ASHEVILLE, N.C. – When you’re the very first brewery in Asheville, NC — Beer City, USA — and your iconic logo has been around for 24 years and has successfully and exponentially grown your brewery’s business, why would you change? And how brave do you have to be in order to execute such a change?
“We’ve been refreshing our brand through our beer for over two years,” said Highland Brewing President Leah Wong Ashburn, referring to the company’s many new beers and the introduction of cans in the market. “Because we lead with beer. But in doing that, we created a divide between our beer and our brand. It’s time to close the divide.”
“So, we are focused on four concepts inherent in Highland: authenticity, pride in our Asheville home, consistently excellent beer, and leadership,” she continued. “We are Asheville’s Pioneers in Craft Beer.”
To bring the beer and brand together, Highland worked with Helms Workshop of Austin, TX, for six months of extensive research and development. The firm’s depth of experience in craft beer and working with heritage brands, along with a personal tie to the Asheville area, made the choice clear. The brewery will roll out an entirely new look in labeling, packaging, point of sale, marketing and even in the brewery’s tasting room. Highland Brewing Company will now sport imagery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a bold and iconic pioneer’s compass and the clear messaging that Highland is Asheville’s first brewery.
The new look arrives in February 2018 and was forged under the leadership of an internal branding team, Marketing Manager Molly McQuillan, and Ashburn, the second-generation family owner who became Highland’s President in 2015. She assumed the role from her father, founder Oscar Wong, and she’s confidently leading the business into its next iteration, its next profile of consumer, and its next inventive level of making beer, including sours and a barrel-aged beer program.
“We are authentic when our actions align with our words,” she said. “And when our brand aligns with our beers. We are so much more than Dad envisioned in 1994 and with this work we state who we are today. This refreshed brand shares a clear message – it honors the path we created and says we’re still innovating and leading.”
Highland Brewing was founded in 1994 as the city’s first brewery in a downtown basement in Asheville, North Carolina, by retired engineer and entrepreneur Oscar Wong. Now distributed in 7 states and with an annual production exceeding 46,000 barrels, Highland is one of the largest breweries in the Southeast and has the third largest solar panel installation in an American brewing facility.* Today, the company is led by Wong’s daughter, Leah Wong Ashburn, and has more than 50 full-time employees. More information is at www.highlandbrewing.com
*Nov 28, 2016 https://www.solarplaza.com/channels/top-10s/11397/top-40-solar-beer-breweries