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 over a year ago, 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.
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.
Originally from the mountains of W.N.C., Levi had his first "good" beer while in college for web design. He immediately started home brewing and exploring the world of craft beer. Having discovered a new passion in life, Levi knew he wanted to work with a local brewery. After meeting Kevin, he was given that opportunity and has never looked back.
With lots of culinary arts experience, Levi enjoys the endless creativity and possible flavor orientations that the brewing world provides. "With good beer, food, friends and family, what else could you need?.....except maybe another beer!" Levi enjoys exploring all styels of craft beer but Trappist and Belgium beers are his favorite.
Sean is an experienced brewer, BJCP National Judge, & Advanced CiceroneTM. 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, helping to train employees on all things beer. His brewing experience includes Genesee, Swiftwater, Saranac, and Rohrbach brewing companies. 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 CiceroneTM exams. Sean has been selected by the Brewers Association to judge at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017. While he has a love for all styles, he is particularly passionate about Belgian and German beer.
Justin "Tate" has over a decade of experience in the craft brewing industry. Tate's interest in craft beer began during his academic years whilst a student at The University of Virginia. After graduating with a degree in early American history, Tate decided to move to picturesque western North Carolina. Soon his love for craft beer would drive him to seek out volunteer opportunities at his local brewery. After a fair bit of persistence, the good folks at Catawba Valley Brewing Company let him join in the fun. During his tenure with CVBC Tate helped develop the Morganton production facility, served as beer delivery guy, tasting room manager, sales manager, cellarman and brewer. Tate then moved up the mountain to Plumtree, NC, where he assumed the position of Head Brewer and Cidersmith for Blind Squirrel Brewery. Now a delighted member of the Bearwaters Brewing Collective. He is a fan of most beer styles, with an affinity towards malt forward brews, sour ales, and interesting historical beers.
Originally from High Point, N.C., Colin graduated from A.S.U. with a degree in outdoor experiential Education. Colin has been a beer buyer in Portland Oregon, managed an outdoor zipline campground, been a deck mate on a commercial salmon fishing boat and worked at Blind Squirel Brewery for several years. During a 2200 mile solo bike ride from Portland to Alaska, Colin recognized the unique relationship between beer and its cultural surroundings. "I love when beer can be the force that drives a bond between people and outdoor awareness!" Colin loves fly fishing, fly tying, beer drinking, mountain bike riding, conservation awareness and pretty much anything identified with riverlife!