It’s a well-known fact that the Packaging team is where future brewers are born: it’s the doorway to greater things. So, when you find someone with packaging experience who loves what we do, snatching him up means an investment in our future.
“Brock came to us with some experience from the industry,” says Packaging Director Mark Graves. “He has a passion for brewing, a good attitude, and a love for Cape May Brewing Company. That combination is hard to pass up.”
Welcome Brock Harton!
Originally from Coopersburg, PA, just outside of Allentown, Brock attended Southern Lehigh High School before moving on to Mansfield University and Temple University before entering the workforce at a beer distributor.
“I bounced around for a good while in my early 20s, trying a lot of things out,” Brock says, following the path of many of us at Cape May Brewing Company. “It was a lot of retail or commission sales, music instrument sales, ran a comic shop for a little bit, ran a GameStop. Did some carpentry — I was a pinball, bouncing all over the place.”
Brock met our Brewer Emily Siddall three years ago, and they’ve been together since.
“We have an incredible relationship,” he says. “Our dog, our Yorkie, Puddles, is the light of our life.”
They recently returned from a trip moving Emily’s sister to Minnesota.
“It was the first time I was ever farther west than Pittsburgh in my life,” he says. “We did a COVID safety tour on the way back, passing through St. Louis, stopped in Nashville, cut back east to Charleston, West Virginia, then came home. We spent about eight days just seeing that part of the country.”
He says that the trip gave him a great deal of perspective.
“I’d never seen so much flat land, quite honestly,” he laughs. “Like the old Superman movie where you see an old truck coming down an endless dirt road: that’s real life.”
While Brock certainly has his own interest in the brewing process, he’s enjoyed being part of Emily’s career, as well. He visited Emily enough during her time at Weyerbacher Brewing Company that it made sense for him to begin working there.
“I made good friends with the guys there, and we actually started a small band,” he laughs. “We were practicing at Weyerbacher and I guess they got so used to seeing me there that they put me on payroll, or something like that.”
Brock barbacked at Weyerbacher for a bit and then moved to the packaging line, where he says that his interest in and love for brewing blossomed. However, brewing is in Brock’s blood. While he hasn’t homebrewed in several years, he learned to love brewing from his father.
“I did some homebrewing after I turned 21 with my father, who’s a very, very avid homebrewer,” he says. “I mean, the man grew his own hops. He made a jalapeño lager — I think; I always get the style wrong. But a friend of his grew the jalapeños for the beer. He was extremely meticulous about it.”
When it comes to music, Brock is simply a fan.
“Almost every aspect of me connects back to my experiences with music,” he says. “My parents bent over backward to make music lessons and different music opportunities happen for me when I was young. So, that’s always been a part of my life: playing drums or playing guitar.”
He says that guitar and drums are his two primary instruments, but he’s classically trained on just about everything else.
“If you give me enough time with just about any instrument, I can learn it,” he says. “I love doing that. When I worked at Guitar Center in particular, whenever we had a new instrument come in, I’d take some time with it.”
Brock is happy to have found an industry in brewing that he loves as much as having been a musician.
“Music is the only industry that’s as cool as the brewing industry, honestly,” he says (and we agree). “It’s the people. The people are so different in both. I’d worked a lot of retail jobs and I think a lot of those places, particularly where you’re customer-facing and it’s a big corporation, attract the same types of personalities. But I think there’s a lot more individuality in this industry, certainly, and certainly in the music industry. And particularly Cape May — the way that individuality and teamwork are balanced is friggin’ magnificent. It’s beautiful, it really is.”
While he claims that he’s not a big sports guy — “But if you offer me tickets to a Phillies game, I’ll be there,” –, Brock says that he also enjoys video games and Dungeons & Dragons.
“That’s a really awesome pastime and an outlet for me,” he says. “Other than drinking beer and whiskey.”
Getting the job here was the first step in building a life for him and Emily.
“I’d lived away from my parents’ house here and there but always ended up there,” he says. “When I met Emily three years ago, we very quickly decided that there needed to be a plan moving forward.”
So, as Emily grew into her role here at Cape May, Brock kept his fingers crossed that something would open up for him, as well.
“I’d been in touch with Christine throughout the winter until that perfectly fated day when I got an email from her saying that we’ve got some new positions open, and things moved pretty quickly from there. I feel for the first time very happy and content and I want to wake up and keep doing it.”
For Brock, it simply made sense to work here.
“While my employment at Weyerbacher was somewhat happenstance,” he says, “my interest in and love for the brewing industry blossomed during my time on their packaging line. Pursuing employment at Cape May Brewing Company was a natural choice, not only because of the circumstances around our move to New Jersey but also as a natural evolution of my tenure in the industry. Cape May was my ‘first step into a larger world’, as a very wise Jedi once said.”
While he knew how much Emily was loving it here, he’d also heard from Sales Manager Ashley Pike whom he’d known from his time at Weyerbacher.
“I spoke to her a few times about Cape May before Emily had even worked here,” he says. “Then, just reading the blogs — when Emily had hers done, I checked it out. I checked out Ashley’s, and I’d even checked out Polly’s because Emily told me that she was from South Africa.”
Reading these blogs, Brock came to learn that Cape May Brewing Company was a place that truly cared about its people.
“This isn’t just a picture and a short bio,” he says. “They’re actually taking time to do this. And Emily coming home and saying, ‘This is what this company did for me today. I worked hard; I put in my ten hours, but I feel like I did it for somebody who cares. I feel like what I did was important.’”
At this point in his life, that’s what Brock was looking for and thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity.
“An industry that I like with a company that cares about its people,” he says. “I felt like this was a place where I could really put my head down and get to work and start building the life that Emily and I want together.”
Before this point, Brock hadn’t really visited Cape May much before his time here, only coming down with Emily for interviews. However, now that they’re here, they’re really enjoying the life they’re building together at the beach.
“We’re starting to get to know the area,” he says. “We spent Sunday at Cape May Point, checking out Bunker 223 and the Cape May Lighthouse. It was a beautiful day with beautiful weather, and it’s a beautiful place. We’re really excited to be in the area.”
Brock is looking forward to his time here at Cape May Brewing Company, particularly in becoming a utility to the organization.
“I’m looking forward to learning the different facets, beyond the brewing process and how it gets into cans or kegs,” he says. “Learning what happens in the cellar. What are the little nitty-gritty things to get it out the door? What are our Distribution Specialists doing? What is our marketing team doing?”
During the orientation process, each new team member gets a bird’s eye view of the company: how a lot of moving parts and a hundred different employees work together to make our operations look seamless. And Brock says that he found that really interesting.
“And it’s relatively smooth,” he says, “particularly considering how big we are and how quickly we’re growing. And I look forward to being a part of that.”
And he’s loving it here thus far.
“It’s unlike anywhere I’ve worked,” he says. “This place is very special. There’s an atmosphere here — you can put as many words as you want to describe it out in the air, and it just doesn’t do it justice until you actually step through the door and are welcomed as part of the team.”
Brock says that he even felt that welcoming spirit when he visited the Tasting Room during Emily’s first visits here.
“The way you’re welcomed as a customer, as a member of the family,” he says. “I didn’t have to have a familiar face for someone to recognize my Star Wars mask and start talking to me about the latest episode of the franchise. I was thirty seconds through the door. I think very highly of Cape May Brewing Company so far, both as a place of employment and as a happy place to visit.”
But what he loves most is all of the awesome beer. Brock is definitely looking forward to October when we bring back Cape May Coffee Stout.
“I think that is a magnificent, no-frills beer that takes the style and just masters the key points of it,” he says. “I have three cans stashed in my fridge that I’m having this really weird dilemma of drinking them while they’re fresh or spacing them out until October so I don’t get too, too, too depressed.”
Be sure to welcome Brock when you see him in the Tasting Room!