Oscar Wong

Founder, Vice President, Schmoozing and Cleanup Guy

Highland founder, Oscar Wong, was born in Jamaica in 1940. At 18, he left the island to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he completed his masters in Civil/Structural Engineering. After retiring early from a successful engineering career that took him all over the country, Oscar landed in Asheville in 1994 and started Highland Brewing “as a hobby” in the 3,500 square foot basement of Barley’s Taproom in downtown Asheville.

He is an active member of the Rotary Club and other community-minded volunteer endeavors. He was awarded Small Business of the Year in 2007/2008 and the William A. V. Cecil Award for Leadership in Hospitality in 2011, both by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Backed into it by helping an award winning brewer get started


What do you like about the beer industry?

The people and the special social lubricant, beer


What is your favorite quote?

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Thomas Jeffereson, a practical intellectual


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Content


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

A Belgian triple, transparent, layers of complexity, depth, easy to meet


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Only one? Tour the breweries, restaurants, visit Biltmore, The Arboretum


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Interacting with an exceptionally talented, fun staff

Leah Wong Ashburn

President/CEO, Family Owner

Leah was a Highland customer for 17 years before joining the brewery her father, Oscar Wong, founded in 1994. She started her brewery career as the Charlotte sales rep in 2011 and was named Highland’s President in 2015 and CEO in 2018. She led Highland through a re-brand and many accolades, including The South’s Best Brewery by Southern Living Magazine. She received a James Beard Award nomination in 2018 and was the Asheville Chamber’s Woman Executive of the Year in 2019. She also won Best Dancer in Asheville’s 2019 “Dancing with the Local Stars” fund-raiser and rappelled down a 7-story building to raise awareness for the needs of senior citizens.

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I think we all know the answer to this one…


What do you like about the beer industry?

Fun and community are baked into it.


What is your favorite quote?

Comfort the disturbed. Disturb the comfortable.


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

My parents


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy! Well traveled, open minded, thankful, loved and loving.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Gaelic Ale - balanced, reliable, high quality but not high maintenance, happy around food


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Hike around Craggy Mtn, pack a picnic, tube the French Broad, hang out in our Meadow, and catch the sunset on our roof. Then the dance party begins…


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

We elevate and celebrate beer and business, people and place.

Brock Ashburn

Vice President

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Married the President


What do you like about the beer industry?

I can embrace my nerdiness unabashedly.


What is your favorite quote?

Everybody does well when EVERYBODY does well!


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Teddy Roosevelt


What do you want to be when you grow up?

An old nerd


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

NEIPA - Beautiful Aroma with low bitterness…


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Hike, bike, and swim!


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

I get to work with fun, happy, and intelligent people!

Matt McComish

Brewery Director

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

A Highland staff member


What do you like about the beer industry?

creativity, the people, drinking beer


What is your favorite quote?

My philosophy is basically this, and this is something that I live by, and I always have, and I always will: Don’t ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or where you’ve been, ever, for any reason whatsoever.”


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Alan Alda


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Assistant to the Regional Manager


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Orval


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Bearwallow mountain for sunset.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Working with great folks.

Patrick Sullivan

Sales Director

Julie Funke

Marketing Director

Nikki Mitchell

Hospitality Director

Richie Whitson

Human Resources Director

How did you become involved in brewing?

I’ve always loved craft beer and did a little homebrewing years ago. Now that I got the job at Highland I’m ready to learn and dive back into it.

How did you find a job at Highland?

Timing, persistence, and the internet.

What’s your favorite beer?

I can’t name just one. Bell’s Hopslam is usually at the top of the list, and Troegs Nugget Nectar, and Highland Black Watch, and Liefmans Goudenband, and…

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

“We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!” – Tommy Lee

What do you like about the beer industry?

Great people, community and culture. Having the opportunity to be a part of getting someone’s new favorite beer into their hands.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

My mom.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Happily retired and an expert fly fisherman.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

A Session IPA, I like for the party to keep on going.

Abbey Temoshchuk-Reynolds

Production Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Persistence, good timing, and even better luck


What do you like about the beer industry?

The camaraderie and general encouragement of nerdiness.


What is your favorite quote?

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” –B.K.S Iyengar


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Prince & George Harrison


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Content & fulfilled, and helping others feel the same in their lives. Also someone with a lot of goats.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Is Abbey Ale too cliché? :)


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Get up early to go for a long hike in the Pisgah Forest, followed by a reward beer & food on an outdoor patio with my dog.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Being in a work environment that cultivates creativity, ingenuity, and innovation, and has fun while doing it!

Liza Van Cauwenberghe

Finance Director

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Begged my way into an internship and then politely refused to leave.

What do you like about the beer industry?

I love the laid back atmosphere and that everyone is free to be their weirdest selves- and we’re pretty weird!

What is your favorite quote?

Guess what, I have flaws. What are they? Oh I don’t know. I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car. So sue me.— Michael Scott

Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Oscar Wong - I swear I’m not sucking up. He’s successful yet humble and gives back wholeheartedly to people and the community. And he has that laid-back Island attitude where nothing gets to him!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Knowledgeable and kind.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Duchesse De Burgogne- I’m Belgian, and a perfect blend of sweet and tart!

If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I’d take a hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway- probably Craggie Pinnacle because it’s short with amazing views, walk around downtown and see the buskers and window shop, eat at any one of the amazing restaurants and see some live bluegrass. And visit Highland of course!

What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The people and the beer are the best!

Megan Best

Accounting and Regulatory Coordinator

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I had a really lucky day searching online job postings.


What do you like about the beer industry?

It is great how breweries collaborate with and support each other, even while in direct competition. It’s about building up, not breaking down.


What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

From the Crescent City to the Great Salt Lake, it ain’t what you got, it’s what you make.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Those who fights to protect the planet and improve the lives of everything that inhabits it.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A fine, upstanding, pilsner of the community.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Berliner Weisse: German roots, usually tart but rarely bitter.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Hike to my favorite swimming hole or float down the French Broad river, followed up by dinner and a concert.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Working with folks who are passionate about their jobs and that everyone pitches in and works across departments to solve problems.

Megan McArthur

Accounting & Production Data Specialist

How did you become involved in brewing?

I began frequenting local breweries soon after moving to Asheville and became interested in the craft brewing industry. After taking some courses on the subject, I was lucky enough to land a job at Highland.

How did you find a job at Highland?

While browsing upcoming events at the brewery, I saw the job posting on Highland’s website and immediately applied.

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

I drink, therefore I am.

What do you like about the beer industry?

The unique people that work in the industry and the fun atmosphere. The weekly beer tastings are a nice perk too.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

Anyone who follows their passions in life.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Be a happy and well-traveled person with great stories to tell.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style

Belgian Witbier – I’m easy to get along with like a witbier is easy to drink, yet there is a mysterious complexity about me.

Marissa Burns

Private Events Manager

How did you become involved in brewing?

I left a marketing job two years ago hoping to break into the beer industry… a hop, skip and a jump later and here I am working at Highland.

How did you find a job at Highland?

I was moving to Asheville from Brooklyn hoping to start my career in the beer industry. I had an alert set up online for jobs being posted at Highland and I think I applied within 30 minutes of the job post going up!

What do you like about the beer industry?

Craft beer brings people together to drink meaningfully. There’s nothing better than having a conversation about beer, over a beer

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Albus Dumbledore

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

Michelle Obama

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Travel around the world, keep family close, do work I am proud of.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I think a Kolsch…. Because I’m bright and easy to get along with.

If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Breakfast tacos at Taco Billy followed by a donut from Hole followed by adventuring around South Slope and ending at a Tourists game. Would definitely hit up a few food trucks along the way!

What is your personal favorite Highland Beer?

Daycation for summer and Black Watch for winter…. or maybe Midnight Summit for winter… or Black Mocha Stout… honestly, all of our dark beers go perfectly with a bon fire.

What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

I love working for a company that I feel so genuinely proud to be a part of. I’m happy to come in every day… even the long ones! And the beer of course. What a perk!

Nicole Vega

Venue Coordinator

Eeva Redmond

Communications Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I looked for a brewery that was family-owned, independent, and valued quality and sustainability. Highland is all of those things and I am proud to be part of that story.


What do you like about the beer industry?

I love the camaraderie and the care we show for our craft, our colleagues, and our customers.


What is your favorite quote?

My Grandmother always said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

I look up to a lot of people since I am pretty short, but I try not to talk down to anyone.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I once had a colleague describe me as a Grissette; Sounds fancy, but ultimately approachable.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I’d try to eat biscuits for breakfast, tacos for lunch, and BBQ for dinner with a beer pairing for each meal


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

This workplace feels comfortable and familiar. We work hard, we work together, and everyone is there to say cheers when I’m ready for a beer.

Kaitlin Trimboli

Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

How did you become involved in brewing?

I worked in restaurants and bars in Cincinnati, Ohio (513 BABY) and became super interested in the world of brewing.


How did you find a job at Highland?

Applied about a million times, emailed everyone I could…basically harassed them until they gave me a job to shut me up.


What do you like about the beer industry?

The people and the relaxed environment. There is a beer out there for everyone, you just have to find the right style, and I always like that challenge. I also love how much beer can connect people.


What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

If you can dream it, you can do it!” (that is tatted on my arm so I’m kinda stuck liking it, right?)

also… “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light”. Thanks Dumbledore.


Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

Walt Disney…hence the Disney quote above. I worked at the parks for 2 years and try to go as much as I can to visit! Anytime I need motivation, a good ole Disney movie is my go to.


What do you want to do when you grow up?

A whole lot of nothing! Just kidding…kind of. I want to travel and relax and enjoy the good life. But I really do love what I do now. I get to combine my love of marketing, photography, and beer…what more could I want?!


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I would say I am a fruited sour. A little sweet, a little sour… the best of both worlds, duh.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I would enjoy the great outdoors, brewery hop, and stuff my face with all the amazing food AVL has to offer!


What is your personal favorite Highland Beer?

That’s tough… Daycation was the first IPA that made me realize “oh you DO like IPAs” and that opened up a world of possibilities. And Thunderstruck was the first beer that taught me I actually do like dark beer too. I reallllllly love Slow Crush and Black Watch.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The people and how much we all appreciate each other’s hard work. Everyone’s opinion matters, everyone respects each other, and we all work out butt’s off and have a great time together! I truly enjoy coming to work every day, which says a lot!

Katie Smith

Marketing Admin

Amy Heald

Sales and Marketing Logistics

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

A couple of special connections, good timing and a resume filled with a variety of related work experience


What do you like about the beer industry?

It is so fun and unique! The beer industry in Asheville is quite special. Competition is certainly in the air, but breweries are supportive of one another and the people behind them are extremely talented!


What is your favorite quote?

Be the change that you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Ghandi


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

My family and friends. All of my family - my husband and children, my mother and father, my brother and sister-in-law, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, all of them. No matter what I do, they are always supportive and proud of me. I don’t know where I would be or what I would do without each of them.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do I have to grow up? If so, I want to be a great role model for my children; for the future is in their hands.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I suppose I’m like any high gravity brew - I will make your smile bigger and your heart lighter!


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I really enjoy getting out in nature more so than perusing downtown. I would hit the trails and check out our beautiful Appalachian Mountains and gorgeous waterfalls. And of course, at the end of the day, head to Highland Brewery for a rewarding, delicious craft beer!


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

It feels so amazing to be a part of this family. I am honored to work with such talented and caring people. The beer that we produce is of top notch quality and everyone behind it genuinely cares about our products. Until I worked with Highland, I had no idea how much was involved with this business. From the brewery to the taps and shelves in the market, our outstanding beer experiences quite the adventure, every day! Cheers!

Julie Swantek

Chain Account Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Preparation and positivity


What do you like about the beer industry?

Upbeat attitudes and commitment to growth, community and beer of course!


What is your favorite quote?

Don’t expect life to change around you unless you are willing to take that change within yourself. -Kia Miller


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

My Dad is my undeniable role model. I have never met anyone so kind, patient, and willing to put others before himself.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A cooking show host on a ranch in Montana


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Definitely a Pilsner, easy going and best enjoyed outside!


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Visit Highland Brewing!


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

It means so much to me to work for a family owned company with 25 years of industry experience. Our sustainable practices and engrained community values make it an amazing place to work! (and we have amazing beer)

Mark Conti

Area Sales Manager - Western North Carolina

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Started coming in on my day off from my other two jobs and scrubbing…persistence paid off.


What do you like about the beer industry?

There’s so much! From recipe creation and collaboration, to meeting other passionate and creative industry members, to being part of a team that makes a high-quality and consistent product, and working with a great distribution network. Never a dull moment!


What is your favorite quote?

May the best of your past be the worst of your future.


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Whomever has made a living doing what they love, and still loves what they do.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Surrounded by family and good friends.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Saison - pretty complex and some people think they’re strange.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Cruise down the French Broad River with a 15pk of Daycation IPA!


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Working for an independent and family owned company that cares for and about it’s employees.

Toby Arnheim

Area Sales Manager - Charlotte, Triad, Roanoke

How did you become involved in brewing?

Started homebrewing the week after I graduated from college and haven’t looked back since.



How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

During a beer tasting I was able to trick Leah into giving me an interview.



What’s your favorite beer?

Oatmeal Porter….freakin good



What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

If you’re going to be stupid, you better be tough.

-My Pop



What do you like about the beer industry?

Being able to learn something new everyday.



Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc.?

My wife.. she really is my better half



What do you want to be when you grow up?

Still growing up.



Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Definitely a Gaelic Ale because it never goes out of style…

David Bradley

Area Sales Manager - Georgia

How did you find the job at Highland Brewing?

I loved the beer so much, so I kept asking for a job, and finally got the dream job.


What do you like about the beer industry?

You get to hang out with happy people!


What is your favorite quote?

and this too shall pass…


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

King David from the Bible


What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to own a biker bar on the beach.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Blackwatch


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Ride my motorcycle on the parkway.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The family atmosphere!

Tim Oldread

Business Development Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Preparation and persistence.


What do you like about the beer industry?

The beer, the challenge, the friends.


What is your favorite quote?

“We’ll figure it out. We always do. And we don’t have any other choice.”


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

“Lots of people. I rely on many to constantly help me improve.”


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy and accomplished.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Highland…seems to fit.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Eat a great breakfast, hang with friends, drive and hike the Blue Ridge Parkway, eat a great lunch, float on the river, visit Highland Brewing, eat a great dinner, and sleep well.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The people, the beer, and the collaborative work environment. It’s a great work culture.

Chad Underwood

Market Development Manager - Triangle

Michael Kissiah

Field Sales Representative - Charlotte Metro

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I had just left my job as NC Market Manager for Palmetto Brewing. A mutual distributor partner recommended me to Highland during my hiatus. Turned out to be a great fit for both of us!


What do you like about the beer industry?

I love the passion for our craft, and the community that makes it what it is.


What is your favorite quote?

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” - Mahatma Gandhi


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

My 3 yr old daughter teaches me so much everyday. And I’m a better person in so many ways because of her. So, in a way, despite being shorter than me, I look up to her:)


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A better version of myself.


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I think if I were a beer style, I’d be a Berliner Weisse. I was born in Germany, and I absolutely love that beer style. Slightly sour, but refreshing and enjoyable!


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Walk the streets downtown, and watch the people. What a beautiful culture this town has.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

It feels like a family. Everyone cares about everyone. That’s genuine. And its a very rare thing to find these days.

Holly Perez

Market Development Manager- Wilmington/Myrtle Beach

Adam Kamerer

Field Sales Representative - Western North Carolina

Erin Larsen

Market Development Manager- Upstate South Carolina/Low Country

Katie Schaefer

Taproom Manager

Tyler Bowlin

Assistant Taproom Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

From a friend at a previous job.


What do you like about the beer industry?

There’s beer involved.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Face-to-face relationships with our customers and coworkers! Also beer…Free Beer


What is your favorite quote?

I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” -Unknown


Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

My grandparents. They were and are the coolest people I’ve ever known.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Mr. Rogers


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style?

Barrel-Aged Blackwatch, I grow stronger over time.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Float the French Broad in a tube/kayak/raft followed by a Tourists’ baseball game.

Will Dowling

Assistant Taproom Manager

Rhianna Scott

Events Coordinator

How did you become involved in brewing?

I’ve worked in the events world (running, wedding, & beer) in Asheville for years and they’re almost always centralized around breweries. Adventure, Ashville and beer go hand-in-hand!

How did you find a job at Highland?

Consistently working hard and keeping great relationships with local event professionals!

What do you like about the beer industry?

Whether you’re in brewing, events, production, or marketing, we have a common bond in the beer industry. We have our different goals but all can relate over our favorite beers, beer release memories, events at the breweries, concert beer, hammock beer, fire pit beers, etc!

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

“I am big enough to admit that I am often inspired by myself..” Leslie Knope!

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

The hardworking women in the Asheville event/beer industry! They’re tough and trail blazers.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I want to keep constructing groundbreaking events that combine multiple goals – selling beer, creating shared memories for the community, and showcasing local businesses.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Coffee porter for sure. Not just because I drink a pot of coffee a day, but because my personality packs a kick!

If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I’d run/hike up to Looking Glass Rock with a lunch and a cheeky Mandarina IPA. I’d follow that up with a visit to Sunny Pointe for their fried green tomato sandwich and brewery hop for the rest of the evening! Anywhere with a patio.

What is your personal favorite Highland Beer?

I’m a huge dark beer gal – year round! I have a special place in my heart for Black Watch. Our Oatmeal Porter also NEVER gets old. I will enjoy it whether I’m bundled up in 25 degree weather or on a hammock in July!

What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

We all have a goal to create high quality/memory making experiences for our customers. Whether it’s an unforgettable event or an unforgettable beer. Each person is important in keeping this company strong and moving upwards!

Drew Sherrill

Campus Amenities Coordinator

Emily Reeves

Merchandise Coordinator

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I posted a photo at a different brewery on social media, and one of my friends who worked here commented on my post, and I was working here within a week from that day! I started out giving tours and selling merchandise back in March of 2018.

What do you like about the beer industry?

Well the beer is a good start. I also love how much the brewing industry focuses on the outdoors along with beer.

What is your favorite quote?

Decide what to be and go be it. - Easier said than done, but sung well by the Avett Brothers.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

The Barack Obama / Joe Biden friendship.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A healthy mix of Leslie Knope and April Ludgate. Also proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Definitely something light in a can. I’m the one you’d grab to take with you on a hike, or for a day on the lake or river.

If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

I would wake up early and go on a sunrise hike up off the Blue Ridge Parkway, probably at Black Balsam Knob, then I would do a few more short hikes before coming back to town for lunch. In the afternoon I would hang out at a brewery along the river, and in the evening I would hit up the live music scene downtown!

What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

I love how much Highland focuses on sustainability and the community. It’s an amazing company with incredible people and fantastic beer.

Belinda Rodabaugh

Bar Operations Coordinator

Ryan Trevathan

Hospitality Ambassador

Charlie King

Hospitality Ambassador

Matt Smith

Hospitality Ambassador

Mary Helen Ezell

Hospitality Ambassador

Jami Rogers

Hospitality Ambassador

Alan Robinson

Hospitality Ambassador

How did you become involved in brewing?

Moved to Asheville, got my mandatory homebrew kit and started brewing beer.

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I would like to think that it had something to do with my resume, personality and knowledge of beer but like most here have said, “It doesn’t hurt to know someone on the inside.”

What’s your favorite beer?

I’ll stick with Highland nere. Black Mocha Stout is dark, toasty and smooth…and when you know the right people, totally free!

What’s your favorite saying, quote?

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.”

What do you like about the beer industry?

The simple fact that I can get paid doing something I love.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc.?

Regan, my best friend for the past 10+ years. She has e ery trait that one could ask for in a friend and is proof that sometimes a dog is as good as any man!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A child at heart.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

An American Stout - My roots come from Ireland but I am uniquely American. Usually unfiltered, more approachable than most people would expect, extremely dark but always smooth and sweet.

J Unger

Hospitality Ambassador

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

One day, a friend said Highland needed help in the parking lot…. That was 5 years ago….


What do you like about the beer industry?

The variety


What is your favorite quote?

I’m the one who’s gonna die when its time for me to die….. so let me live my life the way I want to. -Jimi Hendrix


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

The 14th Dalai Lama, Joseph Campbell


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Don’t know yet…. Probably just happy….


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Black Watch…. Dark but sweet


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Get a tattoo, get a beer, eat some food, see live music.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

My co-workers in all departments

Andrew Klosinski

Technical Services Manager

Jamie Rowe

Production Brewing Manager

How did you become involved in brewing?

I got a job running a brew pub when I was in Atlanta.



How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

By dropping off a well-timed resume.



What’s your favorite beer?

I am partial to a good IPA.



What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

We are going to turn this team around 360 degrees.” - Jason Kidd, upon his drafting to the Dallas Mavericks.



What do you like about the beer industry?

Good atmosphere, good people, good music, good beer.



What do you want to be when you grow up?

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in the orginal Star Wars movie.



What do you want to be when you grow up?

A great golfer. No wait, a great husband. Then, a great golfer.



Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I’m like a lager in that I am well-aged.

Shane Cummings

Brewing Manager - Pilot Room & Innovation

Kevin Kellar

Cellar and Yeast Manager

Jesse Lapinski

Brewing Team

How did you become involved in brewing?

I bought my first homebrew kit in college and started brewing in various dorm rooms. The girls seemed interested.



How did you find a job at Highland?

The neighbors across the street.



What’s your favorite beer?

My favorite beer from Highland is the Kashmir IPA and my all tome favorite depends on the season but right now it’s the Dark Hollow Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from Blue Mountain Brewery.



What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

ASAP. Whatever htat means. It must mean, “Act swiftly awesome pachyderm!” - Dr. Suess



What do you like about the beer industry?

The creativity and science behind each beer.



Who is your idol? Who do you look up to?

Mostly my dad because he taught me the skills that I have today, and the guitarists from DragonForce keep me practicing scales.



What do you want to do when you grow up?

I want to be a master of all instruments and a climber of Mt. Everest and an astronaut and a National Geographic Explorer and a Pirate and a bartender at Highland Brewing Company.



Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

An Imperial IPA, they’re complex and high in octane.

Josh Jiles

Pilot Room Brewer

Drew Ashdown

Brewing Team

Katherine Castro

Brewing Team

John Mitchell

Brewing Team

Nate Corn

Brewing Team

Ashley Zerrick

Brewing Team

Kerry Rudisill

Quality Manager

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

I wanted to work here so I applied!


What do you like about the beer industry?

I find fermentation science (zymology/zymurgy) very exciting. I also love the Craft community and collaboration surrounding it.


What is your favorite quote?

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” - The Beatles


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

My parents & husband


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy and healthy if I must grow up : )


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Daycation - I love a good adventure, as much as I love coming back to my own bed!


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Hike, eat, and DRINK BEER.


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The people and vision of Highland. Integrity, collaboration, and ambition.

Megan Rayfield

QC Lead

Dan Vinson

QC technician

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

Started as Tour Guide


What do you like about the beer industry?

Lots of people in good moods


What is your favorite quote?

The mother of love emulates the shapes of Cynthia


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc?

Carl Sagan


What do you want to be when you grow up?

 Astronaut!


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

NEIPA, so hot right now.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

See all the waterfalls


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Almost all employees stay and share a beer together after work.

Jonathan Sorrentino

QC Technician

Pat Kazanjian

Facility Manager

How did you find a job at Highland?

Persistence. Bribery. Persistence. Begging. Persistence and a little more persistence…


What do you like about the beer industry?

Endless variety if flavors that can found in beers. And the people, there are a lot of really cool peeps in the industry.


What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

*nothing I can share here


Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

Mr. Rogers and Homer Simpson



What do you want to do when you grow up?

Grow up?? No


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Homebrew. Some are scared of it, some don’t understand it, some don’t like it, but those that give it a chance end up enjoying it.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Find a place to hike or motorcycle ride


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

The people

Sean Sutherland

Associate Distribution Manager

Tyler Melton

Warehouse Lead

How did you find a job at Highland Brewing?

It happened via a blessing in disguise and my friendship with our supply chain manager, Matt McComish. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity with Highland!


What do you like about the beer industry?

The many different aspects of the industry itself. Keeping pace with competition, trends, technology, and making a consistent product play vital roles for success. The beer in your glass is much more than the liquid itself.

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

There is such thing as good grief, just ask Charlie Brown.” - Michael Scott


Who is your idol, who do you look up to, etc.?

Eddie Vedder



What do you want to be when you grow up?

NASCAR Driver


Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

Miller High Life. Such a simple beer that represents enjoying the simple things in life.


If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Brewery hopping


What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

Working at Highland you feel a sense of family. It’s an honor to work for the pioneers of craft beer in the Southeast. The ability of our team to adapt to the ever changing environment of the industry speaks volumes to our consistently high quality products.

John Frederick

Associate Packaging Manager

Chris McGuire

Packaging Supervisor

How did you become involved in brewing?

I started brewing in college. Some friends of mine were home brewing, so I figured if they could do it, so could I.

How did you find a job at Highland?

I actually inquired about an internship, but but just missed the opening. I asked if there was anything else that Highland needed help with. “Mountain Medley’s” was the answer.

What’s your favorite beer?

Favorite Highland beer: Black Watch Favorite other beer: Trip to the Woods Maple Scotch ale from Sierra Nevada  

What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

In beer, there is freedom.  In wine, there is wisdom.  In water, there is bacteria.” Also, “It is what it is”, my personal motto.  

What do you like about the beer industry?

There are lots of great hard working, fun-loving people in this industry.

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

Gotta be Jeff “Puff” Irving, my brewing instructor in school. The man is a fountain of knowledge and fun to be around.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

To do what I love, which is anything that involves fermented beverages.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style

I guess I’m a bit like Gaelic ale. Well balanced, but with a interesting complexity and usually well liked.

Cooper Allison

Packaging Technician

Brendon Treible

Packaging Technician

How did you find a job at Highland?

I was at my wits end at my old job and applied for a Material Handler position on the Highland website. I was hired in August of 2019. Now I’m working in the packaging and distribution departments and couldn’t be happier.


What do you like about the beer industry?

The industry’s commitment to community, environment, and fun. Not to mention the simultaneous cultivation of individuality and camaraderie.


What’s your favorite saying, quote, etc.?

“Be excellent to each other!” - Bill and Ted

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” -Alan Watts

Who is your idol, who do you look up to?

The Wright Brothers and Neil Peart.


What do you want to do when you grow up?

Play drums professionally, fly planes, or guide folks on fly fishing trips.

Compare yourself to a beer brand or style.

I’m a chill and easygoing guy but I do love a good party, so….PBR.

If you were a tourist for a day in Asheville what fun thing would you do?

Hike, fish, go to shows, and try as many local brews as possible. People watching is always fun too.

What is your personal favorite Highland Beer?

There’s quite a few but I love the Highland Pilsner.

What’s your favorite part about working at Highland?

My coworkers. Everyone made me feel like a part of the team from day one and I can’t say that about anywhere else I’ve worked. Thanks everyone!

Cole Crusenberry

Packaging Technician

Ana Reynolds

Packaging Technician

Jim Bourdy

Packaging Technician