Highland Brewery Makes The South’s Best Beer | Southern Living


It was accidental actually, although I brewed in college, I had a big hiatus of 25 years as an engineer. Sold my business. My wife suggested that I take a break. Four years later, I was introduced to an award winning brewer. I wanted to start a brewery. I came home to tell her about it, she was ecstatic. She says “Oh my god, I can’t think of something better for you to do.” She would have said that no matter what it was, because she needed me out of the house. It took me 16 years to get into the craft beer world, because I asked my father for a job when I was 24, and he turned me down. And then about eight years later, he offered me a job, and I turned him down. We kept talking about the brewery though, because it became so clear to me that Highland was so much more than a brewery, to him, to my family, to the community. And I knew it would be so much more to me if I joined. I don’t think that anyone saw what was coming for Asheville. For it to be the beer Mecca of the East Coast, is just really mind boggling. And I think that my father, who is really humble, he’s not gonna say that “I started this whole thing.” But he did. I think from the beginning, we focused on quality. We are the first legal brewery since prohibition. I love having him called the godfather of craft beer. It feels pretty good actually, because I’ve been called the grandfather of beer, which I don’t really like as well. Conservation is such an Asheville theme, and it’s great, because I feel like this community has lifted the brewery. And I’m hoping the brewery has also lifted the community. From the very beginning, we always felt like waste was just not a good thing. We’ve got over a thousand solar panels,. And on sunny days like today, we can power all of our operations, our entertainment, and our administration with the sun. There was a time when, if you had a flavored beer, like your fathers beer, or your grandfathers, it was one brand, one style for good. That’s not true anymore. We have to continue to come up with new styles, new branding, to appeal to people’s changing tastes. I would hope for people to walk into Highlands to have an initial like “Wow, this is cool place.” Fancy, is not one of the words that I want them to use. But I do want them to feel welcome. I want them to have amazing beer, I want them to be impressed by that every time. We know that no one beer makes everyone happy. And so finding that thing that clicks for you, and gets you to love something you’ve never discovered before, is a great experience for us.

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