At the new location, Highland now has capacity to brew 30,000 barrels annually. Up until 1998, beer was available only in kegs and hand-filled 22-oz. bottles. Later that year, they added a four-head bottling machine which enabled Highland to start packaging their tasty concoctions in 12-oz. bottles. In 2002, a used Krones bottling line was installed, capable of filling 7,200 12-oz. bottles per hour. Although Highland was brewing and bottling their beer twice a day, four days per week, the demand for beer continued to exceed the supply (which is the same problem we often have with our home refrigerators).
After evaluating short-term options for increasing production, Highland opted temporarily to brew and bottle some of their beer using the facilities of Wild Goose Brewery in Frederick, Maryland, with a long-term goal to bring back production and brew all beer locally. In October of 2006 Highland was thrilled to begin operations in a larger, more efficient brewery in east Asheville. Here, the expert staff brews twice daily, three days per week in a “Santa Rosa” 50 barrel brew system. Bottling at least twice a week, Highland packs up some 2,000 cases of beer and sends it out to into the world to all those less fortunate souls who don’t live in the area.
In October 2010 Highland opened its Tasting Room for people to drop in, sample tasty brews, and hang out with staff. The Tasting Room is open to the public Thursday-Saturday, 4-8pm, offering food & live music 6-8pm Fridays and Saturdays. Next to the Tasting Room is the brewers’ favorite toy – a 3-barrel pilot system where the staff gets to try out new recipes for fun and for possible inclusion in future productions. The Thunderstruck Coffee Porter was born in the pilot system room to such positive reviews that the Porter was graduated to a seasonal release!