Ashley Sundstrom grew up on the Cape before leaving for seven years to pursue a singing career, but Los Angeles wasn’t her proverbial bag.
“I recorded a few demo CDs in Burbank and Sherman Oaks, worked with some really cool bands, and booked a lot of shows,” she says. “But it’s so cutthroat, and the people out there can kind of suck the life out of you. I wanted it to be fun and exciting.”
LA’s loss is Cape May Brew Co’s gain. Ashley moved back to New Jersey where she serves as CMBC’s operations manager by day and sings for crowds at local bars by night.
“I’m really happy,” she says. “I’m passionate about what I’m doing, and excited for the opportunity to learn more every day.”
Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about the woman behind the CMBC scenes:
The best part of my job is: working with the tasting room staff and the staff in the warehouse. They brighten my day — every day — with their enthusiasm for beer and their passion for the customers and our brewery in general. They continually inspire me with their positive attitudes.
My favorite CMBC beers is: Citra Pale Ale and Cape May IPA.
If I could pick a superpower, it would be: to stop time so I would never run late, and could sleep as late as I wanted to every day.
The thing I’m most afraid of is: being buried alive. I know it’s weird, but it keeps me from going into enclosed spaces.
My favorite band/musician is: Jason Aldean, Gavin Degraw.
The most famous person I ever met was: Sylvester Stallone, Reese Witherspoon, and Elizabeth Banks (totally evil person, by the way. She threw her credit card at me multiple times.)
My karaoke song is: “I am Nothing” by Whitney Houston and “Alone” by Heart.
The last time I laughed until I cried was: probably while hanging out with my mom and sister last weekend before starting the craziness of moving into a new house. The time we spend together is precious, and we’ve got a lot of inside jokes.
The most surprising thing about me is: I’m a huge history buff/nerd. I went to college for a BA in it, and spent three years studying ancient Chinese history.
My biggest pet peeve is: when people don’t pay attention to things right in front of them.
My favorite non-CMBC beer is: Nugget Nectar from Troegs & Bengali Tiger from Six Point.
The greatest adventure I ever had was: probably the first time that [my boyfriend] Jake Smith [assistant brewer at CMBC] got to meet my parents. We decided to take a trip to Disney with them, and on our way there our flight got canceled three different times and we were stranded in Denver for an evening at Christmastime with no bags, no nothing. The next morning, our flight got canceled again. It took a day and half longer than we’d anticipated, but it turned into a fun adventure.
My top bucket list item is: backpacking through Europe, and drinking Champagne in Champagne, France.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be: a rockstar.
My favorite movie of all time is: Titanic. I saw it 13 times in the theater. I know, that’s obsessive.
My hero is: my mom. She’s so strong and so caring. She’s a teacher, and it’s inspiring to see how many people rely on her and contact her even after graduation.
The actor I’d want to play me in the story of my life would be: probably Rachel McAdams.
The worst job I ever had was: being a chambermaid at a bed and breakfast in Cape May. The owners were super nice, but the job could be gross.
The best advice I ever received was: from a former teacher at Lower Cape May Regional High School, Mr Mathis, who passed away of cancer two years ago. He encouraged me to live life to the fullest every day. He was an amazing person, he encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and I can’t thank him enough.
The job I’d leave CMBC for is: if I got picked up for a world tour.
The most memorable pickup line I ever heard was: “Can I get some fries with that shake?” I guess I tend to sway a little bit when I walk.