Meet Jocelyn and Jacob!
Our latest brew crew feature is a two for one! We’ve been fortunate enough to bring on so many great team members the past few months, and these two Brewtique Associates are no exception.
Meet Jocelyn Schwartz and Jacob Snizik!
First up is Jocelyn Schwartz!
“Jocelyn loves beer. She has a real passion for it. It shines through when she has conversations with the customers, and she’s not afraid to be honest and genuine, which is also great for customer service,” Brewtique Manager Kaitlyn Smith says.
In our brief time chatting with her, Jocelyn had a beer-nerd worthy story of what brought her to Cape May Brewing Company!
Jocelyn is from Northfield, and has grown up in the Atlantic City area.
She’s currently studying biochemistry at Rutgers New Brunswick. She’s home for the summer, and was looking to get more hands-on experience.
“I was making kombucha in my college apartment, and someone gifted me this conical fermenter, with the thought that I would use it for kombucha,” she says.
“But then I thought, heck no, I’m going to make beer in this! I went to Eastern Homebrew, not even five minutes from my house,” she says.
(Ed. note: Fellow beer fans, Eastern Homebrew is off Tilton Road up in Northfield!)
“I made friends with the owner there, and he really inspired me,” she shares. “After he set me up with all the supplies, I got to see some of his beer collection and he said, ‘Oh, you know what the best beer around here is? Cape May.’”
“I had never tried Cape May beer before. I don’t really live close by, so I haven’t had a chance to visit yet. It just so happened that I saw an Instagram post, and one thing led to another, and now I’m here,” she says with a smile.
“I made an American Pale Ale for my first homebrew, and it’s supposed to be a Sierra Nevada clone,” she says. “I used an all-grain recipe. It was successful, and I was really surprised. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong went wrong and no matter how many YouTube videos I could have watched, they would not have prepared me for everything that happened during that process. But it was really fun,” she says, grinning.
She chose APA as a style that’s more forgiving for beginning homebrewers: “I wanted my first beer to be a success so that it would inspire me to keep going. I think I’m going to make an IPA next.”
“Normally for my summers, I’m stuck at school doing research in the lab, but I kind of wanted something different this year,” she says. “I thought the science behind beer making was really interesting. What better way to see it with my own eyes than working at a brewery? Turns out I live forty minutes away from one of the best!”
Jocelyn even found some unexpected benefits of working at Cape May this summer: “I’ve never had work friends before, and I have that here,” she says.
The new summer crew are all around the same age, so they have a lot in common, in addition to navigating a busy brewery in the summer!
“Every person I’ve met has been really interesting to talk to, because everyone has something going on outside of the brewery. Danielle works on planes, and Jenna is in higher education,” she says. “Some people are retired cops or retired firemen. Everyone has some really interesting stories. I’ve never had that kind of experience at a job before. A lot of people wanted to be here, even though they have other things going on.”
One day while working at the greeter stand, Jocelyn even ran into two of her former science teachers!
“I’m still in touch with some of them, because they’re the reason why I went to school for biochemistry,” she shares. “It was the most exciting thing ever, seeing them there. We just screamed when we saw each other. It’s fun reuniting in a place like this—it’s unexpected.”
At school, Jocelyn worked and did research in a fungal genetics lab.
“I’m doing a senior thesis about essential oil and how the essential oil volatiles impact pathogenic fungi. I’m going to be leading the project,” she said.
“Before, it was using fungi as a form of biocontrol. If you want a product to be organic, you have to factor in any potential issues with molds. If you put a certain fungi on one side of the room and your products on the other side, volatiles from that can impact the growth of certain pathogens. It’s really interesting,” she says.
“Beer has consumed my life right now. I’m brewing at home, and I’m working in a brewery,” she says with a laugh.
When she’s not learning about or working with beer, Jocelyn finds herself outside.
“I love to hike,” she says. “This past year, I spent a lot of time in California because we were remote during COVID. During spring break, I went to visit my boyfriend who lives out there, and all my flights back home were canceled. I was there for two and a half months. I was bummed about it at first, but it was awesome.”
And, like a scene straight out of a sitcom, Jocelyn even ran into someone at a park who gave her some sage advice.
“There was this guy in the park, and I told him about how I was there, and couldn’t get a flight back home,” she says. “And he said ‘Girl, you didn’t end up here, you’re not stuck here. You were found.’”
(Ed. note: Mind. Blown.)
She and a friend got creative to find a way back to New Jersey.
“My friend from home fixed up their van and we drove across the country back home. We stopped at all of these national parks. Utah was amazing, and we went to Arizona and Colorado, too. We bathed in rivers and cooked out of the van. It was really fun,” she says.
“My dad got me into hiking when I was little and that used to be our bonding activity together. When I went to college, I joined the outdoors club there so we did hiking and rock climbing. In the past year, I feel like all I’ve been doing is outdoor activities, which has been awesome. I’m really lucky I got to travel in a safe way.”
Her favorite national park is Zion in Utah, and one hike stood out in particular.
“Angel’s Landing is a pretty tame hike, but then when you get to the false peak, you can take this route all the way to the actual peak. It’s very narrow and there’s this chain that you have to hold onto as you go up,” she says. “It’s not really for people who are afraid of heights, and it’s really challenging. But it was just so much fun and the views were unlike anything that I’ve ever seen. That hike was probably one of the best moments of my life so far.”
She also enjoys rock climbing and roller skating.
“A major goal is to get better at rock climbing this summer. Lifting all of those cases at work probably helped,” she says with a laugh.
Anyone who’s ever taken home three or more cases full of beer from the Brewtique will know the struggle!
“I got into roller skating last year. That was my big pandemic thing. I’m a really social person, and I think a lot of things are better shared. Since I was at home, it was hard for me to find something I could do by myself and be content with. I just went around in my neighborhood, and now I go to the skate park in Wildwood sometimes before work,” she says.
Working at Cape May Brewing Company has inspired Jocelyn to consider the field when she graduates, but she’s keeping her options open.
“I’m studying for the GRE right now, and I’m applying for PhD programs in the fall. Either for microbiology or plant pathology, depending on the school. I know I’m going to be in a lab, though. I probably want to do research for the rest of my life,” she says.
It’s a path born from her outlook on life.
“I think it’s always important to ask questions. I’ve gone through my life never being afraid to ask. Being able to tackle a problem on your own is so important. All science begins with a question,” she says. “I’ve always approached it from the thought that I know nothing, so I need to know more. That’s where the research aspect comes in. I’m not afraid of failure, either. I don’t really get discouraged from that.”
In the meantime, Jocelyn is loving the close proximity to great beer.
“I’ve been suggesting City to Shore to a lot of people who come to the Brewtique, and there are people who have come back and said ‘You were right! I’m coming back for more.’ So that’s always nice to hear,” she says.
You can find Jocelyn during the week in the Brewtique, or at the greeter stand welcoming customers. Make sure to say hi and ask her about her progress on the homebrew IPA she’s creating!
Next up, we have Jacob Snizik, who was actually here for an interview the same day as Jocelyn earlier this year!
“Jacob is a real pro. He has a strong retail background and he’s a nice asset to the team because he’s definitely customer-focused. From the second he gets in to when he leaves, his main priority is making sure that every customer that comes in that door is leaving with exactly what they want,” Kaitlyn Smith says.
Jake is from Pittsburgh originally.
“For locals, there’s the South Hills, the North Hills, the West End and the East End. I’m from the West End. I grew up in a neighborhood called Crafton, it’s 10 minutes from the city center, and that’s actually where Bill Cowher, the Steelers’ former coach, was from,” he says.
“I went to St. Vincent College, it’s about an hour east of Pittsburgh in Latrobe, PA. There’s a lot of claims to fame there. Arnold Palmer and Mr. Rogers are both from there originally. It’s a beautiful place,” he says.
“It’s an amazing place. One of the other claims to fame is that every year the Steelers come and they have their training camp there on our campus. That’s one of the reasons why we have three football fields,” he says with a smirk.
He got his BA in history, with a minor in creative writing.
During his first year of school, he lived in dorms divided into blocks and pods.
“Kind of like a prison would be,” he says with a laugh. “Rooms on each side, with the living room in the middle, and two sets of bathrooms and showers. There were two people in each room, so probably about twenty people total, plus an RA. They were called Prefects.”
Their pod included people from out of town, and even those from Pittsburgh were from a different part of the city.
“I was the only person from my neighborhood that was there,” he says.
“It gave you an instant set of people that you knew and could socialize with,” he says. “We all hung out during the day and at the beginning of the year we all threw twenty bucks in for a big screen TV.”
“If anyone was doing work, we would all help each other most of the time. As one of the writers of the group, I would also help edit people’s papers,” he says.
“My dad and I sold our home there two Januarys ago,” he says. “He moved out here with my stepmom, who lives in Sicklerville.”
His mom lives out in Seattle now, with his stepdad. She worked for the United Steelworkers union, which is a big presence in Pittsburgh due to its history in the steel industry. Jake’s younger sibling is a year younger, and just finished college out in Oregon.
“We’ve had a beach house down in North Wildwood for as long as I’ve been coming out here,” he shares. “This year, I figured I would look towards the beach for work. I love the beach—I always have. It was perfect, so I could have the beach house to myself during the week.”
(Ed. note: Sounds like the ultimate vacation to us!)
The pandemic hit just as Jake was finishing his senior year. He wears the class ring he got when he graduated, a gift from his grandparents when the first of the stimulus checks came in.
“One of the good things that came out of last year right before the pandemic was that we got to travel for a class,” he says.
“As part of my minor in creative writing, I took an Irish Literature class. We read Blake, Joyce, Yates, Keats and all of those guys. The kicker is that we got to spend a week over in Dublin. If we had stayed two weeks or ten days, I would have been stuck over there,” he says.
(Ed. note: Could that timing be any more ideal?)
“When we were in Ireland, the pandemic was only in China and northern Italy, and people were just starting to get nervous about it. They shut down school for two weeks when we came back. That next Thursday, which was St. Patrick’s Day, they sent out a schoolwide email that the year was done,” he says. “I read that when I was in Sicklerville in my room and it was horrible.”
“Ireland was great, though,” he says. “We stayed mostly in Dublin. Did all the tours and museums and the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour. I had written a paper sophomore year on the Irish Republican Army and the history of the fighting that happened over there, so I had a bit of background beforehand. At Trinity College, they had an original copy of the proclamation from the rising on Easter Monday. There was the original Irish harp, too, which is on the Guinness logo.”
“If you go there to the GPO, the big General Post Office in Dublin, there are still bullet holes in the columns, because the post office became their Alamo. During the fight, the British sent mortars in and down into the roof. By the end of it, the entire block was destroyed. The building remained, because the base is heavy and marble, but the entire roof was gone,” he says.
Although he didn’t make it up to Northern Ireland during his trip, Jake knows the history between those conflicts as well.
“When they signed that agreement in 1998, they said okay, the North is still part of the United Kingdom, but if there ever comes a day that they want to join the Republic, all they have to do is vote on it, and they can leave,” he says. “It will probably happen in our lifetime, in the next 20 or 30 years, likely based on economics.”
Jake’s passion for and knowledge of history comes through in his personal hobbies as well.
“I like to write a lot. Historical fiction is where I started. I’ve been writing a book about the ancient Romans for about 10 years now. I started it when I was younger and in school, and I could never find anything I wanted to read. That changed when I got older, of course, and I read things all the time now, but at the time, I was like, ok I can’t find anything to read, so I’ll write something,” he says.
“So I started writing about the Second Punic War that the Romans fought against Hannibal and Carthage. It’s historical fiction in the sense that the people who are real are real, and the people I made up are made up. It’s the story of a group of high ranking generals, and their entire life in the war. It was a war that went on for 16 years, so they’re our age when it begins and they’re in their 40’s when it ends,” he shares.
But this isn’t his first major writing project. Jake already has a completed five book spy series.
“I finished two and a half years ago. I started the spy series about six years ago. They get longer as they go on. The first book is 110,000 words, the second one is 120,000, the third one is 140,000, the fourth one’s 240,000, and the last one is 376,000,” he says.
For anyone who reads fantasy or other epics, these book lengths are par for the course. But it’s an entirely new challenge to write them, especially for the spy genre!
“My guy is an American James Bond,” he says. “He works with the CIA and goes out and fights America’s enemies.”
The character’s name, Jack Baron, is a play on Jake’s high school nickname, and one of his friend’s last names, the two of which happen to make a great combination for a fictional character.
“During the course of the story, Jack Baron gets mixed up with a Columbian drug lord named Catalina. She’s my best character,” he says.
He did a ton of research for both of these writing projects, including using Google Maps to explore the locations and create narratives with as much realistic details as possible.
If you want to hear more about his cinematic novels, you’ll have to chat with Jake yourself!
He comes to Cape May Brewing Company, like Kaitlyn mentioned earlier, with a lot of experience under his belt already.
“Being back here reminds me how good of a salesman I am,” he says. “Before this, I always worked retail and I’ve told the people in the Brewtique some of my stories. I’ve previously worked in formal wear, at two separate tuxedo places. In the interim, I worked at Jos. A. Bank for the summer. I went to school and worked in the summers to make enough money to last the year.”
We don’t often see interview candidates in full-on formal wear, but Jake wore one of his suits when he visited us. When we hired Jake, he shared some of his retail experiences, especially with how he adapts to different visitor needs!
“You treat the different parties who walk in differently. A wedding party is different from a prom party, or a guy going to the opera who needs something quick,” he says.
“Even if they have an idea of what they want, the trick is to see how you can help bring that to reality, or help guide people towards what styles work together,” he shares.
“The one thing I’ve noticed is that when people come in, they’re really happy and grab a variety of things, whether it’s beer or merchandise. They’re on vacation. The ease of it is interesting,” he says.
“People have questions, like why the beer is kept cold, and you can let them know about the different processes and why certain fruit beer or seltzers need to be kept cold,” he says. “I’m always seeing if there’s a space where I can help people or answer questions if they’re considering something while they’re shopping.”
“It’s all about reading people, and getting in the mindset of how other people think,” he shares. “You make those analytical choices in seconds.”
“A lot of being able to help people as quickly as possible is being prepared and knowing the beer, or trying all of the beer, which I’ve done,” Jake says with a laugh.
Jake has visited Cape May Brewery in previous years with family, and he was surprised to find that he enjoys the Cape May IPA!
In Pittsburgh, on the north side of the city is a brewery that specializes in German styles. Before he had our IPA, the only other one he liked was from that brewery.
“I also love Tan Limes. As far as beers of the world go, I’ll pick up anything and try, but I like all the Mexican varieties. Another one I like is Boat Ramp Champ. My dad got me hooked on that. He read something about it and got it at the store near where we live, before I started working here,” he says. “I really like Cin Cin, too.”
Jake is part of the friend group Jocelyn mentioned earlier.
“All of the younger generation staff became fast friends at work, and I hear they get along well outside of work as well. They’re this new generation of young beer fans working together in the Brewtique. They have a great rhythm on Saturdays working together,” Kaitlyn Smith shares.
She has very high expectations for her team, but she’s happy to report that they’re nailing them.
You’ll meet some of the other new team members in a later brew crew installment!
You’ll likely find Jake on the weekends in the Brewtique. Make sure to say hi, and if you need some style recommendations, or you’re not sure what to get as a gift, he just might be the person to talk to!