Now Open Daily 11am-11pm

Our Staff

Jud Watkins - Owner, Brewer and Head Oyster Shucker

A Wilmington native, Jud grew up oystering with his father and grandfather in Wrightsville Beach and Masonboro marshes.  It was in these marshes that the trio dreamed up plans for a brewery and oyster house that would be a nod to Wilmington’s rich coastal history, educate patrons about environmental preservation and give back to the community.  Jud developed a passion for the food and beverage industry through several years spent homebrewing and working in Washington DC’s restaurant scene.   When not at the brewery, Jud is best found surf kayaking, oystering or otherwise enjoying the outdoors with his wife, Amber.

Contact Jud at

Amber Watkins - Co-Owner and Philanthropic Liaison

With a background in social work and non-profit management, Amber shares Jud’s passion for creating a small business focused on giving back to the local community.  Amber also loves nothing more than to throw a good party and has thrown her fair share through her experience working in the hospitality industry and managing non-profit fundraising events.  Playing outside is Amber’s number one hobby and she is newly obsessed with joining Jud in the marsh.  Match made in heaven?  We think so.

Contact Amber at

Chef Owens, Kitchen Magician and Food Disposal Specialist

Chef Owen’s introduction to kitchen life began at age three, when his mother began calling him “little chef” (in fact, his real first name is a bit of a mystery--with even his marriage certificate referring to him as “Chef”).  He began working in his first commercial kitchen at nine years old and was running the show by age sixteen.  Chef has worked in 23 countries, earning AA Rosette Awards, Diamond Awards and three Michelin stars.  Chef Owens is passionate about organic/Non-GMO food, focused on sourcing local/sustainable products and strives for guest's satisfaction one plate at a time.

Contact Chef Owens at

Rick Grant - General Manager and Director of Shenanigans

With a background in restaurant & hotel operations management, Rick is passionate about beer, food, whiskey, wine, live music and all the other critical ingredients of a good party. Having grown up in the popular shore town of Wildwood, NJ, Rick has always led a coastal lifestyle, and solemnly swears to bring relaxed beach vibes to the brewery. Transplanted from Philadelphia, Rick and his wife Bridgette made Wilmington home in 2012 and are now proud parents of their son River

. Contact Rick at

Kevin Zelnio - Director of Brewing Operations and Deep Sea Brewologist

After working as a deep sea marine biologist on the NC coast for over a decade, Kevin and his wife traveled to Sweden where he first dipped his toes into the brewing world by opening a small production brewery in the basement of an old prison.  After several years abroad, Kevin returned to the US to work as a production brewer at Jdub's Brewery in Sarasota, FL.  Wrightsville Beach Brewery lured Kevin back to Wilmington with the promise of brewing a wide diversity of styles with nontraditional, local ingredients.  Kevin is a lager aficionado and is proud to pair his liquid alchemy with Chef Owen’s unique cuisine!

Contact Kevin at

Anthony Palermo - Distribution Manager and reigning Connect Four Champion

Anthony offers Wrightsville Beach Brewery a boatload of knowledge developed through many years working in wine/beer distribution and the Raleigh foodie scene.  A seasoned wine enthusiast and a founding partner of the Wilmington Tasting room, he has a passion for the food and beverage industry (and vintage video games) that is contagious.  Anthony and his daughter relocated to the Wilmington area from Raleigh for the allure of the Carolina coast.  Didn’t we all!!

Contact Anthony at

Sara Carter- Events Curator

Wilmington-native, Sara Carter developed an appreciation for traditional ales while earning her master’s degree in renaissance art history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (because, what better way to prevail over grad school than with a craft beer in hand?).  Sarah traveled throughout Europe studying fine art and fine dining for two years before returning home to integrating these two passions into her position as Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s “Event Curator”.  With her mastery of hospitality and craft, Sara can make all your dreams come true for your upcoming special event. 
Contact Sara at to inquire about booking.