Want a pale ale with that popcorn or a stout with those Junior Mints?
While soft drinks have long been the beverage of choice at movie theaters, many cinemas around Asheville have folded beer into that mix, some with big lines of craft beer. After all, Asheville Brewing built its brand around combining a craft brewery with a second-run moviehouse, while Wedge Brewing shows films on an outdoor screen in warmer months.
When it comes to mixing movies and craft brew, no one in Asheville has been doing it longer than Asheville Pizza and Brewing on Merrimon Avenue.
The combination discount cinema, restaurant and brewery opened in 1998 as Two Moons Brew-N-View. There are 16 beer taps in the cinema and another 16 in the restaurant area.
“If people are eating (in the theater), they usually go with something lighter,” said company president Mike Rangel. “But if they are just ordering beers, it’s Shiva IPA or Perfect Day IPA.” The cinema mostly sells its own beers but offers some guest brews too.
Rangel believes that cinemas, both locally owned and those operated by big chains, are looking for ways to enhance the movie-going experience, and beer is part of that. “It’s the same as theaters putting in more comfortable seating,” he said. “If you’re going to pay for a first-run movie, you’ll want a beer, too. It just makes the evening better.”
Sometimes, Asheville Pizza and Brewing will offer a beer that plays off a movie. “When we showed ‘Highlander’ (the 1986 cult fantasy feature), we brought in Highland Gaelic Ale,” Rangel said. “And we sold a ton of it, too.”
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