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“I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t love it,” he says.

Welcome Chris!

As we told you a few weeks ago, we’re expanding our operations to keep up with demand. We’ve brought in a bunch of new tanks, and we’re expanding production to 24 hours a day, five days a week.

With that added production level comes a need for a slew of new faces on the brewery floor. Jimmy’s hired eight new people heading into the summer, and we’re in the process of bringing them to you one by one.

Chris Volpe is one of them. One of our newest additions to the packaging crew, Chris is a homebrewer and musician — a perfect addition to the crew.

So, let’s meet Chris!

IMG_9392“My parents live about a block away from the brewery,” Chris tells us. “I’m 35 and I’ve lived here 35 years.”

A Lower Township graduate, Chris is in the process of returning to school. He’s in his second semester at Atlantic Cape Community College, majoring in Business Administration.

“My initial idea was to major in Computer Information Systems,” he laughs, “but as things change, it’s probably going to change a little. As I end my Associates, I’ll probably know a little more about what I want to specialize in.”

His new job in the packaging department hasn’t come with much of a change in commute.

“I actually worked about 500 feet from the Tasting Room at a manufacturing company that made epoxy tubing,” he says. “They were moving to Estell Manor, so with college and my two kids, even the 45-minute drive was a little too much time, so luckily I got in here when I did.”

Chris is a musician, playing guitar and drums, “and I can’t sing at all.” Apparently, music runs in the family. Once, several years ago, he went with his father and brother to pick up a custom-made guitar from Jon Hill Guitars in Cleveland.

Busch Gardens (1)“Beautiful guitars,” he says.

But, somehow, the three Volpes ended up in Toronto.

“On a whim, we ended up in Toronto, over to Niagara Falls,” he laughs. “We saw Cleveland, saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then Toronto was beautiful. This was before you had to have a passport to get into Canada, so we actually saw Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. It was awesome.”

Nonetheless, Chris grew up playing mostly metal and punk.

“Now, I’m 35, I’m trying to mellow it down a bit. I can’t listen to that as much anymore,” he laughs. “I mean, I can, but just not as much. I just downloaded a bunch of Beatles, trying to tone it down a little bit. A lot of 60s/70s rock.”

He’s a fan of all of our Philly teams, “Flyers, Phillies, Eagles,” he says. “My son recently told me that he’s a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, so that’s breaking my heart, but what are you gonna do?”

Well, he’s only six years old, Chris. Maybe he’ll learn the error of his ways.

IMG_9398Chris is a homebrewer, as well. He hasn’t brewed in a few months, but he’s good friends with Rob and Shayla Woolford, who own Bad Cat Farms, a hops farm in Cape May. We used a few of their hops for a wet-hopped Cape May IPA last year, and his most recent brew was along the same lines.

“That was in the fall, and I haven’t brewed since then,” he admits. “Ever since I started school, I haven’t really had the time.”

Chris is a huge family man, with two boys with fiancée Lori — Evan is the six-year-old Penguins fan, and Ian is a four-year-old budding musician.

“He’s a good singer, even at four,” the proud poppa says. “He’s got good pitch.”

He loves Cape May. As a kid, he was quite the beach bum, and he’s definitely not ready to leave that life behind.

“I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t love it,” he says. “You’re five, ten minutes from the beach at all times. I do a lot of fishing, so it’s a great area for me. I think it’s a great area to raise a family.”

Dad Evan BirdsTalking to Chris, you definitely get the impression that he feels like things are falling into place for him. He’s got a family he’s proud of, and he’s really loving life at the brewery.

“I’m pretty happy, now,” he says. “I found where work culture and beer culture meet, that’s a good thing for me.”

Like the rest of us here, Chris really loves his craft beer. His father first introduced him through Victory’s Hop Devil, and he’s been hooked ever since.

“I bought into the whole craft craze,” he says. “My previous job was in manufacturing, and it lent itself well to what I’m doing here.”

He’s looking forward to growing with the company. Chris is having a blast learning the packaging line, but it’s really the people here that keeps him loving it.

“Everyone’s happy to be here,” he says. “You can’t say that for every job, but everybody has a smile on their face every day. It makes it easier to come into work when you enjoy what you’re doing and you want to be there.”

And he’s loving the easy access to his new favorite beer, Always Ready.

“I’m drinking more of it than anything else,” he says. “It’s really drinkable.”

Be sure to say hello to Chris the next time you see him in the Tasting Room.