Reinventing The Wheel
It’s one of the oldest inventions known to man, having been around about as long as beer itself. The Neolithics had them. The Mesopotamians had them. Pat Sajak’s been standing over one for-ev-er.
Now, the third-largest observation wheel in the country is open in Atlantic City.
And Cape May brews are there.
No, you can’t get your own private Beertender. Our beer won’t actually be inside the gondola. But it won’t be far away.
“I’m a Cape May Brewery Co frequent, and love the beer,” says Jim Catanoso, Operations Manager of Steel Pier. “I live around the corner from the brewery, and I felt that we needed a local brew to compliment the whole experience. I thought, ‘What better than a hometown beer as tasty and crisp and Cape May Brewing Company?’ The company’s culture and values align with what we pursue at the Pier. We are all about the customer experience and we feel that CMBC directly exemplifies that!”
We couldn’t agree more, Jim! We’re thrilled we could align our missions so gracefully.
“We’re excited to partner with Steel Pier,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Bill Zaninelli. “The world comes to Steel Pier, and they should, because the facility is amazing. Thousands of people will be going there all summer long, and we’ll get exposure to visitors from around the world.
(You might be showing your age a little, there, Bill….)
The Steel Pier in Atlantic City has been around since 1898. Bill doesn’t go back quite that far, but he, at the very least, can remember some of the Pier’s final days in the 70s. It was destroyed by fire in the 80s and rebuilt in the 90s.
Now, it’s got two roller coasters, a score of other rides and amusements, and… The Wheel. (You kind of have to say that in your head with a lot of reverb.)
“From the first time we met with Steel Pier to seeing what they’ve accomplished today,” says Marketing Communications Manager Alicia Grasso, “we could not be more excited about this coming summer season.”
We were there on Monday for the Grand Opening, and that was a par-tay! It was a windy day — the sea was angry that day, my friends — and we’re pretty sure the man on stilts nearly took a spill a few times. We’re certain that the showgirl with her feathered headdress was reminded that birds use feathers to fly.
That poor girl….
But, other than that, the Steel Pier is a great place for a party. We were set up in a tent in the shadow of The Wheel, with local politicians and pundits in attendance.
And Cape May beer was flowing all night.
We were pouring samples near the entrance of the tent, and people were loving their tastes of Summer Catch and Coastal Evacuation. There are three bars throughout the facility, and we’ve got Cape May IPA and The Bog on at all three.
The bar just outside The Wheel is named Car 41 — after our April Fools Day prank.
“This gondola gave the impression that a customer could have a personal bartender, served with Cape May Brewing Co. beers,” Jim recalls. “We decided that, while we may not be able to provide the personal bartenders, we could create a full bar experience for guests before they board the attraction. Since there are only 40 cars or gondolas on The Wheel, we decided that the bar should be named Car 41. It mirrors the ‘19th hole’ concept on golf courses. Car 41 will serve various drinks, including Cape May Brewing Co. beers all season long.”
We had the chance to take a ride on The Wheel — after stopping by Car 41 for a few brews, of course — and it truly was an experience. The 40 gondolas are all temperature-controlled and have music pumping, with the two-revolution ride taking approximately fifteen minutes.
And, seriously, the views are outstanding. Again, the day we were there wasn’t exactly the best weather, but we could see from one end of the island to the other without a problem.
“The Wheel is so cool,” Alicia said. “The views are spectacular, and the fact that they named the bar Car 41 after our gag is so flattering. We’re beyond excited to partner with this century-old Atlantic City institution.”
Toward the end of the evening, Richie and Alicia got stuck on The Wheel as they performed the ribbon-cutting and countdown to the initial lighting.
When that 227-foot wheel is lit up in all its glory, it’s truly a sight to behold.
For years, Atlantic City’s been known as America’s Favorite Playground, and seeing The Wheel loom large above the skyline makes us feel like the city has once again returned to its former glory.
Maybe they should keep it Always Turned On.
Either way, Do AC.