After 13 years, we are returning to downtown Asheville! In addition to our brewery in East Asheville, we’ll have a Highland taproom anchoring a curated food hall concept in the historic Art Deco S&W Cafeteria building at 56 Patton Avenue. It’s a special homecoming for us as we join the folks at Ellington Realty Group and four-time James Beard award nominee Chef Meherwan Irani to revive this Asheville Art Deco treasure and create the S&W Market.
We love making bold moves on a meaningful and authentic path. We opened Asheville’s first brewery since Prohibition in 1994, we moved from a basement to our current destination in 2006, we navigated the shift to second-generation family leadership in 2015, and we revolutionized our brand in 2018. These decisions and consistent high-quality beer led us to become North Carolina’s largest native brewery. We are eternally grateful to be celebrated as The South’s Best Brewery and recognized by our peers and the press. As a result, I have been presented with many opportunities to open a second taproom across the Southeast, but I’ve had no interest in another location, until now.
Highland’s mission is to cultivate and celebrate beer, business, people, and place. With this opportunity, we achieve all four things.
Our finely crafted beer, in an exciting new business model, involving people and families with local roots, in an iconic place. It’s a perfect fit for our Mission. I will love enjoying a Highland beer in this building.
When my father started this brewery in the basement of Barley’s back in 1994, he could not have imagined 30+ breweries in town. He didn’t even want a taproom at the brewery!
Who’d have guessed that we’d return to open a second taproom downtown all these years later?
We’re returning to where we started, but with new eyes, new beers, and a unique opportunity to be part of the next chapter for this southern city.
Despite the ups and downs that this year has brought to our community, we remain excited to share this project’s evolution through our website and social media, so read more below and stay tuned for updates.
Leah Wong Ashburn
Second Generation Family-Owner
This project is rooted in people and family connections dating back almost a century. In 2017, brothers Douglas and Kenneth Ellington bought the S&W building that their great-uncle, noted local Art Deco architect Douglas Ellington, designed and built in 1928.
For this legacy project, Ellington’s team called upon their friend, Meherwan Irani, to consult on the restaurant business and he ultimately joined the team. This building is a passion project for all involved. When the group reached out to us, the discussions were always about family. There’s energy behind this project.
This is the right time, place, and the right group of people for our return to downtown Asheville.
The S&W Market will feature four curated, crave-worthy food stalls on the main floor that tell the story of the city in different bites. Highland will have two bars, one on the main floor with the food, and a full taproom experience on the mezzanine.
You’ll be able to get great food and a fantastic beer and sit on the main floor, the mezzanine - with a view of the activity below or a view of the city - or outside in the expanded sidewalk.
The design of the S&W Market, inside and out, is amazing. With an Art Deco facade and a full array of ornate elements from the terrazzo floors to the brass lighting fixtures overhead, this building is truly an icon of the period.
The S&W is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of the "most refined examples of the Art Deco style" by Douglas Ellington, "one of the most important architects practicing in North Carolina during the mid-20th century.” The S&W and Art Deco were part of Asheville's renaissance in the 1920s. As Asheville's first brewery, Highland shaped the resurgence of downtown in the 1990s. The S&W Market will connect two original "influencers" in a new chapter!
The S&W, and the beer served there, will authentically express the past, present, and future of Asheville.
This special place is perfect for showcasing our barrel-aged and sour beers, which emphasize local ingredients and are designed to give you a taste of place.
And, of course, the classics will be alongside them – Gaelic Ale and friends are always invited!