For Edge Brewing Barcelona co-owners Kim and Christian Oliver, a business venture— or perhaps more appropriately adventure— that began in one of Europe’s hottest destinations brought the couple back to their Carolina roots. In 2013, Christian Oliver and his business partner Scott Vanover, who together had previously owned a company that manufactured communications equipment, founded Edge Brewing Barcelona. Oliver and Vanover’s vision for their new start-up was to introduce American style craft beer to the European market. Since its inception, Edge Brewing Barcelona has been wildly successful and was named “Top New Brewer in the World” by RateBeer.com in 2014.

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With their business located overseas, the Olivers, who were living in Ocala, Fla., decided to relocate to the Carolina foothills. Kim and Christian had both previously lived in North Carolina and were eager to return to the area. Through their daughter Ting, who was an avid hunter/jumper rider at the time, the Olivers became involved in the Ocala equestrian community. After discovering the Tryon area, the family purchased a farm in nearby Campobello, S.C. in 2014; Kim explained, “It felt like coming home.”

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While living in Ocala, the Olivers enjoyed watching their daughter ride and show, but felt compelled to assist others less fortunate in discovering the joy of horses. Kim became involved with Horses N Heroes, an Ocala-based charity where at-risk youth learn to care for rescued horses. Through the Olivers’ desire to give back to the equestrian community, Edge Equestrian— the philanthropic arm of Edge Brewing Barcelona— was born. Kim’s vision for Edge Equestrian is to select one equine- based charity to support for a 2-3 year period. During this time, a portion of the profits from Edge Brewing Barcelona’s European beer portfolio is donated to the chosen charity. Edge Equestrian also maintains a presence in equestrian sport through sponsorship of showjumping events. In 2016, Edge Brewing Barcelona was the presenting sponsor of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Ocala.

Although the bustling streets of Barcelona are a world away, Edge Equestrian is very much at home in the rolling hills around Tryon. Shortly after the Olivers moved to the area, Kim met a neighbor who was involved with a local horse rescue, Helping Equines Regain Dignity. HERD, as the rescue is known, purchases horses at auction that would otherwise be shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. Once these horses are rescued from the “kill pen”, HERD works to restore them to their best possible health, evaluates each horse’s personality, and provides professional training before they are offered for adoption. As Kim learned more about HERD, she discovered that the number of horses in their program was limited by both funds and the size of their facility. The Olivers pledged to support HERD with donations from Edge Equestrian and allow the organization to use a barn and pastures on their farm for rescue horses.

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Kim and Christian’s passion for equestrian sport did not end when their daughter made the decision to stop competing. Kim worked to develop the Edge Equestrian Team, which is made up of horses who were rescued from slaughter and are now showing, many of which are HERD graduates. “We started the Edge Equestrian Team as a way to raise awareness for the talent that you can find in the kill pen,” Kim said. Edge Equestrian offers financial support for riders who are showing rescued horses, including help with entry fees and training costs. Edge Equestrian’s first rescue pony “Take the Edge Off” was purchased for $250 at a local auction. Stanley, as his friends call him, is now ridden by Grace Cashman, a local seventh grader. The pair recently won a class during their first show together at Tryon International Equestrian Center.

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During a conversation with a friend in early 2018, Kim came up with an idea that would raise awareness for HERD in the Tryon equestrian community as well as support local jumper riders. “A good friend of mine who shows her rescued off-the-track thoroughbred in the jumpers told me that Tryon used to have inexpensive local shows, but with good prize money,” Kim said. “But, with the addition of more rated shows to the area, all of that ended. She cannot afford the entry fees at rated shows, and even if she could, there is not enough prize money to offset the costs.” Kim contacted Harmon Classics, a horse show management company that runs local shows at Foothills Equestrian Nature Center and Harmon Field in Tryon, and worked with show organizers to create the Edge Brewing Barcelona Jumper Challenge. The series debuted in October of 2018 with a $5,000 1.10-meter jumper classic; it grew to include a $1,000 classic at each of Harmon Classics’ monthly shows this year. Edge Equestrian donates the prize money for each classic, offers attendees free tastings from their exclusive line of only-available-in-Europe beers, and sells beer and merchandise from which 100% of the proceeds go to HERD. This year, Harmon classics has agreed to donate all entry fees from the $5,000 series final to HERD. Kim added, “Kids and adults deserve a fun series of shows with prize money without having to travel. We want to give back to the local jumper community that we have been part of through our daughter’s jumping experience.” The 2019 series will culminate with the $5,000 Edge Brewing Barcelona Charity Jumper Classic on October 25th at FENCE, in Tryon.

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For the Oliver family, Edge Equestrian is an ongoing project that allows them to share their passion for horses and equestrian sport with their community. “We have a lot of fun,” Kim said, “but still, the number one reason we do all of this— the sponsorships and jumper series— is to raise awareness for horse rescue and adoption”. Whether sitting ringside at an Edge Brewing Barcelona Jumper Classic, working with HERD horses on their farm, or sipping on an Edge Voila! on the patio at Huckleberry’s in Tryon (the only restaurant stateside that serves Edge beers, of which 100% of the proceeds are donated to HERD) the Olivers are committed to saving horses— one beer at a time.

For more information about Edge Equestrian, please visit edgebrewing.com/edge-equestrian. For more information about HERD, please visit herdrescue.org.