This award is presented each year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm, and support have contributed to the craft brewing movement. In 1994, Oscar Wong founded Asheville, North Carolina’s first craft brewery, Highland Brewing Co., kicking off a craft beer renaissance that took the city from sleepy mountain town to the craft beer capital of the Southeast. Wong is widely recognized as the “Father of Asheville Craft Beer.” In 2019, the brewery celebrated 25 years of quality craft beer and independent family ownership. This year, the brewery will celebrate Wong’s 80th birthday and his pioneering spirit, which continues to inspire the local brewing community to this day.

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