Joining the Family: Southern Appalachian Brewery Makes a Home in Hendersonville

Joining the Family: Southern Appalachian Brewery Makes a Home in Hendersonville

Kelly and Andy Cubbin, owners.

Andy Cubbin thought he was late to the game.

“When I came to Asheville and wanted to start a craft brewery, there was Highland, Green Man, and Pisgah,” he said. “And I thought maybe there were too many already in the area to try my luck at having my own.”

That was in the early 2000s. And since then, there has been a craft beer explosion in Western North Carolina. Asheville alone has around two dozen breweries, with over 30 more in surrounding counties. To say the region is a “must see” craft beer destination is an understatement, with quality products being created, concocted, and poured each day.

“The craft beer industry is one big family,” Cubbin said. “We’re always looking out for each other, learning from each other, and enjoying each others’ brews.”

Cubbin and his wife, Kelly, grew up in Michigan, eventually finding themselves in Chicago. For the better part of 12 years, they were professional photographers in the city. With a long-time love of cooking and coming up with recipes, Andy soon started dabbling in homebrewing. And it was at this point that the idea to start their own craft brewery began to bubble to the surface.

“This was around 2001, so right when the craft beer movement was beginning to emerge,” Andy said. “But, the laws to build a brewery in Chicago were very tough—not to mention how expensive owning a business there would be, let the alone the fact that Chicago is a cocktail town.”

The Cubbins would wander down into Asheville from time to time while visiting Andy’s parents in South Carolina. They began to think about relocating to Asheville. The city was smaller and more approachable in terms of launching a new business from the ground up, and with a leaner budget to do so.

Andy befriended the folks at the former Appalachian Brewing Company in Rosman (just west of Brevard). It was a nano-brewery, one that sold small amount of products to local bars and restaurants. Eventually, Andy made an offer on the brand and the equipment. He launched Southern Appalachian Brewery in Fletcher with plans to move the operation to the South Slope district of Downtown Asheville.

“But, one day, we drove by the building we had in mind for the brewery in the South Slope (now Hi-Wire Brewing), and we saw a fermenter being loaded into it,” he chuckled. “So, at that point, we could see the craft beer industry in Asheville taking off, and we wanted to find a town where we really could make our own individual mark.”

The Cubbins ultimately shifted their focus to Hendersonville. It was an up-and-coming town, with no brewery at the time. And it also seemed to have the same potential that Asheville held a decade or so earlier. By April 2011, the brewery had reopened in its current 13,000-square-foot location in the historic 7th Avenue District.

“Since we moved in, there have been so many changes on 7th Avenue. All of these incredible small businesses have come in, and on Main Street, too,” Kelly said. “The whole downtown area has been transformed into such a beautiful and welcoming space. And we also have a progressive town government that really tries to bring the community together, especially with things like the Rhythm & Brews Festival, which has become such a huge event for downtown.”

“You get to live in this great town, with a lot of new families moving in,” Andy added. “And yet, within a 10 minute drive from downtown, you can be hiking on the side of a mountain where there is nobody around.”

Now a decade or so into making their craft brewery dream a reality, the Cubbins still marvel at the space they’ve created not only for themselves, but for the camaraderie and sense of community that walks through their doors and enjoys their products.

“It’s amazing the amount of support we’ve gotten from craft beer lovers and the from the industry itself,” Kelly said. “It makes all the hard work worth it when you see people appreciating what you’re doing.”


This post is adapted from our annual Welcome to Western North Carolina magazine. Click here to read more online, or click here to order your own free copy. Learn more about Southern Appalachian Brewery at


End of blog post Beverly-Hanks logo


Back to News

Leave a Reply