The Full Story
Salt Face Mule Brewing Company is located in Western North Carolina where the Blue Ridge Mountains serve as a backdrop for the region’s rich Appalachian culture. The Appalachian history, people, art, and music are a way of life that date back to the 1700’s. Descendants from those who immigrated to this area created a culture that includes German, African, Scotch-Irish, and Native American influences. The heritage built from the strength of these settlers’ integrity fundamentally defines “Americana” as we know it today. As a tribute to all the old time farmers, hardworking mules and good friends, Salt Face Mule Brewing Company was born.
Salt Face Mule Brewing Company’s name is inspired by our friend, Sam Jones, along with memories of our ancestors who farmed the land in Western North Carolina for many years. Sam Jones embodies the values of the hard working men and women that makeup the Appalachian way of life. In stature, Sam is a tall slender man with long hair and a mid-chest beard. Sam is, and has always been, a gifted (lucky) person. He could shoot pool, play basketball, golf, dive, play ping-pong, pitch horse shoes, play corn-hole, and, of course, fish with the best of them. We used to play a lot of golf with this Yancey County legend. Our favorite part of spending time with Sam on the golf course was to hear his Appalachian Mountain “sayings”.
Appalachian English is sometimes referenced as Mountain speech and serves as one of the oldest varieties of English spoken in the nation. It can be narrowed down to sort of a Scottish-flavored Elizabethan English. The Appalachian dialect is a connection to our rich heritage that deserves to be honored along with its slang which is described as no other in the world. If you were playing golf with Sam Jones and someone sprayed a drive into the woods, you might hear Sam say, “You hit that into Aunt Tildey’s newground”; if a shot went into the water, he might say “You hit it into the babbling brook.” Sam had a saying for just about any occasion, but our all-time favorite was when he was thirsty. On a sweltering hot day, you would be guaranteed to hear him say, “I’m thirstier than a white face mule.” We could not help but laugh every time we heard him say this and finally pledged to him that we would use that saying one day. That day has now come, and we are honoring our commitment with the realization of the more aptly named Salt Face Mule Brewing Company.
Using Google will not offer any insight into the meaning of Sam’s white face mule saying. The true meaning was widely understood when old timey farmers used mules to tend their land. After a long day farming, both man and mules would return to the barn hot and thirsty. In order to cool themselves, the mules’ bodies and faces would perspire and lather up. When the lather dried, the salt from the perspiration remained making their faces look white. We have fond memories of the mules on our grandfathers’ farm and clearly remember their white faces after a long day of work in the field. Like Sam Jones, our grandfathers embraced the spirit of Appalachian life. Long after farmers had the advent of machines to aid them in farming, our grandfathers remained with their beloved mules tending the land. One of our grandfathers lived to be 91 years old, never owning a motorized piece of farming equipment.
Their individuality and strength of character stand as a reminder that celebrates the Appalachian ideal. Salt Face Mule Brewing Company’s portfolio of beer and food are prepared with the same commitment to character that makes the Appalachian culture uniquely individual. Now you know the full story of Salt Face Mule Brewing Company, a tribute to those farmers and mules who worked hard and enjoyed a nice and well-deserved cold drink at the end of the day.
We would like to say a special “thank you” to Pam North and Amber Allen for their help with this