When Steve Michael first arrived to Asheville in 2014, the Pennsylvania native noticed something missing at nearly every bar and brewery he visited: pretzels. “In western Pennsylvania, you can’t get away from them,” he says. “Down here it seemed odd that we had all these breweries and nobody making hard pretzels.”
By January 2016, Michael had launched Asheville Pretzel Co. with business partner Bert LeRiche. “My brainchild was to put the seasoning inside the dough,” he says. “That way you didn’t have to get it on your fingers.
His dream is to eventually turn Asheville Pretzel Co. into his primary gig, but he compares that process to a freight train. “It takes so much to get it moving, but once you get it rolling, you can’t stop it,” he says. “I think we’ve pulled away from the station, and we’re pushing down the hill.”
On Saturday, May 17th, the Asheville Pretzel Co. will hold its third Pretzel Fest. This year’s event will take place at the Whistle Hop Brewing Co. All three pretzel flavors — the original, which uses malt for a sweeter taste; a garlic, onion and chive blend; and a sriracha-based recipe — will be available for guests to sample. Along with the free samples, the Asheville Pretzel Bandits will perform. The bluegrass band is made up of part-time Asheville Pretzel Co. employees Mitch McConnell and John Fullam. Beer will also be for sale