About

The Skinny

Pisgah Brewing Company is located in beautiful Black Mountain, North Carolina just miles from Americas most precious watersheds. Specializing in craft brews made with all-organic grains and malts, Pisgah Brewing’s flagship beer – Pisgah Pale Ale – is a staple of the Asheville, NC beer scene.

Founded in 2005, Pisgah is known for producing some of the most sought after craft ales in Western North Carolina. Pisgah Brewing Company boasts a cozy taproom which is open daily with live music and events throughout the week, while also hosting events throughout the summer on WNC’s premier outdoor music venue, the Pisgah Brewing Outdoor Stage.

The Full Scoop

In 2003 Dave Quinn was a senior and a Music Major at the College of Charleston and an avid home-brewer, brewing ten gallons of beer on his back porch nearly every other week. Five of those gallons were carefully bottle conditioned, and the other five gallons ended up in a keg. The bottles were kept for home consumption for friends and guests, and the keg was taken to pot-luck parties in lieu of a covered dish. Dave’s beer became very popular at pot-luck parties. Eventually his friends convinced him that starting a brewery was a viable career path, and that the first step should be to enter a contest. The American Home-Brew competition is the largest in the world and that year out of 3148 entries Dave’s Pale Ale went on to the finals and took a Gold Medal in the English Pale Ale category.

The next step was to secure financing, and about fifty thousand dollars was raised through several friends and family. Dave cut his ponytail and shaved his beard before approaching bank with his award winning beer and business plan. He said “I’ve got an award winning product, and a great plan and a little bit of money, and I need help to get this thing off the ground.” The Banker smiled and kindly asked to see Dave’s ID, not believing that the clean shaven kid before him was legal to drink beer let alone start a brewery to make it. The answer from the banking world was a resounding NO, and the dream began to wither…until… A friend referred Dave to another Dave, of New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach, who happened to have some old brewing equipment collecting dust in a warehouse. For an unbelievable fifteen thousand dollars enough equipment was purchased to put together a small yet fully functional brewery. It is unlikely very many deals have ever been that good, or very many ever will again.

Black Mountain was chosen as the ideal home for Pisgah Brewing based on several factors. First and foremost, the rent was cheap! And also first and foremost, the water here is simply the best, as some of the major players in the craft brewing world have recently noticed. The wall in the brewery between the grain mill room and the brewers office used to extend the length of the room and encompassed the original 2800 square feet of space, that the brewery rented for just $650/mo. Black Mountain also has an individual identity often associated with new age cultures and the creative arts through the once famous Black Mountain college, as well as local farm school Warren Wilson and the LEAF festival.

Dave moved to Black Mountain to begin construction of the brewery in the Winter of 2003/04. His neighbor rode Harley’s and owned his own flatbed truck, and the two struck a deal to move the equipment for gas money and a case of beer. Of course PBR would not suffice, and Dave brewed his trucker buddy a custom batch to repay his kindness. A few weeks later the two drove down to Myrtle Beach at 4 am, strapped a whole load of brewing vessels to the truck and carried them up I-26 westbound into the sunset.

Another person that helped Pisgah get off its fledgling feet was Ed, owner of Palmetto Brewing, who gave Dave a deal on several hundred old used Bung Style kegs, he said, “They are $25 a piece, take as many as you want, pay me when you can…..and thanks for not opening your brewery in Charleston!” Dave rode away with a UHaul full of old cooperage, and a few months later he brought Ed a check and bought another truckload.

The logo was originally designed by Dave, but with a limited talent for visual arts, another serious player was sought out to bring the sketched out idea into a full Technicolor masterpiece…enter Richard Biffle. Based out of Virginia Beach, Biffle’s art is iconic and recognizable. He is responsible for the “SANTANA” logo and works with legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Black Crowes, Allman Brothers and Warren Haynes.

With his help Pisgah’s logo was refined and the small company gained some serious street cred. The first batch of Pale Ale was brewed in the early spring of 2005 with grain and hops that were bought using a loan from Dave’s college roommate. Money was really that tight in the beginning, and yet another awesome person stepped in to help Pisgah get its wings. The first keg of Pisgah Pale was sold to Barley’s downtown on 4/13/2005 and Pisgah was warned that they would have to sell at least a keg per week to keep a spot on the wall. Two days later Barleys ordered two more kegs to make it through the weekend. That Friday more kegs went out around town to places like the Town Pump, Westville Pub and the Mellow Mushroom, all of which remain strong supports of Pisgah to this day.

All things Organic: Originally Pisgah was a certified Organic facility, which meant not only sourcing organic ingredients wherever possible, but it meant keeping a large amount of government compliance paperwork on hand. Eventually the National Organic Program started changing and tightening their certification guidelines, but without any real word knowledge of how their rules would actually affect businesses. The changes would prove costly to Pisgah and would have required some changes to the brewing process, that they were unwilling to change. The decision was made to halt participation in the program in the spring of 2013, yet Pisgah remains committed to the philosophy and still uses organic grain as a base of all its beers.

At first the brewery was only open to the public on Thursdays from 5-7pm. Then the hours got longer and so did the lines for beer, as the place grew in popularity. It got to the point where people would stand up thirty and forty deep in a line to get a pint and hang out in the brewery with no place to sit at all. One night a band came and asked to play for tips, that night Dave caught someone selling grilled cheese in the parking lot, and realized it was obviously time to build a bar.

The taproom opened in April 2008, and not long after Pisgah got its first business loan. This time the banks came to them and offered equipment financing. Several weeks later, orders were placed for two 30Bbl fermenters and hundreds of new kegs with handles and the machine to wash them. With the influx of new equipment and the hiring of a couple people to help with all the work, Pisgah really turned a corner that year.

Production was nearly doubled in 2008, and Pisgah was voted #1 favorite brewery in WNC, knocking Highlands off the #1 spot they had held for 12 years. In the following years major expansions included knocking down walls in the taproom and grading out the courtyard with stonework and a fire pit, as well as building the now legendary Pisgah Outdoor Stage. Pisgah hosts about a dozen music events in our 8-acre meadow each year during the summer concert series. In 2013 major renovations to the brewery like tiled floors and three new brewing tanks expanded Pisgah’s capacity by nearly double to about 5000Bbl annually.

Pisgah Fun Facts

  • Founded December 2003
  • First Keg Sold 4/13/2005
  • In 2014, 10 full time employees, 12 regular part time employees, and upwards of 55 part-time staff for larger shows
  • 2012 Production 3500Bbl
  • 2013 production approx. 3300Bbl
  • 2014 projected production 5000Bbl
  • Pisgah Pale first Canned in January 2014
  • Year round Beers, Pale Ale, Porter, Greybeard IPA, Triple and Nitro Stout
  • Pisgah uses only Organic Grains and all Whole Leaf Hops
  • Until recently only in Buncombe county and Boone. Now 6-packs are making their way around the state
  • 10Bbl brewhouse (1 Bbl = 1 barrel = 2 kegs = 31 gallons)
  • Hops come from Yakima Valley and Willamette (Will-am-it Damn-it) Valley
  • Grain comes from Wisconsin and Canada
  • Local ingredients when possible, Pumpkins from New Sprout Organic Farms, Cocoa nibs from French Broad Chocolates
  • Flagship brew: Pisgah Pale Ale
  • Pisgah Pale Ale is about 75% of all business
  • Voted best Brewery (2008, 2009, 2011), Best Local Ale (Pisgah Pale Ale, 2013, 2014), Best Outdoor Music Venue (2013-2016)
  • Chocolatized Vortex II (Russian Imperial Stout) – GABF Gold Medal Winner 2014, for Chocolate Beer Category
  • 9-Hole Disc Golf Course in Outdoor Stage Field
  • Live Music and Food Trucks 5 days a week
  • 2 on-site venues: Pisgah Brewing Indoor Stage (160 cap taproom performance venue) and the Pisgah Brewing Outdoor Stage (2,250 cap outdoor amphitheater)