Highland Brewing on Tuesday toured a group through its new expansion. (Check out the photos below, sent in by a loyal Ashvegas reader.) The expansion will allow Highland to double production and create a rooftop bar venue for patrons. As I recall, the new rooftop venue should be opening up to the public later this summer or fall.
A few more details about the expansion, from a September 2014 press release issued by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce:
In conjunction with the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), Highland Brewing Company announced expansion plans today to add 15 jobs and invest $5 million in new equipment and facilities over the next three years. The expansion, which includes tanks and a new bottling line, will increase its brewing capacity to over 60,000 barrels, or 828,000 cases, and enable the company to expand their distribution over time. (Note: The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority gave Highland a $850,000 grant to help fund this expansion.)
Highland was Asheville’s first brewery after Prohibition and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The origin of Asheville’s thriving brewery scene arose from a hobbyist’s passion for good beer in 1994 when a three-person Highland crew rolled out their first barrels of Celtic Ale from the basement under Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria downtown. The founder, Oscar Wong, has been credited as the Godfather of craft beer culture in Western North Carolina.
Today Highland Brewing Company has 47 full-time employees and is Buncombe County‘s largest brewery. The metro area totals 19 breweries and counting in a fast-growing cluster that yields a growing regional economic impact in increased jobs, a developing supply chain industry, and boosted tourism.