Highland Brewery: Low Impact Beer

In 1994 the Highland Brewery began brewing beer in downtown Asheville, North Carolina with some refurbished dairy equipment.  I was lucky enough to take a "tour" back in 2001 which consisted mainly of standing in place and drinking.  My pint was joyfully snatched from my hand and refilled every time it was 1/4 of the way below the rim: the proverbial never emptying glass.  Needless to say the rest of the workday was shot, but the beer was well worth it.

Fast forward 11 years and I find myself living in Philadelphia, inspired by the writings of Paul Hawken, and Amory Lovins (among many, many others) looking for companies, leaders, and designers that are trying to move towards a capitalism that is more complete.  I was additionally inspired by a John Todd who lectured at the Academy of Science and spoke about how, during his tenure with UVM, he worked with the Magic Hat brewery in Burlington, VT to develop a closed loop brewing process.

This was of particular interest to me for two reasons:  UVM and Magic Hat were just across the lake when I was growing up, and...I love beer!  So I decided to look close to Philadelphia and wrote a little something about Dogfish Head Brewery

I then set upon a mission to track down all my favorite beers and see if and how they fit in to my other interest of what Hawken calls, Natural Capitalism.  The first on the list is Highland Brewery, a favorite beer brewer of mine and one of the biggest things I miss about living in North Carolina, and Asheville in particular.  All of their beers are amazing and full bodied...the Kashmir IPA and the Oatmeal Porter are my personal favorites.  Highland's claim to fame is their malty yet well bodied Gaelic Ale.  It's a crowd pleasing beer

With regards to a green initiative they hit the trifecta of building reuse, sustainable manufacturing, and community stewardship.  You can click HERE for the particulars, but these guys try and do it all.

In terms of community outreach, Highland has partnered with the Southern Appalachian Highlands ConservancyAdopt-a-Stream, and Manna Food Bank, and offer support to other organizations in their tasting room.  And that room is amazing see below:

Tasting Room!

I toured again last May with a raucous group, had a blast, and could not recommend the facility more.  Part of that tour lead us to the French Broad River Brewery, but that is a blog for another day.... Cheers!


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