This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Jack Muldowney.
[Words & Images by Austin’s Helms Workshop]
When the first kegs rolled out from a small basement brewery built from retrofitted dairy equipment in downtown Asheville, Oscar Wong marked the birth of craft beer in Asheville. In 1994, Highland Brewing made history as the first brewery in North Carolina since Prohibition and introduced Western NC to a new way of thinking: beer didn’t have to be made across the country, it could be crafted locally by people passionate about the community.
Asheville’s first beer was enthusiastically embraced by the state, and Highland became an icon of craft and commitment to sustaining the Blue Ridge Mountains they love.
Today the mountains that cradle Highland’s 40 acres of wooded hillsides are as majestic as ever, but the brewing landscape has changed dramatically. The movement that Highland sparked has ignited in recent years, with a whopping 74 breweries covering the western part of the state. Highland was getting lost on the shelf and found that their branding didn’t fit what they’d grown to become. They didn’t brew Scottish beers, and had grown past the image of the Scotsman on their original logo. Enter: Austin’s design gurus, Helms Workshop (Who we’ve featured no fewer than five times already in our ‘Beer & Branding’ series).
They spent time with the Highland team in Asheville, working closely to unite their vision and craft a brand strategy and messaging centered around the brand’s most unique, authentic attributes. Highland’s pioneering spirit and their deep commitment to protecting the Blue Ridge mountains served as cornerstones for the new branding. The result is illustration, packaging, collateral and apparel that reignites a conversation with consumers and reflects Highland’s history and positions them for the future.
Pioneers of craft—yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Images from Austin, Texas design firm Helms Workshop.