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DBT40 Honoree: Paul Hester Jr.

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Title: Founder and CEO

Workplace: First State Brewing Company

Age: 40


When it comes to craft brewing, there’s a lot more that goes into a good product than just the ingredients. For First State Brewing Company’s Founder and CEO Paul Hester Jr., a focus on every level of the business, from the brewery to the taproom to the kitchen, is key.

While Hester mainly focuses on leadership, management, strategy and growth planning, he also has a hand in the Middletown-based business’s accounting, bookkeeping and human resources needs, as well as recipe development, brewing and packaging.

Before opening the brewery in 2020, the Lewes native served as an executive director in global technology and cybersecurity for JPMorgan Chase & Co., but for years had been drafting a business plan that would lead him to pursue his entrepreneurial passions. Despite opening the brewery in the midst of a pandemic.

The brewery has earned recent recognitions as a First State favorite, and Hester also secured several professional certifications and recognitions during his prior career in the financial industry. He also was nominated and served as the Honorary Commander for the Delaware Air National Guard and on the Academic Advisory Council for Wilmington University.


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