Leah Wong Ashburn - A Destination for Ideation | Asheville Ideas Fest

Leah Wong Ashburn

Highland Brewing Company President, CEO, and Family-Owner

Brewery Bio  

Leah Wong Ashburn is the President/CEO and Second-Generation Family owner of Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina. She left a successful career in the printing industry to come to join the family business in 2011 and took over from her father as brewery president and CEO in 2015.  

Under her leadership, the brewery underwent a widely acclaimed rebranding and revitalization that led to it being named The South’s Best Brewery by Southern Living in 2018. That same year, Ashburn was named as a James Beard Award semi-finalist in the category of Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. Highland Brewing has always had deep ties to the Asheville community and Ashburn is a recognized community leader serving on many local boards and committees. 

In 2019, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce named her the Woman Executive of the Year.

In 2021, Ashburn’s leadership was also recognized for a fourth consecutive year in Business North Carolina magazine’s

Power 100, Top 100 Most Influential Business Leaders. Outside of her work as a brewery owner and local business leader, Ashburn is an avid athlete with a real love for volleyball and hiking.  

Ashburn loves to dance and was the 2019 champion of Asheville Dancing with the Local Stars.  

Personal Bio 

Leah is a second-generation family owner of Highland Brewing Company. Her father, Oscar Wong, founded the company in Asheville in 1994, when Leah was two years out of college.

After being turned down by her father for a job, she found a career in the printing industry in Charlotte. Ashburn turned down the same brewery job years later, as she enjoyed city life and financial success.  

 However, life priorities change and in 2011 she joined the family business. Leah began at Highland as a sales representative, eventually moving into Marketing and Administrative leadership. Today she serves as President and CEO, living in Asheville with her husband Brock with visits from her two terrific stepdaughters. 

Board Service  

AVL Buncombe TDA 2016- 2022 

NC Brewers Guild 2013-2017 and 2020- Current 

ABTech 2019 - 2020 

Riverlink 2018 –2020 

Asheville Chamber 2016- June 2019 


2018, Leah Ashburn was named a

James Beard Award semi-finalist in Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional 

2022-2018, Ashburn has been named to the

Business North Carolina magazine’s

 Power 100, Top 100 Most Influential Business Leaders  

2019, Ashburn was featured in a book of essays called

Southern Women by Garden and Gun Magazine   

2019 Profiled in the

Brewer’s Association

New Brewer July/August 2019 Print Issue  


Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and AVL WomenUp

Woman Executive of the Year Award  



Dancing with the Local Stars Champion