You know him. You love him. You try to avoid eye contact on a summer Saturday night at Goodnight Irene’s, but his magnetism is irresistible. He’s uber-lovable — our Sales Manager, Richie Rallo!
This content is for adults 21 and up.
For those of you from out-of-state, trust us — this is a real thing, and it’s tearing our state apart. Not quite brother-against-brother, as brothers tend to grow up in the same area, but, at the very least, cousin-against-cousin.
We’re not going to take a side here at Straight to the Pint — journalistic integrity and what-have-you — but… we’re in Cape May. Draw your own conclusions.
What we will say is that the South has it all over the North in one respect: it’s a heck of a lot easier to get CMBC brews down here.
If you’ve been down here, you’ve probably noticed our beer flowing in your favorite bar or restaurant. And your friend’s favorite bar or restaurant. And the guy up the street and three towns over. We’re in a lot of places in South Jersey, and that’s what we like to see.
Now, with our established presence down here, we’re trying to build on that: into Ocean and Burlington counties and up into Mercer and Monmouth counties. Furthermore, with much of all of the business down here being shore-related, we tend to see much greater sales over the summer. It’d be great if we could even that out a bit, and the only way to do that is by expanding into places that aren’t so seasonally-based.
So, we’re working our way up to you guys, North Jersey cousins. We’re taking steps to expand northward.
In fact, we just promoted our very own Richie Rallo to New Jersey Sales Manager.
“I oversee every drop of CMBC beer sold in New Jersey,” he tells us.
Sounds like a tall order. In fact, Richie’s contacted 176 of our current accounts in one week alone.
Thus far, Richie says “it’s been pretty stressful, just getting everything on track moving forward. I’m trying to introduce myself to all of our existing accounts as often as possible.”
Richie’s excited about the position because it’s always going to be evolving. “New Jersey has all of these new breweries opening up, and we have the bigger distributors making an effort to combat the smaller, self-distributed guys like us. The distributors are completely changing the way they do business on a day-to-day basis, because it’s costing them money trying to keep up with us.”
With the number of breweries in the state primarily concentrated north of the Atlantic City Expressway, North Jersey beer drinkers are used to having a greater variety to choose from.
Because of that, “they’re looking for whatever’s new,” Richie tells us. “They don’t want the same shit over and over again.”
Luckily, we don’t make shit.
“We’ve been doing really well with the sour beers up there,” he says, “but it’s more a product of the overall variety that we offer.”
Down here, particularly over the summer, our flagship IPA is the big seller — which makes sense. Visitors want to experience as much of the local flavor as they can, and the IPA is named after of one of South Jersey’s most famous resort towns. Nonetheless, Richie “was getting a little bored over the summer,” he says. “You can only talk about Cape May IPA so much. Over the summer, it’s the vast majority of the beer that I sold. It’s fun to bounce around into different territories and deal with some out-of-town, beer-savvy folk.”
And while he bounces around the state, he’ll be spending plenty of time on the road, primarily listening to Kanye, (“He’s a genius,” he tells us.) except on Fridays, when he’ll be jamming to Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True.
Regardless of Richie’s sometimes-questionable taste in music, he was undoubtedly the right man for the job. “He’s a proven leader,” Ryan tells us. “He’s got his finger on the pulse of the craft beer scene in North Jersey, so with his hard work our northern fans will start seeing more CMBC brews near them.”
“It’s nice to see hard work pay off,” Richie says, regarding the promotion. “I’m looking forward to applying strategy and managing situations better as we move forward and get a little more organized,” he says.
So, never fear North Jerseyans. We’re coming.
In the meantime, get on the Parkway to exit 4B and visit the brewery. We’ll keep the beer cold for you.
Last week, we hit a milestone by acquiring our 200th New Jersey account: The Stockton Seaview Resort in Galloway. So we caught up with our sales team: Justin Vitti, a CrossFit-loving solver of Rubik Cube algorithms, and Richie Rallo, a vegan Jersey boy who says “rad” a lot (but not in this interview, strangely). Here’s what the guys had to say about number 200:
So, which one of you nabbed the 200th account?
Richie: Technically me. But it was a team effort. There’s no ‘I’ in team.
Justin: But there is a ‘me.’
Are you guys competitive with each other?
Richie: Not at all.
Justin: We work well together.
Oh, c’mon. Not even a little competitive?
Richie: If I could grow a mustache, we’d be competitive.
… But you have a mustache.
Richie: Yea, unless you take a few steps back, and then you can’t even see it. Pisses me off, too, because my father has a dope mustache.
How will you celebrate the 200th?
Richie: Maybe a round of golf at the Stockton Seaview Resort. Nah, I don’t think they’d let us riffraff on the course there.
What’s the dream account?
Justin: I have dream accounts in Philly. They’ve got some of the best beer bars in the country. We’re already in many of the institutions, like Standard Tap, Johnny Brenda’s and The Grey Lodge Pub, and there’s more I’m working on.
What’s the best part of your job?
Justin: Reporters asking me what the best part of my job is. Also, every day is different. You have a routine you follow but you’re always
getting thrown new things. Beer is always changing and people’s tastes are always changing.
Richie: I like walking into a place where we’re already on tap and seeing people drinking our beer and raving about it.
Does beer taste better when you’ve sold it?
Richie: Yea, you could say that. Some people think it’s funny and some people thinks it’s arrogant that I always order Cape May beer, but I was doing that before I worked here.
What’s the best part of working together?
J: We’re two different personalities, but we complement one another. I struggle a lot with the hard sale, and Richie’s got it.
R: We zig and zag together.
What’s the most annoying thing about working together?
J: Richie’s a vegan.
R: Justin eats a lot of meat.
J: Yes. I’m Paleo 100 percent, 70 percent of the time.
Any reason you’re especially excited the 200th account is the Stockton Resort?
R: That was one that took a lot of paperwork. The conversation has been going on a while; the email thread goes back to January. There was a change in management, and then they got busy – an LPGA tournament came through, then it was the Fourth of July, so it’s nice to see it come to fruition.
What’s the goal moving forward?
R: I see Delaware as the next milestone, aside from self-distributing throughout the entire state of Jersey.
J: North Jersey is next. Right now, we distribute up to the border of Burlington County. Logistically speaking, Delaware, too. We’re on the ferry so we have that relationship already. The other angle would be New York.
For a brewery this size, is it typical to have only two guys covering the territory you’re covering?
J: We do more work than some of your typical brewery reps would do, because we don’t go through a wholesaler.
R: Other reps don’t take orders like we do, for example. That’s all done through distributors.
Does that make you feel… stressed? Proud? Sexy?
R: It helps us control everything, from quality to delivery to customer service.
And what sets your customer service apart?
J: I really care about the product. I’ve been a supporter of this brand since before I worked here. The beer can stand up to some of the most top-rated beers out there.
R: Aside from that, we’re both local guys. I have a second phone with brewery contacts, but I only need it for half of my accounts. Everyone else I had a relationship with prior.
Having driven all over the state for your job, what’s the most underrated thing about Jersey?
R: Diversity. Everyone thinks we have this hair gel, fist-pump, Snookie thing going on.
J: There’s a whole country western thing happening to the Northwest of us. And almost a Philadelphia mindset when you get to Camden and Gloucester County. Down here, I mean, we’re laid back beach people.
What’s the most surprising thing about your job?
J: The amount of paperwork involved.
R: We probably spend a quarter of our time on it.
So it’s not all schmoozing?
R: I mean, I like a good schmooze, but no.
What else should people know?
R: We’ll chat again at 500 accounts.
J: Isn’t that next week?
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