Fullsteam Brewery

American Made Since 2010

Sean Wilson

Durham, North Carolina
Our mission: to craft distinctly Southern beer that celebrates the culinary and agricultural traditions of the South.
North Carolina

Tell us about your business.

Fullsteam Brewery is a "plow-to-pint" brewery and tavern based in Durham, North Carolina. We're on a mission to explore a really fun question: “What is Southern beer?” Maybe we’ll never figure it out. But here’s what we believe so far: 1) Southern beer pairs great with food. 2) Beer, particularly Southern beer, is a key element to community, conversation, and the shared table. 3) No one needs to apologize for crafting something balanced, simple, and refreshing. In fact, that’s the ultimate goal and compliment. 4) Local adjuncts play an important role in Southern beer, emphasizing local terroir and celebrating seasonality. We don’t have a robust hops industry (yet) and two-row barley doesn’t thrive here (yet). True Southern beer makes up for the lack of these key beer ingredients with the creative, yet restrained, use of native flavors.

What makes your business stand out?

We believe in a Southern Beer Economy. That through the act of commerce, our purchases (and our customers purchases) foster new jobs, create wealth, and encourage entrepreneurship within the agricultural South. Other breweries in the South are following in our footsteps, crafting beer with local ingredients. And that's great. We can't build a Southern Beer Economy on our own -- we need a coalition of like-minded brewers to make it happen. Our beer is unique not because it's crazy, but because it's surprisingly balanced and enjoyable. People often think we're out to shock them with flavors. We'd rather delight them with delicious flavors that they want to come back to time and time again. Nuance and simplicity trumps obvious and indulgent. That's our Southern style.

What's the best business advice you've received?

"Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it's the easiest to rationalize. We don't tell ourselves, 'I'm never going to write my symphony.' Instead we say, 'I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow.'" -- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art I spent a fair amount of time researching and planning my business. And then I read Mr. Pressfield's book, which is really intended for artists and writers, but also relates to creators of new businesses. His quick read made such an impact on my life. In a nutshell, he encourages discipline and action. Even though we've launched the venture, it's tempting to procrastinate; to be satisfied with your hard work. To stagnate. The War of Art reminds me that my art -- my brewery -- is an ever-evolving narrative. A symphony that deserves daily fine-tuning.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.