A State of Relaxation

A State of Relaxation: Why kava—a recreational, relaxing drink—is cropping up in WNC
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Sovereign Kava, Elevated Kava Lounge (inset)

Over the last ten years, the United States has seen a rise in an alternative beverage, kava—and so has Western North Carolina. The kava plant is a shrub that originates in the Pacific Island region. Although there are more than 100 varieties of kava, each with their own unique properties, its overall benefit is that consuming it produces “quite a strong relaxation effect—depending on the dosage, of course,” explains Caleb Beissert, manager at Sovereign Kava. “It can be mildly intoxicating in larger doses. In smaller doses, it’s just very lightly uplifting.” 

North Carolina’s first kava bar, Sovereign Kava in Asheville, was established in 2010, and for many years it was the only locale of its kind in the city. But in the last couple of years, there has been a kava “boom” in Western North Carolina. Elevated Kava and Shakedown Lounge have both opened their doors in the last few years, along with several other kava bars that are scattered throughout our region.  There’s no doubt that the beverage will continue to grow in popularity, Blesser shares. “It’s a growing trend. I like to say they’re in between a bar and a coffee shop.” Blesser attributes this favorability of kava bars to a desire for dry drinking in a region filled with breweries. “In Beer City, it authors a really nice alternative to the alcohol scene,” he says.

268 Biltmore Ave., Asheville
Sunday-Tuesday & Thursday noon-midnight, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday noon-1 a.m.
(828) 505-8118; ashevillekava.com