lawrimore (Libraries – SCUA) and Richard Cox (Libraries – ERIT) hosted an opening of their new exhibit “Fire and Beer: Crafting Histories of Women, Ceramics, and Brewing” at Greensboro Project Space. The exhibit featured both South African Zulu and North Carolinian ceramic beer vessels. As the exhibit text notes, “Fire and Beer celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the many artists who offer us contemporary takes on beer and beer vessels. The ceramic vessels featured remind us that, on both sides of the Atlantic, beer brings communities together. Celebrating hand-crafted brews and beer vessels, we also preserve histories of our forebearers, and in particular our foremothers, in histories of beer and ceramics.”

The North Carolina beer vessels were borrowed from Four Saints Brewing Company in Asheboro, which features an exclusive “mug club.” The Four Saints Mug Club showcases mugs crafted by local potters, and individual Mug Club owners use their mugs whenever they are drinking in the Asheboro taproom. Originally a reward level on the Kickstarter campaign that helped fund the brewery’s opening, Four Saints now hosts an annual Mug Club auction that benefits multiple Randolph County nonprofit organizations. 

Four Saints also produced a special beer for the opening event. This beer, which was inspired by both South African and North Carolinian brewing traditions, was called Carolina Kuhle (“kuhle” meaning “it’s good” in Zulu). The mash used barley (a standard beer ingredient) along with corn grits, millet, and sorghum.

The Fire and Beer exhibit closed on May 31. To learn more about North Carolina beer history and see the research that Lawrimore and Cox (along with Libraries colleague David Gwynn) are creating and preserving on the brewing industry in our state, visit Well Crafted NC.

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