It’s somewhat validating when someone who has lived, literally, all over the world decides to throw their lot in with us for the long haul, at precisely the time we need it.
“Ariel really helped us out this summer when we needed help the most,” says Brewtique Manager Kaitlyn Smith. “She brought with her a wealth of knowledge about craft beer as well as a genuine passion for it. She is a great team player who jumps right in to help in whatever way she can. I love her genuine drive to ensure that each guest leaves not only with a great experience but with the perfect product for them. She takes the time to answer questions and is a great resource for her fellow co-workers. We are really lucky to have her!”
Welcome Ariel McCarter!
“My mom is a nurse in the Navy,” Ariel explains, “and, as I was graduating high school, she got orders to go overseas. It was just me, her, and my little sister, so I went with them, in case mom got deployed, I could take care of my little sister.”
Ariel explains that a lot of the military bases throughout the world have some sort of a satellite university component, with the University of Maryland being one of the largest. She says that most of her fellow students were adults working on finishing their degree.
“I was one of the only ones of college age,” she says. “I took a lot of classes with mostly adults getting their degree, and during the day I substitute taught to pay for tuition. It was an interesting experience.”
She graduated with a degree in English then spent a year working at libraries and at GameStop — “I did the PS4/XBox release for the holidays that year,” she says. Mostly, that year was spent figuring out what she wanted to do with her life.
“I decided that I wanted to get back into teaching,” she says, “and I needed a teaching certificate in the US to do it.”
So, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to attend Brown University to kill two birds with one stone: get her Masters and get her teaching certificate.
“It was an intensive, one-year program from June to May, including student teaching,” she explains. “It was really cool. And Brown is a gorgeous campus.”
While she was there, Brown had a huge snowstorm come through, shutting down the campus for the first time in years.
“They never closed down,” she explains, “but the snow was so bad that they couldn’t have people come on campus for a few days. It was pretty interesting. We basically played Mario Kart and hung out in the rooms. It was a lot of fun.”
Following Brown, Ariel taught in Rhode Island for a bit before moving to San Diego. Her mom was stationed there at the time, and she wanted to be closer to her family.
“It’s gorgeous out there,” she says. “And, if I could afford to live out there, I might consider it, but it’s insanely expensive, and, ultimately, not worth it in my eyes. And, as global warming gets worse and worse, it just gets hotter and hotter in the California desert, so it’s not a lot of fun.”
She was there for about three years before moving to southwest Virginia with her boyfriend, our very own Brewery Operations Manager James Fox. While Ariel had traveled cross-country several times, she decided that she didn’t want to take her typical, southern route, opting for a more northerly trip.
“I was sick of driving through Texas because that state is about three days long,” she says. “So I made my own roundabout path to go through Wyoming and Idaho and the Dakotas and through Yellowstone. My goal was to see buffalo, which I saw a few in the distance, so I consider that a win.”
Ariel’s always been enamored with buffalo.
“I just really, really like buffalo,” she says. “I’ve always thought they were really cool. And they’re really fluffy; they’re like super fluffy cows. They’re great. They’re so much cooler than growing up in Texas with ordinary cows.”
After Virginia, the two moved to North Jersey, and Ariel found a job in publicity and at a library in Asbury Park. They’ve since moved south, but Ariel was still working in North Jersey.
“I was commuting about an hour-and-a-half,” she says. “Three hours about four days a week.”
She much prefers the commute from their home in Egg Harbor Township.
“It’s a much prettier drive, I must say,” she jokes.
In addition to having lived in Texas, Japan, Rhode Island, San Diego, and Virginia, Ariel has traveled pretty extensively outside of those places, as well, once having spent the New Year on a boat off New Zealand.
“My mom, sister, and I took a cruise from Australia along the eastern side of New Zealand for about two weeks,” she explains. “We were some of the first people to ring in the new year.”
But it was difficult for Ariel to decide upon her favorite places in the world.
“Mom was stationed in Italy for about three years,” she says, “so I’ve toured most of Europe with her. I flew out and toured Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary, Scotland, Ireland. I’ve been very fortunate to visit so many different places.”
She loved the food and wine in Italy, but Ariel says that the best beer was in Germany.
“And also Brussels because Brussels has Cantillion,” she says. “Cantillion has some phenomenal beers.”
In addition to travel, Ariel loves video games and movies.
Ariel says that she’s never read the entire corpus of a writer, reading a wide range of books from different authors, but she’s gotten through a lot of the writings of Stephen King and George R. R. Martin.
“I enjoy horror — that’s a big interest of mine — but science fiction and thriller are close second and third,” Ariel says, and she tends to lean the same way when it comes to movies.
Both James and Ariel enjoy hitting various conventions, whether focused on comic books, anime, or gaming.
“If travel starts to happen,” she says, “I’m looking forward to nerding out with fellow geeks. It’s a lot of fun.”
When COVID hit, like many people out there, Ariel found herself in need of a job. Luckily, we were hiring in the Brewtique.
“I’ve always admired the company culture and how friendly and awesome everyone is,” she says. “I hadn’t really been back when COVID hit — many of my memories were hanging out in the Tasting Room and meeting the Beertenders and everyone coming in after work for their shifties, but I really enjoyed that atmosphere. The location alone is really prime and excellent.”
Ariel has an interesting perspective on the company, having been able to look over James’s shoulder for a year or so, getting a closer look than many of our other fans.
“The way we were able to shift gears and weather the pandemic was incredible,” she says. “From home delivery to reorganizing the Brewtique, it’s been really awesome to see. And I know a lot of our visitors have been really grateful to have that experience when so many other places can’t offer it. It’s been really fun.”
Unfortunately, Ariel hasn’t yet had much of a chance to check out our fair town of Cape May, only visiting the town once.
“There were so many cool spots,” she says, “and walking down Washington Street Mall was a lot of fun, but I still haven’t been to the beach.”
“I definitely need to,” she says. “I need to take the time, maybe this fall, and just try to go, because I still don’t know what the Cape May beaches look like, which is always very disappointing when I tell people.”
But, in the meantime, Ariel is happy at Cape May Brewing Company. Right now, she’s looking forward to growing with the company.
“I’m taking my TIPS certification, so that’ll be a lot of fun, getting my experience with that,” she says, referring to the industry training and certification program designed to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving.
And she’s been loving her time here so far.
“I get to continue to work with all of the wonderful people I’ve met so far,” she says. “I really enjoy all of my fellow coworkers. Everyone’s been really great to work with, and it’s made some of these tough experiences so much easier. I’ve really enjoyed it to the point where if there’s an opportunity to stay full-time, I’d love to take that. It’s definitely far exceeded the expectations I had as a consumer of the company. Behind the scenes, it’s just as incredible, and that’s great to see.”
When asked about her favorite Cape May Brewing Company beer, Ariel goes for a deep cut: Lady in Room #10.
“It was one of the first ones I had,” she said. “It’s one that’s always stuck with me.”
At the time she tried it, Ariel was new to craft beer.
“Sours were the first thing I started with,” she says. “I don’t get to try them much anymore, but Lady in Room #10 always stuck with me. Maybe it’s due to the exclusivity of not having it again or the nostalgia. I haven’t had many sours since then, so maybe that’s why I remember it, too.”
Be sure to say hello to Ariel the next time you see her in the Brewtique!