Sean Wilson

Years of Participation

Sean Lilly Wilson is founder and Chief Executive Optimist of Durham, N.C.-based Fullsteam, a “plow to pint” brewery and tavern. 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. Since launching in 2010, Fullsteam has purchased over $500,000 in Southern-farmed ingredients for beer-making.

Sean’s craft beer career began as founder and president of Pop The Cap, a grassroots lobbying nonprofit that helped modernize North Carolina's beer laws. He is past president of the NC Craft Brewers Guild and, in 2015, received the guild's first-ever "Industry Impact" award. His passion for connecting beer to the region's farm and food systems earned him four James Beard Foundation semi-finalist honors in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer category (2012, 2013, 2018, and 2019).

In 2017, the North Carolina Business Council honored Sean as a “Visionary Leader” in Civic Engagement. Today, he serves on the board of the Triangle Land Conservancy to help protect natural habitats, support local farm and food systems, and connect people to nature.