Breweries and craft beer are so popular in Wilmington, NC! Find out where and what to drink at in The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina, put together by a local. All 16 Wilmington breweries are included.
If you’re planning a trip to the area, check out all of our Wilmington, NC posts.
Before moving to North Carolina, we had no idea that a craft beer revolution had hit the state. I mean, gosh, people call this state North Craftolina for a reason.
Where we live, there are so many breweries. It seems like every year there’s an addition to the list of the best breweries in Wilmington, NC.
Last year alone, I think the area added three. Some of them will be here in ten years, and, realistically, some won’t.
When craft beers really got started here in the 90’s, there were three big breweries in Wilmington. And now, only one of those remains. But, in place of the two that left are over a dozen new breweries. It remains to be seen which of those will be here in two decades.
But for now, they’re here. And we can enjoy them.
Originally, when we posted this in 2019, we narrowed this list down to the 10 best breweries in Wilmington, NC. And trust me, it was really difficult to narrow it down. And really, not all of the best breweries in Wilmington made the cut. That’s crazy, right?
So, we felt like this list was sort of lacking. Literally and figuratively.
So we redid it.
And now, it’s The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina. Each brewery in Wilmington is represented here.
Unless you live here or if you’re here for a week long vacation, you’re not going to hit every brewery. That’s a lot of drinking. It’s unsafe and we don’t recommend it.
We do recommend a designated driver for your pub crawl (and please remember, drinks are only for those who are 21 and older). Be safe out there.
Planning a trip to Wilmington?
There’s more to do than drink at the local Wilmington, NC breweries. Figure out what else the Cape Fear has to offer in this Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide.
The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina
We don’t have any association with any of these breweries, and our information on hours is based on the most up to date information we can find online.
Hours can change, so be sure to call the brewery to double check that it’s open before heading over.
Bill’s Brewing Company
Address: 4238 Market Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 762-6333
Hours: Friday: 4 pm to 9 pm; Saturday: noon to 9 pm
Bill’s has a long history in the Wilmington area. It started as The Backyard Grill, which was a hotdog trailer with a deck, plus volleyball courts. There was a building in the front of the lot, which was rented out.
The Backyard Grill eventually grew into Captain Bill’s Backyard Grill. The owners then stopped renting out the front building and, after a few name changes, it became Bill’s Front Porch and was used as a catering and event space.
It changed again. The story we’ve heard is the kids took over the front to turn it into a modern brewery space, now known as Bill’s Brewing Company, and the parents kept running the back half with the volleyball courts.
Bill’s Brewing Company is open as a taproom, which serves food, and also cans beers that are sold all over the area.
What to drink at Bill’s Brewing Co.: Odelay (Mexican Lager)
Address: 6404 Amsterdam Way; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 264-1369
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 4 pm to 9 pm; Friday 4 om to 10 pm; Saturday 2 pm to 10 pm; Sunday 1 pm to 8 pm. Closed Monday.
Broomtail Craft Brewery is located off the beaten path, in a small building surrounded by warehouse and office space. It’s actually really close to the mechanic where we bought our new car and where the area’s alt weekly, Encore, has its office.
Broomtail has a pretty small location, but pretty amazing beers to choose from. Broomtail Craft Brewery has a sister location Broomtail Pub & Arcade, which operates where The Sour Barn was.
Broomtail isn’t a location you’ll stumble over in your travels. You have to be planning on going there in order to actually get there. Good thing the beers are worth the trip.
What to drink at Broomtail Craft Brewery: Jus’ Sayin’ IPA
Catawba Brewing Company
Address: 4712 New Centre Dr.; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 660-8721
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 4 pm to 9 pm; Wednesday: 2 pm to 9 pm; Thursday 2 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm; Sunday: 11 am to 9 pm.
Catawba Brewing Company took over the space that Skytown Beer Company was located. Skytown closed when it was acquired by Catawba. It was a hush hush deal, made public only after it was finalized. Which means everyone who was in love with Skytown’s Deep Fried Sausage Gravy menu item couldn’t get one last taste of it.
Catawaba Brewing Company is originally from Morganton in Western North Carolina, located between Asheville and Charlotte. And Catawaba has additional breweries in each of those towns.
We haven’t gone to Catawaba Brewing Company yet, mostly because it very recently opened. We had friends who went last weekend, though, and were a little letdown with the service (and the fact that there was no room at the bar because workers were taking up all the space with their personal items).
Hopefully the brewery, which has 24 Catawba craft beers and hard seltzer on tap, works out the kinks. We’ll give them a little time before checking them out.
What to drink at Catawba Brewing Company: (You tell us!)
Edward Teach Brewing
Address: 604 N. 4th Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 523-5401
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 1 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday: noon to 12am; Sunday: noon to 8 pm.
So you know my new favorite pizza place is Blaze Pizza. I tell everyone about it when I can because it’s fun and it’s good pizza. What I forget to mention, though, is that when Blaze Pizza started selling beer, it included Edward Teach Brewing beer on draft.
Edward Teach Brewing actually has a physical location in the Brooklyn Arts District of Wilmington. It’s right next to the Brooklyn Arts Center, so if you’re heading there for a show you can stop in Edward Teach beforehand for a pint.
If the brewery reminds you of a boat, that’s intentional. Edward Teach is the real name of the famous pirate Blackbeard, and the décor is a play off that.
Before it housed a brewery, the building was a fire engine house. The building was also used as a boxing gym, police station, and housed a special effects film company. It has a nice sized upstairs area, but the outdoor area is our favorite place in the space. There is seating, firepits with Bluetooth capability, and lights for the evening.
What to drink at Edward Teach Brewing: Cutlass German Lager
Address: 319 Walnut Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 769-2881
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 3 pm to 10 pm; Friday: 3 pm to 11 pm; Saturday: noon to 11 pm; Sunday: 1 pm to 8 pm.
Flytrap Brewing is very cool. It has an unfinished look, which I originally thought was because it was unfinished but later realized that’s just the brewery’s aesthetic.
Flytrap Brewing has a taproom that had Shuffle Puck Bowling, which I always wanted to play despite it being incredibly loud. I guess it was too loud though because that game is gone now. Too bad for me. But much better for the bands that play in Flytrap’s taproom. You can only imagine how loud bands had to be to compete with the sound of bowling.
There’s an outdoor seating area at Flytrap, which is perfect on a nice night. That’s also great when food trucks come. You can sit outside with a beer and a bite. It’s also a couple blocks up from downtown, which means there’s free street parking. And you can leave your car there, then walk downtown.
What to drink at Flytrap Brewing: Hoppy Tripel
Flying Machine Brewing Co.
Address: 3130 Randall Parkway; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 769-8173
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 4 pm to 10 pm; Friday: 2 pm to 11 pm; Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm; Sunday: 11 am to 9 pm.
I like coffee. I really like a good cup of coffee. And I especially love when a brewery serves coffee because it gives an option for people who either don’t drink, don’t want to drink, or are the designated driver and can’t drink. So part of the appeal of Flying Machine Brewing Co. is that it sells a good cup of coffee.
But that’s not the only thing the steampunk-designed brewery does. Flying Machine Brewing Co. brews really old, traditional English beers that you can’t often find. The process is something most breweries don’t undertake. It’s easier to just brew an IPA and be done with it. So definitely support that effort.
The brewery has bocce ball inside (at least, it did; I heard it was getting pulled out, but we haven’t actually sat inside for a long time, so I’m not 100% sure on that), a beautiful outdoor space, and often has food trucks (which is good because it’s not located near any restaurants that are safe to walk to).
My only complaint is that the parking lot is really small, so you have to get lucky to get a spot. Flying Machine is between a park and a main road, so there’s not any on street parking available either. But, that’s a small price to pay to hang out somewhere so cool.
What to drink at Flying Machine Brewing Co.: Stringfellow English Table Beer
Front Street Brewery
Address: 9 N Front Street
Phone: (910) 251-1935
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 11:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Monday.
Front Street Brewery is the OG Wilmington brewery. It has been around for over 20 years and is the spot we always take guests the first time they come to visit.
What’s really unique about Front Street Brewery is, for a long time, it was the only brewery in the area with a full kitchen. So you could stop in for one of the beers on tap, then grab a bite to eat.
If you do decide to eat there, we recommend the Pulled Chicken Nachos. Honestly, everyone in Wilmington would recommend those.
Before 2020, there are free daily brewery tours. You could learn about the beer making process and get samples of some of the brews as well. Hopefully that comes back.
Post 2020, the upstairs event space, known as The Beam Room, has been transformed into a taproom to offer more space for patrons.
The brewery, which also serves over 450 bourbons and whiskeys, is on Front Street, right in the heart of downtown Wilmington, so it’s the perfect spot to soak in the city.
What to drink at Front Street Brewery: Single Hop (That’s a winter seasonal beer, so definitely look for it in the winter.)
Hi Wire Brewing – Wilmington
Address: 1020 Princess Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 933-5500
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 3 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday: noon to 12 am; Sunday: noon to 10 pm.
Hi Wire Brewing is an exception to this list because, although Hi Wire is a brewery, the beer is brewed outside of Wilmington and then transported to Wilmington. So the location here is merely a taproom and retail space.
It’s a really cool space, though, and one of our favorite places to spend the afternoon.
Hi Wire Brewing’s concept is a big top circus, and all the locations are decked out accordingly. This one has artwork on its walls depicting a bearded lady, circus animals, and more. There are games — ping pong tables, soccer-sized pool, foosball — spread throughout the space.
Plus, there’s a small biergarten in the back and a large outdoor patio in the front, which I appreciate so much. I would choose a bar with an outdoor space over one where we are confined to the indoors (almost) every time.
The taproom has over 20 taps, with beers and ciders, and even more that you can purchase for at home consumption.
Find out more in our full Hi Wire Brewing – Wilmington review.
What to drink at Hi Wire Brewing – Wilmington: Lager
Address: 115 N 2nd St; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 769-0290
Hours: Thursday and Friday: 2 pm to 8 pm; Saturday: noon to 8 pm; Sunday: noon to 6 pm; Monday: 2 pm to 8 pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
The space that is Ironclad Brewery is so cool. It’s an old car dealership, and the wood that was used on the second floor when it was a dealership is placed throughout the current bar. It was also a funeral home, auto repair shop, and general store. The building dates back almost 100 years, so there’s a lot of history there.
But other than the actual space itself, we’re not crazy about Ironclad. Which is a shame because it’s so conveniently located across the street from one of the public parking lots downtown.
We know the story, from the builder, about how the bar was rushed to be completed and how the beer was brewed off premises just to get the brewery opened. Which is fine. Things happen, money runs out, and you have to open.
But it just feels like the brewery never got its footing, even six years after opening. And the beer isn’t that great. Not to mention the CEO works outside of Wilmington in a field outside of brewing, beer, and restaurants.
As much as we want to root for Ironclad to succeed and do well, it’s not our favorite.
What to drink at Ironclad Brewing: ?
Mad Mole Brewing
Address: 6309 Boathouse Rd Unit C; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 859-8115
Hours: Monday to Wednesday: 4 pm to 9 pm; Thursday: noon to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday: noon to 11 pm; Sunday: noon to 8 pm.
I like the concept behind Mad Mole Brewing a lot. If you know me, you know I love the Earth and recycling and sustainability. So of course I would love Mad Mole’s commitment to this.
The entire brewing process at Mad Mole Brewing is powered by solar energy. It’s completely powered by 63 SunPower solar panels, which are visible from the taproom.
Oddly enough (at least to me), it’s not the only solar powered brewery in North Carolina. But, it was voted America’s favorite solar-powered microbrewery in a competition run by Solar United Neighbors. So there’s that.
The brewery has a nice outdoor space, as well as indoor space, to hang out.
The beers all incorporate the word “mole” or the concept of a mole into the names, like
Molesonboro Island and Tunnel Digger, so it’s just a really fun concept.
What to drink at Mad Mole Brewing: Moledemort Stout (if only to say the name)
New Anthem Beer Project
Address: 116 Dock Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 399-4683
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 1 pm to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday: noon to 11 pm; Sunday: noon to 9 pm.
Address: 110 Greenfield Street; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 399-3100
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 2 pm to 9 pm; Friday to Sunday: noon to 9 pm.
New Anthem Beer Project has so much to offer that in 2020, New Anthem opened a second location in part of the large building behind Satellite Bar and Lounge on the corner of Greenfield Street and Carolina Beach Road, if you’re familiar with Wilmington.
This makes New Anthem the only brewery in Wilmington that operates two locations simultaneously. The second location (the Greenfield location) houses the majority of the production and spirit barrel aging and has a huge open taproom.
The first location is downtown and, although it is a large room, it is limited in capacity. New Anthem’s second location is a few blocks away, offers free off-street parking, and has a lot more room (although honestly, I think it has the same amount of seats).
What to drink at New Anthem: Little Star Rice Lager
TRU Colors Brewing
TRU Colors Brewing‘s first beer, TRU Light, was brewed thanks to a strategic partnership with Molson Coors (according to a Facebook post from June). Despite the beer being well received, there was too much turmoil within the brewery to overcome and it’s closing its doors on Friday, September 9.
Waterline Brewing Co.
Address: 721 Surray Avenue; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 777-5599
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 3 pm to 9 pm; Friday: 3 pm to 11 pm; Saturday: noon to 11 pm; Sunday: noon to 8 pm. Closed Monday.
The location of Waterline Brewing Co. is part of its appeal. Waterline is located under the Cape Fear bridge, near a boat slip. If you’re heading that way, you’re most likely either heading to Waterline or heading out on your boat (or, this last year, to the Riverfront Farmers’ Market since the market was temporarily moved to the private parking lot next to Waterline).
You can spend a full afternoon at Waterline. Outside, there are corn hole boards and a basketball game. Plus, there’s a full stage in the biergarten and musicians are there often. Inside, there are a ton of board games and a stage for bands. That actually makes it really kid friendly too.
Attached to the brewery is an art gallery too, so when it’s open, you have something to look at.
If you plan it right, plan to be there for the brewery’s annual Oktoberfest. They bring in German bands, serve beer in steins, and really make it a good time for everyone.
What to drink at Waterline Brewing Co.: Waterline Kolsch
Waterman’s Brewing Company
Address: 1610 Pavilion Pl; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 839-3103
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 11:30 am to 9 pm; Friday: 11:30 am to 10 pm; Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm; Sunday: 10 am to 9 pm.
Waterman’s Brewing Company is another new brewery that makes food on premises. Seriously, this is a big deal here. And the brewery offers lots of daily specials on food too, like $6 burgers and half off wings.
Waterman’s has a huge party room, which is really great if you need to host a party or a baby shower. The taproom is huge too with a big bar and a ton of tables for sit down dining. And there’s a large outdoor area with seating too.
What to drink at Waterman’s Brewing Company: Shark Repellant (mostly because it’s just fun to order)
Wilmington Brewing Company
Address: 824 S. Kerr Avenue; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 392-3315
Hours: Daily from noon to 9 pm.
This list is in alphabetical order, but Wilmington Brewing Company would be on the top of Pete’s list if he was writing it in order of his favorites.
Wilmington Brewing Company started as Wilmington Homebrew Supply in 2010 (the photo above it actually from back then). It was a small bottle shop that brewed a couple beers but was mostly known for selling homebrew needs (hops, grains, carboys, etc.). The operation took off, so Wilmington Brewing Company expanded into a larger location down the block.
Now, there’s a huge taproom, a store for homebrew supplies (which is way larger than you would expect!), an event space with games, an outdoor biergarten, and, of course, the brewing area.
The best part, honestly, are the owners John and Michelle, are so nice. If you want to get started with brewing your own beer, they’re so knowledgeable and will make the process seem super easy and accessible.
Wilmington Brewing Company’s family expanded (literally, they have two adorable daughters) and so is the business. Wilmington Brewing Comany bought the empty lot next door (which is about three acres) to expand the parking lot, add a playground, and open the Venue (Pete’s favorite space in all of Wilmington).
What to drink at Wilmington Brewing Company: Tropical Lightning
Wrightsville Beach Brewery
Address: 6201 Oleander Dr; Wilmington, NC
Phone: (910) 256-4938
Hours: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm.
Despite its name, Wrightsville Beach Brewery is actually located in Wilmington. So it makes the list. Breweries near Wilmington, NC but not actually in the city proper didn’t make the list.
It also makes the list because it serves food. For a long time, Front Street Brewery was the only brewery serving food. So it’s great to have more options to drink and eat. The brewery is known for the pizza it serves. The menu changes seasonally, but if you can catch the Tempura Cauliflower appetizer, definitely order it as a side for your beer. You won’t be disappointed.
What’s very exciting is that Wrightsville Beach Brewery announced it is opening its second location one town over, in Leland, North Carolina. It’ll be called Brunswick Beer and Cider and will serve beer, food, and have an event space.
What to drink at Wrightsville Beach Brewery: Piping Plover Pilsner
Wilmington, NC Breweries: Frequently Asked Questions
As of 2022, there are 16 breweries in Wilmington, NC.
Of the 16, all but two of them are local breweries, started in Wilmington.
The other two are North Carolina-based breweries that expanded into Wilmington.
Front Street Brewery is the oldest brewery in Wilmington, NC. It opened in 1995.
Planning a trip to Wilmington, NC?
If you’re planning to visit Wilmington and these breweries, these other posts will help you plan your trip.
- 24 Hours In Wilmington, NC
- 20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC
- 10 Free Things To Do In Wilmington, NC
- 10 Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC
- Best Cups Of Coffee In Wilmington, NC
- The Complete Guide To Distilleries In Wilmington, NC
And, if you’re planning a trip with your significant other, check out some Romantic Things To Do In Wilmington, NC while you’re in town.
Want to visit more breweries in North Carolina?
North Carolina has been dubbed North Craftolina because all of the local beer made in the state.
If you want to check out more of the breweries at taprooms in the state, we have a few suggestions for you below:
- Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom (Hope Mills, NC)
- Hi-Wire Brewing Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)
- Sierra Nevada (Mills River, NC)
Have you been to any of the Wilmington breweries in The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina? Let us know in the comments.