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Our Story

The Overview 

Wrightsville Beach Brewery is committed to being a different kind of brewery, both in the beers we make and the impact we have in our community.   Our mission is to educate our customers about good environmental stewardship and contribute to the sustainability of local charities while also making tremendous beers.  Making beer and giving back to the community have equal standing with us.  One does not trump the other.  This is why we have partnered with 11 local non-profits to donate proceeds from our rotating “Beer of the Month”.  For each month of an 11 month cycle, a different nonprofit will receive proceeds from our featured beer.  Then in December (the season of giving), we will give 11% of all beer proceeds to support all 11 of our partners.  To find out more about the non-profits we partner with, check out our BEERS page.  Why 11%?  It’s widely accepted in a variety of faith groups that people should give away 10% of their income, right? So why not do ‘em one better, and give a little extra?!    

The History  

A long, long time ago in an estuary not that far away, three brainless local oystermen were out at their favorite secret oystering spot, "knocking" a couple of bushels.  They got to thinking about a perplexing question that desperately needed an answer: “Why was it that Wrightsville Beach, home to some of the world’s tastiest oysters, oysters which they thought were best accompanied by beer, didn’t have a local brewery???  These three brainless oystermen came from a family that had been gathering Wrightsville Beach’s bounty for generations.  They knew beer was always consumed (in rather large quantities) at the backyard oyster roasts, shrimp-a-roos and low country boils that their family hosted for friends.  And yet, why hadn't anyone thought to make their own beer?  So two of the  oystermen, knowing far more about seafood than beer, started home brewing.  Their first batch of beer was flat!  Turns out yeast doesn't take heat as well as an oyster does.  The second batch wasn't much better—apparently using the same equipment for brewing beer as steaming seafood wasn’t the best idea.  After this discovery they invested in the proper equipment, never (ok... rarely) intermingling brewing beer with steaming oysters again.  As the years passed, three oystermen became two, and then two became one. Despite these losses, many solid friends stepped up to support the last oysterman in making his family’s dream a reality.  Now, surrounded by friends far more competent than he, the last brainless oysterman has become a reluctant brewer (still preferring time in the marsh to time stirring wort). This oysterman, his waaaayy more intelligent wife and his group of friends / staff make for a team that guarantees your brews are tasty, your seafood is fresh and the atmosphere is always inviting—just like at a backyard oyster roasts for friends.

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

Keith Sincavage- General Manager 

Contact Keith 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 non-traditional, local ingredients.  Kevin is a lager aficionado and is proud to pair his liquid alchemy with our unique cuisine!

Contact Kevin 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?).  Sara traveled throughout Europe studying fine art and fine dining for two years before returning home to integrate 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.          

Samantha Yero - Assistant General Manager

WBB’s 2017 Fantasy Football League Champion!
Favorite WBB Beer: Carolina Harvest Ale
Favorite WBB Pizza: Oyster Po’ Boy 

Ocean addict and dog lover!
"Life is simple, just add water"

Sammie at