Our Events Team
Odds are, you’ve met these women. You’ve seen them out at our Tap Takeovers or at beer dinners or at any number of beer festivals throughout the region.
They’re our intrepid Events Team: Jenna Tesauro and Lauren Frech have been with us for a little over three years, and, since we’ve added a new member of the team — not coincidentally Jenna’s twin sister Danielle –, we figured it was time to introduce our fans to these wonderful ladies.
“I’d be lost without them,” says Events Coordinator Randi Friel. “They’re incredibly hard workers. They’re out in the field, rain or shine, running awesome tap takeovers and beer festivals, answering questions from new fans — all while getting our beer to flow through our sometimes-temperamental jockey boxes. They are perfect.”
And Randi’s not just trying to make them sound good — they really are amazing. However, if you’ve been to an event that features our beer, you probably already know that.
Meet your Events Team!
Jenna, Danielle, and Lauren are all based in the Philly area, so we got together at the South Philadelphia Tap Room for a few pints of Always Ready and some scintillating conversation.
Lauren was working her day job — a corporate fundraiser — in the Reading area that day, so we got her on the phone, barely audible over the din of the bar.
“It’s a lot of travel,” she says about her day job. “It’s mostly hospitals and nursing facilities, but I probably go as far north as Chicago, I’ve been to Utica, New York, recently, and as far south as Richmond, Virginia. My territory’s pretty big.”
Lauren says that it’s difficult to say in a nutshell what she does, but this March she will have been with the company for ten years and she enjoys it.
“I’m not in an office with the same people every day,” she says. “I like that.”
Originally from Chester County, PA, Lauren attended East Carolina University. We found it a little surprising that she went so far away for school.
“I visited it in high school, and I really liked it,” she explains. “I really love it down there. I still go down to visit.”
Jenna and Danielle grew up in Mullica Hill before heading off to college.
“It was a lot smaller then,” Jenna jokes.
“We moved there from Cherry Hill when we were about nine years old,” Danielle said. “It was mostly farmers then.”
Jenna to went to Bucknell for Psychology with minors in Biology and Philosophy then attended the University of Pennsylvania for grad school. Now, she advises college students.
“I tell college kids what to do with their lives,” she laughs. “I suggest. My title is ‘Associate Director of Academic Advising and Affairs at Wharton,’ but it really is hanging out with 18- to 22-year-olds and trying to give them advice. It could be worse. It required a master’s degree to be able to do it.”
While Jenna’s job provides her with a trip abroad every year, what she really likes is that she gets to meet interesting people at Wharton.
“I’m always around very interesting people,” she says. “There are people from 40 different countries, all different experiences. They’re pretty smart kids.”
Danielle attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for Aeronautical Engineering. Folks, she’s a real, live rocket scientist, working as a Principal Reliability Engineer for Atlas Air.
“I worked for American Airlines and US Air for a while,” she says. “Atlas is mostly cargo and military charters.”
Basically, Danielle keeps the planes running on time.
“I look at every reason that planes take a delay,” she explains, “and I come up with preemptive maintenance programs to prevent those delays. I specialize in forward landing gear. I like the troubleshooting aspect. Finding new ways to fix things.”
So, suffice it to say, these are three smart cookies.
Jenna and Danielle are avid homebrewers, as well, having brewed a Holiday Ale this past weekend. They’d brewed this recipe in the past but never really gave it enough time, so they got a jump on things this year.
“We’re gonna let it sit for a bit,” Jenna says. “It’s got pretty classic, caramelly malts, Centennial hops, oranges and stuff, cinnamon and vanilla, and a bunch of honey.”
“We’ve brewed it the past few years, and it’s been astringent,” Danielle says. “It’s better if you get it a little earlier and let it sit.”
They’d recently finished their pumpkin beer and were able to sample it throughout the brew day. At 9%, it really packs a punch.
“We’re really proud of that one,” Danielle says. “We’re ‘basic’, apparently, but it’s got a lot of spice to it.”
“There hasn’t been another competition since then, so we’re still the reigning champs,” Danielle says.
Prior to working events, the three of them were avid visitors to the Tasting Room — they all have families with homes in the area and an innate love for good beer — before they’d ever thought of working events for us.
“I loved going into the Tasting Room and drinking beer on rainy days when we were at the beach,” Lauren says.
She noticed that we were hiring for someone in the Philly area to work events, and she didn’t hesitate to apply.
“I didn’t even think twice about it,” she says. “I wasn’t even looking for a second job at the time; I really liked the beers we were putting out and I thought it would be a fun thing to represent. I went in and got the job.”
In addition to her gig at Wharton, Jenna was also working as a DJ at the time.
“I really needed a third job, that’s why I applied,” she says. “Similar to Lauren, I was drinking a not-insignificant amount of Cape May beer and talking it up, so, I figured that if I could get paid for doing it, that would be great.”
For years, Danielle had been “tagging along” with Jenna to events before she began working here. In fact, we’re not entirely sure that Mop Man realized that Danielle wasn’t an employee.
“But it came natural,” she says. “I let Randi know that if she ever needed anyone to hit me up.”
And Randi definitely needed someone this Oktoberfest season. The months of September and October are filled with beer events — by that time, we’re out of the debilitating heat of the summer and into perfect outdoor-drinking weather, so everyone wants to schedule events during that prime time.
“I enjoy it,” Lauren says. “Oktoberfest season is a fun time every year.”
“Yeah, I do, too,” Jenna agrees. “I miss it when it’s over.”
“It’s nice to take a breather when it’s over,” Lauren says, “but doing it is really fun.”
Philly Beer Week ends up being a bit of a whirlwind for these ladies, as well. However, the events are so varied that they really enjoy them.
“For two years, we had that pie-eating contest with the pie-flavored beers,” Jenna recalls. “The beers were great, the crowd was into it — maybe not the pie-eating, but they loved the beers. But what I really loved about it is that it was one of those events where a lot of the Cape May staff showed up to rep the brewery. It was a really great moment to hang out with colleagues that we don’t really get to see, in addition to working a really great event.”
They also love the community that springs up around beer festivals. Our events team ends up seeing the same faces working festivals for other breweries, and everyone tends to look out for one another.
“We’ve got so many good friends at other breweries,” Jenna says, “simply from getting to hang out at events.”
“The first solo event I worked,” Danielle tells us, “I accidentally froze our lines and Cole from Heavy Seas was great in helping me to troubleshoot it.”
There are a lot of things that go into making a great event, but Jenna loves working the ones where people are really interested in beer.
“We don’t always have enough time to talk to every person about the beer,” Jenna says, “lines get long and there’s a lot of beer to share with everyone, but when people are genuinely interested to try our beer and get to know it, that’s the part that I find great.”
Generally, tap takeovers give our staff a bit more time to interact with the attendees, but they do present their own challenges.
“Tap takeovers are tough,” Jenna says. “I have no trouble interrupting people’s conversations, but it’s a captive audience. I think we get more hardcore fans at tap takeovers.”
“It’s true,” Lauren agrees. “When you have someone who’s a little more serious and really wants to learn the background of the beer — even if it’s just the name. People ask about Always Ready and they make a joke, ‘Oh, I’m Always Ready for a beer!’ and then we can go into the story about why we named it Always Ready and tell people about the Coast Guard in Cape May. They understand the background behind the beer, then they want to drink more of it. It makes it more fun.”
“It helps that we have a pretty good story to tell,” Jenna agrees.
“I feel like my Jersey cred gets questioned sometimes,” Jenna says. “‘Let’s see… you live in Philly but work for Cape May…’ But then I ask if they want a ‘Mop Wooder’. And I have very Jersey Girl hair. There’s a lot of aerosol hair spray.”
There are a lot of wonderful things about working on the events team, too.
“I love talking to people about Cape May beer,” Jenna says. “It’s interesting how we’ve evolved over the past three-and-a-half years.”
Jenna and Danielle have a lot of fun working events together, because, as twins, they share the same face.
“I love it when Jenna and I are working an event together and people ask us if we know each other,” Danielle jokes. “It’s a sobriety test, in a way. Sometimes we tell them that we just met. If they fall for it, they’re cut off.”
It definitely takes a special kind of person to work events. We noticed that all of the things that they love about their day jobs — Lauren saying that she loves to travel, Jenna mentioning that she loves meeting interesting people, and Danielle loving to troubleshoot issues — are all things that go into making someone good at working events.
“You definitely have to like people,” Jenna says.
“You have to be social,” Danielle agrees.
“And you have to love Cape May beer,” Lauren says.
“Going to beer fests,” Danielle says, “you’ll see that other breweries bring only okay beers. We always have a solid lineup of beers.”
“Our beers always kick first,” Lauren says. “We’re always one of the first to kick.”
“At Sippin’ on Station,” Danielle says, “we add another keg every year, and we’re still the first to kick.”
“You have to be adaptable, too,” Jenna says. “We’re onsite and things sometimes don’t go according to plan.”
Jockey boxes — those little coolers with lines of CO2 and beer running through them — are notoriously fickle. There are a lot of little things that can go wrong, resulting in foamy beer. Danielle was lucky that our very own MacGuyver — Hank — was alongside her at her most recent event.
“Being able to fix an airplane helps only marginally,” Danielle laughs, “but I can only fix a jockey box if I have the right tools. When I worked Sippin’ on Station with Hank, we had the ‘octobox’ — the four-tap jockey box — and we had a problem on one side. He went home and grabbed his tools.”
“Two nerdy engineers,” Jenna laughs.
But they really love sharing their favorite beers with others.
“There are so many people that have an affinity to our brand,” Jenna says, “and then we get to see them outside the Tasting Room. It’s a nice way to connect them to the beer they enjoy drinking.”
Yet, they all have their favorite beers.
“Refresh-zing!” Jenna says, her winning homebrew.
“Yeah, that’s a favorite of all three of us,” Lauren says. “Then the next one that they enter into a homebrew contest, that’ll be our favorite, too.”
“I mean, maybe Coastal with Brett, too,” Jenna admits. “It’s funky. I like that weird earthiness that goes with the tropical IPA. It’s that nice, pineapple-y vibe that goes with it. Coastal’s one of my favorite beers to begin with, but I like the weirdness of the Brett.”
“Even before I started working here, I loved Devil’s Reach,” Lauren says. “I love that beer. It’s always my go-to. It goes down so smooth, but then it sneaks up on you if you drink too many.”
“Devil’s and I have a complicated relationship,” Danielle admits. “I may have held Brian Westbrook a little too close and a little too long, so I’m restricted on tailgating.”
You’ll have to get the rest of that story from Danielle the next time you see her at an event, sports fans.
“But my favorite is Concrete Ship,” she says. “I can drink the hell out of a good, hoppy beer, which Cape May has plenty of, but a really well-done stout, it’s always something that leaves a mark for me.”
While they rarely get to see each other — maybe Jenna and Danielle get to see each other a little more frequently than they get to see Lauren, simply through virtue of being twins — they love working together.
“I love our crew,” Lauren says. “When I get to hang out with Jenna and Danielle — which is rare — that’s my favorite time: when I get to work with the whole crew because most of the time we work solo. They’re the best. We really do work well together, we’re a good team, and we have a lot of fun.”
And it shows. These three women love what they do, which is probably the unspoken secret to a successful event.
You will undoubtedly run into them out and about, working festivals and tap takeovers. Be sure to say hello!
And see if you can guess if it’s Jenna or Danielle.