Tour the roots of “Beer City USA.”
By Hope S. Philbrick
Asheville, North Carolina claims the title, “Beer City USA.” And a good argument can be made that it all started with Highland Brewing Company.
Highland Brewing Company was Asheville’s first brewery and celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.
Founder Oscar Wong was born in Jamaica and started brewing as a hobby in Asheville in 1994. Highland Brewing Company rolled out its first kegs in December of that year. Built almost entirely of retrofitted dairy equipment, the original brewery in downtown Asheville could produce up to 6,500 barrels of beer per year. The company moved to its current location in 2006 and now has the capacity to brew over 50,000 barrels each year—plus, there’s room to grow. Oscar’s daughter, His Leah Wong Ashburn, now serves as company president.
Free tours are offered daily, and are a great way to learn specifics about the company as well as how beer is made.
“Tours are generalized,” says Grant DaSantos, hospitality general manager. “We cater to a wide variety of people”—from novices to aficionados—“so there’s a little something for everyone. The main goal is that they have a good understanding of how we make and package beer.”
Tours are first come, first served. If you prefer a private tour, call ahead to make arrangements.
New event space, currently under construction, will be strictly 21+. A new rooftop bar, which will boast spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, will also be 21+ only. 21 Plus Salute!
It’s easy to say “cheers!” to that, whether you’re sipping a seasonal brew or popular standard at Highland Brewing Company.
Highland Brewing Company
12 Old Charlotte Highway
Asheville, North Carolina…
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– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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