first beer kegs in December 1994. Built almost entirely of retrofitted dairy equipment, our original brewery in downtown Asheville could produce up to 6,500 barrels of beer per year. At the new location we now have capacity to brew 20,000 barrels annually.
Until 1998, our beer was available only in kegs and hand-filled 22-oz. bottles. That year, we added a four-head bottling machine, which enabled us to start packaging in 12-oz. bottles. In 2002, a used Krones bottling line was installed, capable of filling 7200 12-oz. bottles per hour. We still hand filled our 22-oz. bottles. Although we brewed twice daily, four days per week, the demand for our beer continued to exceed the supply.
After evaluating short-term options for increasing production, we opted temporarily to brew and bottle some of our beer using the facilities of Wild Goose Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. Our long-term goal was to once again brew all our beer locally, and in October 2006, we were thrilled to begin operations in our larger, more efficient brewery in east Asheville. Here, we brew twice daily, three days per week in a
"Santa Rosa" 50 barrel brew system. We bottle at least once a week, packing 2,000 cases or more. Our filler is a 1976 model, 28 head, long stem, Krones Schlippe. In our larger brewery, we have room for much more equipment on the bottling line. Now that the line can keep up with the filler, we can fill about 360 cases an hour.
Besides our commitment to quality, important factors in Highland 's longevity and success are owner/founder Oscar Wong and Vice President/Brewmaster John Lyda, who have been at the brewery since its inception. What began as a three person operation has grown into a staff of eighteen. Oscar and John oversee the staff in brewing, packaging, and sales. Currently, the Highland brand is sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia."