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Hendersonville police investigate messages with racial, anti-gay slurs against new brewery

Hendersonville police are investigating after messages that contain racial and anti-gay slurs were sent to Black Star Line Brewing. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Police are investigating messages that contain racial and anti-gay slurs were sent one of the newest breweries in the mountains.

Black Star Line Brewing opened in downtown Hendersonville about a month ago. The owners said their goal is to have a business where patrons can feel free to be themselves.

But over the past two days, messages have started appearing in the comments section of their website. The messages contain threats of violence and even death against blacks and gays.

"This place exists for people to be welcome and included, and not hated or threatened. So, this only proves the necessity for a place such as this," said Javier Naranjo, Black Star's operations manager.

Folks were there Friday night for the beer, but that's not all.

Some folks have become regulars in just a short time, others were there because of what they've heard.

"It just makes you feel sick, that this place might not be welcome in our town," one patron said.

Black Star Line solicits comments about quality, service, maybe some customer advice on its website. But they didn't expect the threats.

A Hendersonville police officer was at the business Friday evening investigating the latest email that came in earlier in the day, one of three in the past two days.

While investigators do their job, people who love this mountain city are stopping in for beer and to offer support.

"The people here tonight, I think, especially tonight, are coming out to take a stand and say this is not acceptable, we're here for more than this," Naranjo said.

When Derrick and Summer Stipe heard what was happening, they brought the whole family.

"For our town, I think it's huge," Summer Stipe said. "That a queer/black-owned brewery would open in Hendersonville, it's courageous and they're welcome here."

"We're a very arts minded, but also very inclusive neighborhood, and I feel like, you know, either get onboard or go somewhere else" Hendersonville resident Dane Whitlock said.

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