Now Open Daily 11am - 10pm

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 amazing...ly 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 info@wbbeer.com

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.

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 brewer@wbbeer.com

Keith Sincavage- General Manager 

Hailing from the "other Wilmington", Keith attended University Of Delaware, where he studied marketing & sociology. Realizing around that time his true passion was working in restaurants, he never quite made it into the corporate world. After years of managing several craft beer oriented bars and restaurants in Delaware,he migrated south in search of warmer weather and coastal living, landing in Wilmington, NC. A love of craft beer and thirst for brewery life led him to Wrightsville Beach Brewery, and the rest as they say, is history. When he's not at work, you can probably find him wandering in the woods, watching Philly sports, or fumbling around one of the local disc golf courses.

Contact Keith at gm@wbbeer.com

Katelyn Ellis - Events Curator

A coastal Carolina native, Katelyn has been with the WBB team for 3 years. Coming from a small beach town, Wilmington felt like home from the start. She started honing her party planning skills by organizing baby showers, bridal parties, and birthday events for her friends. With that knowledge and her years of work in the service industry, Katelyn brings assured and positive energy to your next event! In her spare time, she loves a good plant and spending time outdoors with her boyfriend Spencer and their three pups. She can't wait to help make your party planning dreams come true!

Katelyn Ellis
at events@wbbeer.com to inquire about booking.          

John Hanna - Front of House Manager

After living in Baltimore for most of his life, John, and his soon to be wife Linzie moved to Wilmington in 2019. An industry veteran, he has experience in a number of roles throughout the restaurant. Growing up in Maryland, John has a passion for Baltimore sports, seafood and beer. He's also been a life long lover of crabs, having spent many summer nights picking them with family and friends, but says oysters are a close second! In his down time he enjoys relaxing with friends and his fiance and spending time outdoors.

Contact John at
FOH@wbbeer.com

Denny Rivenbark - Chef

A self taught chef, Denny honed his chops in kitchens across North Carolina for nearly two decades before joining the team at Wrightsville Beach Brewery.Experience with a wide range of cuisine, including Greek, Italian, and French,lends to his versatility when it comes to concocting daily specials. His cool demeanor helps keep the kitchen staff calm and focused during even the busiest of dinner rushes. We asked him about his hobbies for this bio, his response?"As much time as I spend at work, I prefer to keep my leisure pursuits to myself".  A regular man of mystery, we suppose.

Rodney Peterson - Chef

Born and raised in California,Rodney started his restaurant career at the age of 17. After moving East and graduating from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, he plied his trade in the kitchens of New York and northern New Jersey. The Executive Chef for many years at Amanda's, a Zagat rated fine dining restaurant in Hoboken,Rodney also oversaw the openings of their two sister restaurants. After their son graduated college, Rodney and his wife Laura headed south, ending up in Wilmington,  with the desire to start a "new chapter" in a warmer climate on the coast. When not working, Rodney enjoys refurbishing old bicycles and going to the beach.