Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Morgan Owle-Crisp - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Morgan Owle-Crisp

As a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee living in Haywood County in the North Carolina mountains just west of Asheville, Morgan Owle-Crisp long held caution around beer. “Many people in my culture are not proponents of alcohol,” she explains. “Liquor was historically used to manipulate Native people into contracts and negotiations when they were not of sound mind.”

To her own surprise, Owle-Crisp not only reframed her relationship with alcohol, but became one of the few Native women brewery owners in the country. She names the craft beer scene in Asheville as inspiration: With fewer than 100,000 people, the town has welcomed more than 50 breweries over the past two decades.

As Owle-Crisp tasted and explored, she discovered a new way to connect with familiar botanical ingredients. “Thanks to my heritage, I have a background in agriculture and foraging,” she says. “I used to dig for ginseng and bloodroot with my dad and granddad.” Craft beer, she realized, offers inventive ways to use natural ingredients. Importantly, beer need not be a poison. “Everything is medicine,” she says. “When you start using that lens, it changes everything.” Everything is also, it turns out, a story.

Previously, Owle-Crisp worked in book publishing, sharing the art, legends, and recipes of the Cherokee. “Often our people are represented as relics of the past,” she says. With 7 Clans Brewing, she aims to change that perception, ensuring a place for her endangered culture, educating beer lovers, and spawning new conversations with every sip. “Storytelling and craft beer fit together synergistically,” she says.

Click here to read more about some of 2024’s other Imbibe 75 People and Places to Watch.

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