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Highland Brewing Co. Founder Oscar Wong Awarded North Carolina's Highest Civilian Honor

Wong was awarded the Order of The Long Leaf Pine on May 3, 2023. A public dedication of a commemorative plaque honoring Wong and the birthplace of the Asheville craft beer scene will occur on May 16th at Barley's.

Highland Brewing Co. Founder Oscar Wong Awarded North Carolina's Highest Civilian Honor

Highland Brewing Co. Founder Oscar Wong was awarded the prestigious Order of The Long Leaf Pine on May 3, 2023. This award is the highest civilian honor granted by the Governor of North Carolina and recognizes individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state.

To commemorate this achievement, a plaque honoring Wong and the birthplace of Asheville craft beer will be unveiled on May 16, 2023, in downtown Asheville at Barley's. The basement at 42 Biltmore Avenue housed Highland Brewing Co. for over a decade.

“Oscar’s dedication and support of so many others who followed him in the craft beer industry has resulted in thousands of jobs and a new industry that has over a billion-dollar annual economic impact in Asheville!” said Dana Stonestreet, Executive Chairman of HomeTrust Bank and Chair of the Boy Scouts 2023 Citizen of The Year dinner honoring Wong where the award was presented. 

Wong passed the leadership of the brewery to his daughter, Leah Wong Ashburn, in 2015. Ashburn now serves as Highland's President/CEO and second-generation family owner. The dedication of the plaque will be a public event downtown on May 16th at 4 PM at the Asheville Art Museum. The ceremony will feature speeches from the Chamber of Commerce and proclamations by Asheville's Mayor and County Commissioners.

“Dad’s charisma, wisdom, and genuine interest in people are inspiring. He has always valued doing more over saying more,” Ashburn said. “He and my mom share those values. For more than 55 years, she has been by his side. I love that we can do this together.”

Following the dedication ceremony, attendees will walk down the street to Barley's for a celebration with Highland beers. This event promises to be a memorable occasion for both Highland Brewing the City of Asheville, honoring a true pioneer of the craft beer industry and the birthplace of a beloved local brand.

As Highland continues to expand and innovate under Ashburn's leadership, the company's commitment to excellence and community involvement remains as strong as ever. This award and commemorative plaque serve as a testament to the impact that Highland has had on North Carolina and the craft beer industry as a whole.