Founder Kevin Sandefur developed many signature recipes in his makeshift beer kitchen, a modest root cellar adjoining his home. At the urging of friends, family and colleagues, Kevin decided to explore the possibility of making his hobby a career. In 2009 Kevin attended the Craft Beer Conference in Boston Massachusetts. There he met with many successful brewery owners who were eager to share their experiences and advice. He immediately fell in love with the industry and the people and decided to pursue his passion. In 2010 BearWaters was set on its way with a startup seed grant that was awarded by the Haywood County chamber of commerce. Determined to get his new venture up and running Kevin rented a small warehouse in Waynesville. Using what he had available, Kevin methodically transformed the small warehouse into a lively bright nano brewing operation.
Brewer; Quality Manager
Sean is an experienced brewer, BJCP National Judge, & Advanced Cicerone®. He dove head first into brewing while living in a dry county in Kentucky and grew tired of driving to West Virginia & Ohio to buy beer. Sean worked as a beer liaison for North American Breweries/FIFCO USA, helping to train employees on all things beer. As a national beer judge, Sean actively judges throughout the east coast of the United States & Eastern Canada while helping to grade BJCP and Advanced Cicerone® exams as well as judge for the Brewers Assocation's Great American Beer Festival. He has been writing beer reviews for The Beer Connoisseur magazine since 2015 & has given presentations for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, the Brewers Association & American Homebrewers Association. While he has a love for all styles, he is particularly passionate about Belgian and German beer.
Darron hails from Wyoming and is a huge outdoor and beer enthusiast. In 1997 he even became one of the few people to Thru-Hike the Appalachian trail. He was drawn to the Asheville area because of the mountains and recently completed the Fermentation Science Program at AB Tech with honors. While his appreciation for all styles is ever growing, he never misses the opportunity to sit down with a good Flanders Red or any beer from Belgium.
Art graduated from Emory University in the early 80's and seminary in '85. After serving as a pastor in the Atlanta area for several years, the "call" to the mountains brought him to Lake Junaluska where he bought the Sunset Inn. He has called these mountains home ever since, Art joined forces with Kevin in 2016, and the two began the BearWaters expansion in Canton. New to the brewing world, Art comes to BearWaters from a long history in the food and beverage industry. For the past 30 years Art has owned and managed several restaurants, a country inn, and a private dining club. As one of the owners, Art now oversees the front of the house and coordinates the sales and marketing efforts for the brewery. Jokingly referred to as "Mr. Hoptomistic", Art's energy and vision make a great match for the BearWaters team.
Zakary moved to Canton from Ohio near the end of 2016. Zak is an avid reader and thoroughly enjoys living in the mountains. He came to work with us as a bartender and showed interest in learning more so we moved him into production. He enjoys learning everything he can on the job and is now our full time cellarman and packaging manager. Zak enjoys all styles but always has room for anything barrel aged.