For many of us in this business, we’re on our second (or third… or fourth…) career. Ryan was in real estate. Hank was designing satellites. Jimmy was painting houses and Brian was a barista.
It’s no different for our latest Packaging Operator, Andrew Casey. He’d worked in law firms for awhile, eventually going back to school to get his paralegal certificate.
Now, he’s making beer. Definitely a step up.
“A wonderful four years of my life,” he says. “As you can see, it was a well-earned degree.”
After graduating, he immediately began working in law firms for six or seven years before becoming a paralegal.
“I decided that job sucked,” he says. “I wasn’t happy with the work. I couldn’t sit at a desk anymore.”
But, one day, he sort of had an epiphany.
“Ten years ago, when I graduated college, there was no such thing as craft beer,” he says. “No one knew what an IPA was. But I was at my local bottle shop, and they literally had a wall of craft beer — hundreds of different types — and I thought that the industry was established enough where I could find a decent job, but young enough that I could get in now, work my way up, and get a lot out of it.”
So, he left his job as a paralegal, taking a leap of faith, moving from the only life he’d really known in North Jersey and throwing his lot in with Cape May Brew Co.
“It was a complete 180 from being a paralegal in Montclair, New Jersey, to brewing beer in Cape May,” he says. “This is probably the biggest move of my life. Well, aside from moving from California to New Jersey, but I didn’t really have much to do with that.”
Andrew had some experience in homebrewing, but it never really worked out too well.
“I’ve done it a few times with a couple of friends,” he says. “I won’t say that it was any good. I’d like to start getting into it, but it’s tough in a one-bedroom apartment. In the future, I’d like to start doing it more.”
Andrew calls himself “a Mets enthusiast,” and it’s exemplified with a tattoo on his left arm of Mr. Met. He’s been getting ticket packages with his friends for a few years.
“I’m actually trying to get to every ballpark in the country,” he admits. “I’ve done eighteen so far, so I’m about halfway done. It’s a great way to see America.”
He tells us that his favorites are San Diego and Pittsburgh.
“Both are really fun towns,” he says. “And I like it when the ballpark is actually downtown, as opposed to being in the middle of nowhere. In San Diego, you can literally come out of the game, walk across the street, and go have dinner at a nice restaurant. Same with Pittsburgh. It’s a fun atmosphere.”
Music-wise, Andrew’s tastes are all over the place.
“The best concert I ever went to was Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden,” he says. “I’ve seen him six times. A close second was Bruce at Metlife a few years ago. He literally played for four-and-a-half hours straight. I think he broke his own record for longest show. I wasn’t a huge Bruce fan until that show, but then I was like, ‘Ohhhh… I get it now! I get why people idolize him.’”
He’s also big into hip hop.
“I’ve been listening to hip hop since the mid-90s,” he tells us. “Since seventh grade, I think. I’ll listen to anybody: Nas, Jay-Z, Wu Tang. I don’t like the new Kanye album.”
You don’t like poopy-di scoop?
“It’s getting pretty annoying,” he says. “He needs to stop.”
“I rescued him about a year-and-a-half ago,” he tells us. “He turned four this past January. He’s a pain in the ass, but I still love him.”
While he’s been down here for a few weeks, he hasn’t really had the chance yet to check out Cape May.
“But I do love the food scene down here,” he admits. And that’s a difficult point to argue — Cape May is home to some of the best restaurants in the country.
Nonetheless, Andrew was glad to find the job here.
“I wanted an entry-level position where I could come in with zero experience, work hard, absorb as much knowledge as possible, and take it from there,” he says. “But I’m looking forward to learning something new every day, enjoying the brews we make, and connecting with people both in Cape May and in the industry itself.”
He’s definitely enjoying it here thus far.
“I have no regrets,” he says. “Everyone is super awesome and nice and great to work with. I’m having fun, and that’s what I wanted to do. That’s why I made the change.”
And it’s given him a new go-to beer: Always Ready.
“I really like the drinkability of it,” he says. “You can’t go wrong with Gull, either. And I’ve been getting into sours more, so Corrosion is up there, as well.”
Andrew usually stops by the Tasting Room to grab a shiftie. Be sure to say hello if you run into him!