Twenty hopping years in Western North Carolina’s beer history

1993: Smoky Mountain Brewery opens in Waynesville. It closes one year later.

1994: Oscar Wong and John McDermott start Highland Brewing Company in the basement of Barley's Taproom in downtown Asheville.

1997: The Blue Rooster, Asheville's first brewpub, opens next to Barley's featuring Highland beers exclusively. It closes a year later.

Laughing Seed Café co-owner Joe Eckert opens Jack of the Wood pub/Green Man Brewery.

Barley's co-owners Jimi Rentz and Doug Beatty hold inaugural Brewgrass Festival, which will become one of the top beer festivals in the Southeast.

Asheville Brewers Supply, Asheville’s first homebrew supply store, opens.

Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters homebrew club begins meeting regularly.

1998: Two Moons Brew ’N View opens in Asheville. The next year, Mike and Leigh Rangel buy the business and change the name to Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company.

1999: Catawba Valley Brewing Company is born in the basement of a Glen Alpine antique mall.

MALT starts Blue Ridge Brew Off homebrew competition, which becomes one of the largest such events in the Southeast.

2001: French Broad Brewing Company opens in nearby Biltmore Village with Jonas Rembert, previously the Green Man brewer, at the helm.

2003: Andy and Kelly Cubbin launch Appalachian Craft Brewery in Rosman; it soon moves to Fletcher.

2004: Dieter Kuhn and Sheryl Rudd start up Heinzelmännchen Brewery in Sylva, producing German-style beers.

2005: Jason Caughman and Dave Quinn open Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, producing the area’s first certified-organic beer.

Green Man Brewery moves from Jack of the Wood to Buxton Avenue in Asheville, opens tasting room that locals affectionately call Dirty Jack's.

August 2005: North Carolina "Pop the Cap" legislation passes, enabling brewers to create beers with up to 15 percent alcohol by volume.

2006: Highland Brewing moves to east Asheville warehouse space, expands production.

Local entrepreneurs Mark and Trish Lyons launch the Asheville Brews Cruise, ferrying beer lovers from brewery to brewery.

December 2006: Bruisin' Ales, Asheville's sole beer-only retail store, opens.

2007: Catawba Valley Brewing Company moves to Morganton, opens tasting room.

2007-08: Local farmers, including Echoview and Hop’n Blueberry farms, begin experimenting with growing hops.

January 2008: Inaugural Winter Warmer Beer Festival launches in downtown Asheville.

May 2008: Wedge Brewing Company opens in Asheville's River Arts District. Owner Tim Schaller teams up with former Green Man brewer Carl Melissas, known for his Belgian-style beers.

February 2009: Asheville Brewers Alliance formed. Mike Rangel of Asheville Brewing is first president.

March 2009: Oyster House Brewing Company opens inside The Lobster Trap restaurant in downtown Asheville.

Spring 2009: Asheville ties with Portland, Ore., for first place in first BeerCity USA poll, put on by Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian.

November 2009: Craggie Brewing Company opens in Asheville.

January 2010: Lexington Avenue Brewery opens gastropub/brewery in downtown Asheville with Ben Pierson brewing.

2010: Asheville Beer Divas begins holding monthly meetings for female brew aficionados.

April 2010: The new Biltmore Brewing Company contracts with Highland Brewing to produce two beers for Cedric's Tavern on the Biltmore estate.

The Grove Park Inn also contracts with Highland to produce GPI’s Great Abbey Ale.

May 2010: Dennis Thies buys and expands Green Man Brewery. John Stuart continues as brewmaster.

Nantahala Brewing Co. in Bryson City begins selling beer.

June 2010: Asheville wins BeerCity USA title outright; ABA and Brewgrass organizers put on first Beer City Festival in Asheville’s Pack Square Park.

Just Economics puts on first Just Brew It homebrew festival spotlighting the region’s home brewers.

February 2011: The Brewers Alliance and N.C. Brewers Guild entice beer expert Charlie Papazian to speak at an educational event at Highland Brewing.

Spring 2011: Appalachian Craft Brewery moves operations to Hendersonville, opens tasting room, changes name to Southern Appalachian Brewery.

Asheville wins BeerCity title again.

Nantahala Brewing opens tasting room.

Highland Brewing employee Trevor Reis wins first Asheville Beer Masters Tournament.

September 2011: Riverbend Malt House opens in Asheville, begins malting North Carolina-grown grains for local breweries.

October 2011: The Thirsty Monk opens nanobrewery in south Asheville with Norm Penn brewing.

December 2011: The first local canned beers roll off the line at Asheville Brewing Company.

Frog Level Brewing Company starts up in Waynesville, becoming Haywood County’s first brewery.

January 2012: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, Calif., announces that it will open the company’s second brewery in Mills River, about 12 miles south of Asheville. Production will start in late 2013.

March 2012: HeadWaters Brewing Company opens for business in Waynesville.

April 2012: New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colo., announces it will open the company’s second brewery in Asheville’s River Arts District. Production to start in 2015.

Brevard Brewing Company opens in downtown Brevard.

May-June 2012: The first Asheville Beer Week, an 11-day celebration of craft beer, is held.


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