Written by Leah Ashburn of Highland Brewing Company
Highland Brewing Company recently updated its iconic logo for a new era.
“Why wouldn’t you do it? The company runs itself.” It’s my favorite quote from a well-intentioned friend, circa 2010, regarding my questions about joining the family business. No doubt he saw eternal happy hours and spontaneous international travel in the name of research, while cheerful brewer-elves made liquid gold.
The perception wasn’t unusual—craft beer was growing faster and faster and Highland was one of the more established breweries in the country, especially in the Southeast, where all of our beer was sold.
It was around that time that I heard my other favorite quote from someone I had just met: “I’m thinking of opening a brewery. I heard it’s an easy way to make money.” About 5,000 new breweries later in 2018, it’s not easy, and I make half of my prior income. But it’s amazing.
Also around the time of these comments, I was facing a life change. Three of them, actually—marriage, moving, and a new job.
Marriage was the easiest decision of the three. After 48 years, you know when you know.
When I say to Ashevillians that I lived in Charlotte, some responses sound like condolences. I admit, I didn’t know what I was missing. But after 27 years in the same place, it was hard to leave some friends. (Other than that, I don’t miss it.)
The job change entailed joining the family business. There are obvious benefits when you have a great relationship with your father and an incredible company and industry, but the responsibility… and the complexity…
The company, as it turns out, does not run itself.
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