Always Ready, Reporting for Duty
When we brew a beer, we never really know what people are going to think of it. We know we like it — we brew beer that we want to drink. But how will the rest of the world receive it? That’s always the question, and we’ll never really get an answer on that until we’ve committed to brewing a batch and sending it out into the world.
Thankfully, we’ve been pretty lucky in that regard. We’ll brew a batch of beer and people like it.
However, every so often, we’ll have a hit on our hands — but they’re rare. Like a blue diamond. Or a white peacock.
And when we have a hit on our hands, we know it’s time to ride the wave. Extend the run. Press more albums. Make sure as many people as possible have the chance to experience our beer.
And Always Ready has been an unqualified hit.
It’s been extraordinarily well-received, by civilians and Coasties alike. In fact, it won Best Session Ale at the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival this past weekend, and everyone was raving about it.
“An event like AC Beerfest was a great place to showcase the beer,” says Events Team Member Jenna Tesauro. “It appealed to beer drinkers of all varieties, as it is light and drinkable but with plenty of interesting notes. Folks commented that it’d be a great beer for sharing and hanging out with friends all day. I had one person say it made them ‘excited to get back down the shore for summer.’ I think it surprised some folks because it’s not your standard pale ale.”
Always Ready “checked all the boxes” for people at Beerfest. Whether they were looking for a hoppy beer, or something light, or something new, Always Ready got a positive response. The keg kicked as quickly as Corrosion and Foreshore Shandy, with quite a few people coming back for more.
“I think that illustrates that serious beer drinkers enjoyed it,” Jenna said. “With all the options that we were pouring and that were at the Fest, I thought that was awesome.”
“Every single person had a positive response,” Lauren reports. “A few commented on how they could smell the citrus and hops right away and, once they tasted the beer, their response was how much they loved that crisp clean flavor and loved the hoppiness of a ‘light pale ale’. Many came back for a second glass before the first course was even served.”
Director of Sales and Marketing Bill Zaninelli has seen a great response in the field, as well.
“It’s a great beer,” he says. “It’s got a nice flavor, nice bouquet, not overly hoppy, and only 4.8%. It’s intensely drinkable, and people have told me it’s a three-sip pint. Boom. Boom. Boom. It’s done.
“So, I made an executive decision to buy more cans, stress the shit out of Jimmy, and make it all year long.”
Regardless of Director of Brewing Operation Jimmy Valm’s stress — and he’s definitely feeling the pinch, particularly as summer looms on the horizon (really, it’s coming!) — he’s loving the fact that Always Ready has been picked up as a full-time offering.
“It’s always a bit of a surprise when you see, first-hand, people enjoying the beers we make,” he says. “It’s something I hope I never get used to. But with Always Ready I’m not too surprised. We knew we had something special on our hands, and we were always hoping that if the reception was a good one that we would make this a full-time part member of our line-up. I’m glad everyone enjoys it as much as we do!”
Head Brewer Brian Hink isn’t terribly surprised, either.
“It’s a lower alcohol hop-bomb — pretty much what everyone is craving right now — so, no, I’m not shocked people are digging it,” he says. “I’m glad people like it, and I’m really glad we made it full time because I really enjoy drinking it.”
Most importantly, though, our beloved Coast Guard members have been loving it.
“As a member of the US Coast Guard, we truly appreciate the recognition Cape May Brewing Company has given us,” says Boatswain’s Mate Third Class, and avid CMBC fan, Michael Buckley. “This honor is a great example of the support your business shows the Coast Guard and its members.”
We also received a touching email from a retired Coastie, Chief Petty Officer Tim Zartman.
“I would like to thank you for recognizing the Coast Guard with your Always Ready beer,” he wrote. “I had the pleasure of starting my 20-year Coast Guard career on May 9, 1982, in Cape May! I remember we got to leave the base and participate in a 5- or 10k run through the beautiful town of Cape May, which was wonderful. Thank you for remembering us Coasties.”
The Coast Guard itself is truly humbled by our decision to make Always Ready a full-time offering.
“Cape May County has been home to the Coast Guard for nearly 100 years,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jake Cuomo, Personnel Officer at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. “This area, and particularly the people, are such an integral part of our service’s history that we take great pride in calling this the ‘Coast Guard’s Hometown.’ The variety of ways the community has shown to honor its relationship with the Coast Guard is humbling and greatly appreciated.”
As with any of our offerings, our intent was no more than to make a good beer and honor an institution that’s been a huge part of the Cape May community for over a century. We didn’t brew Always Ready to win awards; we brewed it because we liked it.
It’s nice to see that everyone else likes it, too.