Christian Spears, our founder and president, grew up in a suburb of Annapolis, Maryland with his three sisters, Shawna, Lauren, and Katie, and parents, Garry and Elizabeth, who have been married for over 50 years. Christian left Maryland and headed to North Carolina for college, where he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. At school, he learned that establishing a strong work ethic and vision can take you anywhere, and it did, all the way around the world.
After college, Christian moved to New York City and delved into Wall Street, becoming a derivative trader with a focus on emerging market government debt. Working in New York, and for a time London, Christian covered emerging debt markets from Brazil to Russia, garnering experience in the expanding world of business and finance. However, he was pining for something bigger and a lifelong career that would steer him towards a greater purpose. After many years in finance, he left Wall Street in spring 2007 to spend a year living and engaging in philanthropic work in developing countries.
Inspired by his special needs sister, Katie, Christian spent the year in both Central America and Southeast Asia, assisting special needs orphans at Marina Guirola in Guatemala City, Guatemala and volunteering at Mother House and Prem Dan in Calcutta, India. While backpacking across continents, Christian’s drive to create his own path flourished. The welcomeness he felt sharing drinks with friends, and the conversations driven by the love of local craft beer around the world, left a pronounced mark on his journey.
In late 2008, he returned from his volunteer work abroad and headed back south, ultimately deciding to permanently move to Music City where some of his closest friends live.
When it comes to beer, Christian learned about brew the old fashioned way - bartending in college through the craft beer boom of the 90s and delving into the local beer scenes in New York, London, and around the world. Spending nights with friends at neighborhood watering holes like the Blind Tiger Ale House and Belgo, Christian immersed himself in the craft beer scene wherever he went. And although he already knew what great beer could be, a home brew experience in 2006 awakened him to the possibilities with home brewing and fortified his love for the art.
The hops were planted for what was to come.
With a tremendous amount of research, encouragement, and support from friends and family, Christian refocused his life towards the creation and development of beer. His dream of opening up a brewery became synonymous with friendship, tenacity and community - from moving to Nashville to be by his best friends and working passionately to start a bricks-and-mortars business, Christian centered his energy towards deepening an already supportive community that surrounded him.
With the strong work ethic and regard for vision he established earlier in life, and the respect and admiration for local communities he found paramount after his travels, Christian founded Tennessee Brew Works.
Joined by a hardworking and passionate team, Tennessee Brew Works created its first beer in August of 2013. The Tennessee Brew Works family has been brewing “finely tuned craft beer” ever since.
For his work at Tennessee Brew Works, Christian has been featured in the Wall Street Journal's Accelerators and Southern Living Magazine, with recognition in other national publications such as Food and Wine Magazine, the Daily Meal, Forbes and CNN.
Christian lives in East Nashville with his blue heeler, Blu.