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Local Brewer Looking Forward to Locally Sourced Hops

One of the things Fullsteam Brewery has focused on since the beginning, in fact, it’s a part of their business plan, is to use as many locally sourced products as possible in the production of their beer. Sean Lilly Wilson, Chief Executive Optimist and owner, Fullsteam Brewery based in Durham, NC says he’s excited to see work on hops production:

“We have been taking advantage of them in limited quantities. The amount that has been grown is still in the R&D state and I feel it will take some time for the industry to collectively figure out what grows here, what works in this southern soil, the amount of daylight we have here and the over all climate for hops. We want to be that Brewery, that if you meet the specifications and give us a decent price we will buy a ton!”

Seems that there’s a craft brewer popping up in the state most every day in North Carolina creating competition for limited resources, but Wilson says that’s part of the business:

“We love competition. With healthy competition , it not only keeps us on top of our game but ensures that we are not the only ones developing a southern beer economy. It will take a lot of brewers, big and small, to believe in buying local to really develop the beer economy in a post tobacco era. I love the fact that there are others brewers interested in this. We want to be known as the pioneer in local ingredients but the competition keeps us accountable and the market viable and it encourages farmers that there is a market for this.”

As we mentioned, Fullsteam’s business model is to use as much locally sourced ingredients as possible, and that includes grains says Wilson:

“We have been one of the biggest customers for malt out of Asheville. Our cream ale is all local, everything but the hops is local, we get our barley from Riverbend, our corn from Lakeside and maybe someday we will get our hops local as well.” 

For those of us that don’t know a lot about making beer, Wilson gives us an idea of how much hops it takes for a batch of product:

“In the cream ale, which is a very light beer, in terms of total dry ingredient weight, its about 2%. Some of the higher hopped beer, can get up to about 5% of the total. So its hundreds of pounds per batch. We are dealing with some local suppliers here in the triangle who are providing hops a few pounds at a time. So that is what I mean when I say we are still in the R&D scale. I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Chief Executive Optimist for Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, Sean Lilly Wilson. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.