Highland Brewing donates collection of COVID-era artifacts to Smithsonian | Local News



ASHEVILLE – Highland Brewing Company is pleased to donate a collection of COVID-Era artifacts to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The museum collects items from communities, businesses and individuals across the country to document how the United States coped with the global pandemic.

These objects are collected not only to authenticate and detail scientific events that have affected our country, but also to highlight corporate and community responses within the museum’s curatorial units. Highland was one of many breweries across the country invited to contribute artifacts from the pandemic to show how the beer industry has adapted.

Theresa McCulla, Curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the museum, said, “We are delighted to accept the donation of these Highland Brewing Company artifacts to the museum’s collections.

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Artifacts included Highland Dining Room signage indicating public health measures, a fabric face mask sewn from a Highland branded bandana, a colored floor sticker guiding dining room patrons to maintain safe social distancing and a single-use paper menu. The brewery also submitted Rising Haze IPA wrappers and sample cans to showcase a beer released near the height of the pandemic.

“The Highland Dining Hall was closed due to the pandemic in the spring of 2020, so Rising Haze was Highland’s first virtual and package-only beer release,” said Leah Ashburn, Owner and President of the Highland Family. Brewing Company. “The name Rising Haze IPA was inspired by the foggy mornings we have here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but the name took on new meaning for us in 2020 as we all felt the need to get out of the haze of the pandemic.”

Highland’s beer portfolio has continuously evolved since 2020. Rising Haze IPA was replaced by Hazy Heights IPA in the brewery’s year-round portfolio in the summer of 2022.

Highland’s articles help historically record how the brewery, like many other food and beverage companies, pivoted business models and best practices to continue serving their communities given the constraints of the pandemic.

McCulla concluded, “Together, this collection of Highland artifacts provides valuable and beautiful documentation of an era of unprecedented challenge and resilience within the American brewing industry and our society at large.”


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