The Complementary Spouse and I were enjoying our morning coffee while reading the weekend Wall Street Journal. She came across an article about the term “grand slam” and how it migrated from the card game bridge to general usage to baseball to other sports. As she was reading it she came across the following paragraph which caused us both to laugh about how times have changed.
The rapid popularity of bridge brought its lingo into common use by the turn of the 20th century, and “grand slam” gained a more general meaning of “a great success.” When Asheville, N.C., easily passed a Prohibition referendum in October 1907, the Winston-Salem Journal referred to it as “the grand slam made by the prohibitionists.”
What makes this so funny to us now is that Asheville won the title “Beer City USA” in 2010 and 2011. It tied with Portland, Oregon for the title in 2009 and with Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012. In a poll put on by USA Today and 10Best, it came in as number three on the list of Ten Best Beer Towns. The fourth annual Asheville Beer Week just ended two weeks ago. It is said that beer rivals the Biltmore House as a draw for tourist to the area.
Asheville and adjoining towns are home to at least 28 breweries including the East Coast locations of Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Oscar Blues. Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are ranked at number three and four respectively on the Brewers Association list of Top 50 Craft Breweries. We also have two hard cider makers and four craft distilleries in the area. Our local community college even offers an associates degree program in brewing, distillation, and fermentation which has competitive entrance requirements.
The city fathers buried in Riverside Cemetery might be rolling in their graves but the rest of us are enjoying Asheville’s new grand slam just fine.