Friday, April 9, 2010

1. Cor. 6:14 Permissible Suds

Sean Wilson you are our "crafty" hero! Sean Lilly Wilson '92 founded and was El Presidente of Pop The Cap and Permit Beer, two beer lobbying organizations that have opened up economic markets to North Carolina’s specialty beer industry. Sean has ten years restaurant experience, including three years at Durham’s Magnolia Grill. In 2010, Wilson is opening Fullsteam brewery in Durham, North Carolina.

In February 2003, a group of thirty-five beer lovers gathered to discuss how to lift North Carolina’s 6% alcohol by volume on beer. For seventy years, North Carolina had imposed a 6% restriction on beer sold and brewed within the state.  In the first legislative push, the Pop The Cap bill passed two House committees, two Senate committees, the House floor, and the Senate floor. Such progress is almost unheard of, especially with such a potentially volatile issue as raising an alcohol cap. We battled Senator John “Drinking straight vodka” Kerr and Senator “this law will lead to more unwanted pregnancies and academic suicides” Jacumin. On August 13, 2005, Governor Mike Easley signed House Bill 392 into law, lifting the 6% cap to a more-reasonable 15%.

Fullstream is a craft brewer and brews 32 homebrews including:
6:14 Mild A 2007 SAB Miller study found that 6:14 P.M. is the average “beer-o’-clock” in England. A 2008 Fullsteam study of the two of us found that we should make a beer called 6:14…a mild ale perfect for sessioning at the tavern. So, if you are gonna smoke your weed at 4:20, the least you can do is have a beer at 6:14.  
Sweet Potato ale: No pie spices in this beer. Instead, the sweet potato takes the lead in this beer’s coloring and flavoring. Sweet potatoes are baked in the oven before adding to the mash.
Kudzu Jesus: A Fullsteam radical ag (Assemblies of God) experiment — a beer made from kudzu! We’re scheming on this one.

Wait did you just say you've named a beer after a chinese hangover herb and Jesus? Where 'o where have we strayed as an institution that our alumni are raising the alcohol by volume levels and naming it after Jesus? Sean you did go to Wheaton in Illinois right? not that Wheaton in Massachusetts?

Sean what classes at Wheaton did you take to learn to run a brewery? "Sociology of course, but I didn't much care for beer as a student at Wheaton. When a classmate bought me a Guinness, (I didn't swallow it) I asked him, Why would anybody want to drink an ashtray? It wasn't til I was a waiter at Magnolia, that I learned to detect subtle fruits and spices in wine -- a knack I slowly transferred to beer."

So it sounds like you broke the covenant while you were at Wheaton, at least technically, do you think there should continue to be a ban on alcohol for students? "I think you should be legal, I think you should read what G.K. Chesterton said 'Doubtless, it is unnatural to be drunk. But then in a real sense it is unnatural to be human', and I think maybe alcohol isn't the worst of the lifestyle addictions today's students face. Why don't we consider banning luxury items, gluttony, and celebrityism. I think Jesus might be more offended by those. It's those things that will make a 'brother fall into temptation.' How about a 12-step program for greed and power."

With all the things you could do with a degree from Wheaton, why start a brewery? "I want to elevate the status of suds to serious beverage -- not just a fizzy yellow drink or a quick means to drunkenness. It's beer, It's fun. Enjoy yourselves. It's about optimism and enthusiasm. Beer is a celebratory beverage. You meet someone and you say, 'I'd like to have a beer with that person more than I'd like to sit through a sermon with that person.' " 

The NHTSA says that there are over 100,000 alcohol related deaths in the U.S. each year and many people define alcohol as the nation's #1 drug problem, how do you respond to that? "Well, we believe that bottles of beer don't kill people, stupid people do stupid things. So from now we are adopting the Tom's shoes model. Every time you buy a bottle of Rhubarb Fullsteam Beer, we will give away a bottle of Rhubarb Fullsteam Beer to a misfortunate child."

(HT: DV)


  1. I loved this. Wheaton was my playground until graduating in 1978. I was a "master debater" and SG president my last year there. Dr. Armerding as much as said my RECORD articles encouraged him to retire a bit early. There are many WC friends from diverse backgrounds with whom I connect regularly. These days (among other things) I am working on a few books including one called "Holy Shit! Confessions of a Christian Marketer"...This is a fun site. Thanks.


    Sean is wonderful -

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