Demisemi Day at Cape May
When Villanova University is involved, great things happen. And such was the case last week when the Villanova Alumni Association hosted a private event, Demisemi Day at Cape May Brewing Company.
It was a warm Saturday in October and the Tasting Room was packed, but that didn’t stop a plucky band of VU alums from having a great time. About fifty alums along with their spouses and children gathered in the Beer Garden for some pulled pork and beer.
Of course, everyone was trying Demisemi.
“I’ve known Ryan and Bob Krill for a very long time,” said Chris Kovolski, Assistant Vice President of Government Relations and External Affairs at Villanova University. “It’s been wonderful to watch this business grow. Just over six years in business, and I remember when they started with just one small area, a homemade brewing system, and they made enough beer to maybe get them through Saturday each week.”
Just as CMBC has seen tremendous growth over the past six years, Villanova has seen comparable growth over the past ten. After decades at the top of the Northeast regional rankings in US News and World Reports, Villanova broke into the national rankings last year at #50. The campus has seen $350M of construction, essentially putting in a small town on Lancaster Avenue with shops and restaurants run by the school and student housing upstairs. A much-needed parking garage is complete, and in January — at long, long last — the University breaks ground on a Performing Arts Center.
Villanova’s growth can be attributed to the leadership of President Fr. Peter Donohue, who was in attendance last week.
If you’ve ever watched a Villanova basketball game, you’ve seen Fr. Peter. He’s never far from the court cheering on the team, and during commercial breaks, he’s the guy you see with his arms outstretched at the end of the Villanova commercials, saying, “Villanova University,” in a deep, resonant baritone.
Before his ascension to the presidency, Fr. Peter was head of the theatre department at Villanova. A seminal character around campus, dressed in his signature tunic and wooden cross, he’s had a profound effect on generations of Villanova actors, including Golden Globe-nominated Maria Bello and CMBC’s own Storyteller (and part-time actor), Scott Armato.
In a word, Fr. Peter is awesome.
“It was Chris [Kovolski]’s idea to have a beer for the 175th,” Fr. Peter said. “He fancies himself a beer connoisseur and told us that there was a brewery in Cape May that would make a beer for us, and I’m not even going to say the name, but they put it all over the Philadelphia area. People say to me, ‘Oh, I saw the Villanova beer!’
“I say, ‘Well, it goes very well with Villanova. Beer and Villanova are very closely connected, in more ways than one,” he quipped.
Mop Man led Fr. Peter and the alumni on a tour of HQ. Throughout the tour, Fr. Peter was thoroughly impressed by CMBC’s operations, often expressing surprise at how quickly the company has grown.
“I am amazed by the operations here,” he said. “I never expected anything this big or professional. I heard about it from various people from Villanova. They told me that these two guys from Villanova opened a brewery down here in Cape May, and I thought it was a nice idea. I saw an article about the two of them in an alumni magazine, and I thought it was just a small operation. I’m amazed at how big it is and what they’ve done with it.
“I’m very proud of them.”
While Fr. Peter is definitely the star of Villanova, the star of the night was Demisemi, with the alumni flocking to the bar to sample the beer. Many of them have had the chance throughout the year to sample the beer, but very few of them have been able to do so at the source.
Demisemi was extraordinarily well-received, with Fr. Peter being its biggest cheerleader.
“I love it!” Fr. Peter said. “And I’m not a beer drinker!”
Working with Villanova over the past year has been tremendously rewarding. As the celebrations of the University’s 175th year draw to a close, we’ll be sad to see our time with them end. In true Augustinian fashion, the crew at the University have been wonderful to work with, a community united in mind and heart, accepting of ideas and enthusiastic about possibilities.
Luckily, we have enough Demisemi to get us through the year — as far as we’re concerned, the celebration isn’t over yet. Stop down to the Tasting Room and fill your growler!