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Sean Lilly Wilson

Fullsteam Brewery
Chief Executive Optimist
Durham, North Carolina
Sean Lilly Wilson is owner and Chief Executive Optimist of Durham, NC-based Fullsteam, a “plow to pint” brewery and tavern. Since launching in 2010, Fullsteam's mission is to pioneer a Southern Beer Economy through the act of commerce, fostering economic opportunity for farmers, foragers, and agricultural entrepreneurs in a post-tobacco South.

Sean’s passion for connecting beer to the region's farm and food systems earned him two James Beard Foundation semi-finalist honors in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional category. He recently served as president of the NC Craft Brewers Guild and received the guild's first-ever "Industry Impact" award in 2015. His beer career began as founder and president of Pop The Cap, a grassroots lobbying nonprofit that helped modernize North Carolina's beer laws in the mid 2000s.

Fullsteam's foraged persimmon ale, First Frost, is the only North Carolina beer to win a Good Food Award (2013, 2016). Sean's especially proud that his family -- wife Carolyn and children Echo and Sophie -- join him in foraging the verdant Carolina Piedmont.