When you’re looking for a change of pace — and you love beer — there’s no better place to begin a career change than in the packaging department.
“When I interviewed Chris,” says Packaging Manager Mark Graves, “I could tell that he was a hard worker. Having come from the hospitality industry — another multifaceted industry where you’re frequently asked to do a million things at once –, I knew he wouldn’t have a problem handling the multitasking we’d be throwing at him. He’s a great guy and really interested in learning about the beer industry.”
Welcome Chris Baruffi!
Originally from Upper Township — “right outside of Ocean City” — Chris graduated from Ocean City High School before attending Atlantic Cape Community College for an Associates in Hospitality Management.
For the most part, since then, Chris has worked at the Tuckahoe Inn in Beesley’s Point.
“I started working there when I was 18,” he tells us, “right up until March when quarantine hit. And over there, I pretty much did everything.”
He started in the kitchen, doing prep work, desserts and salads, cooking appetizers, working his way to becoming a busser and waiter, and eventually doing some management work before he left.
“This time of year, it’s definitely pretty crazy,” he says, “but they do a nice job over there.”
A few years ago, he took a break from the Tuckahoe Inn to travel cross country, moving to Scottsdale, AZ, for a few months.
“My uncle lives out there, so I’ve got family,” he explains. “I’ve been going out there my whole life, so, a couple of years ago, I decided to pack up, get in my car, and drive out there.”
He spent six months in Arizona, getting some hikes in, but he came to realize that Arizona wasn’t for him and moved back to South Jersey.
“I went out there with the intention of continuing hospitality,” he says. “They’ve got more of a season out there, but I worked at a place called American Valet, which actually turned out to be a pretty cool job.”
“A lot of people with a lot of money would rent drivers for parties or weddings,” he explains. “You’d go to their houses and get to drive some pretty cool cars. So, I got to drive some cars that I never thought I’d get a chance to drive.”
We’ve never even seen a Bentley up close before, but Chris had the chance to drive one while working for American Valet.
“That was pretty cool,” he says. “Some of them are so crazy, you don’t even feel comfortable getting in them.”
After the trip, he returned to his old haunt of the Tuckahoe Inn. But, when COVID hit and restaurants everywhere closed down, he needed to find another job, and the job in the packaging department looked interesting.
“It was something totally different from what I was doing,” he says. “I mean, it all ties into hospitality in a way, if you look at it from a broader perspective. But, it was something completely different. Obviously, I like to drink beer, but as far as how it gets made and the process behind it, I had no idea about that.”
Restaurant life is a difficult schedule, too. Chris was certainly looking forward to something closer to a nine-to-five.
“That helps, too,” he says. “The schedule’s better. And, really, every day, it’s something new. I’m learning something new every day.”
In his free time, Chris enjoys playing the guitar, which he’s done since middle school.
“I’m a big fan of music,” he says. “It’s something that’s always been a part of my life.”
As far as genres go, Chris says that they’re “all over the board. Never one thing in particular.”
He credits his father with helping to form his musical tastes.
“He had all the old records spinning,” he says. “He had a great collection, like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Who — stuff along those lines. But, what got me to pick up the guitar were bands like Nirvana, Blink 182, Green Day — bands like that.”
Chris has always played as a hobby, so the guitar has always been an escape for him, a means for relaxation.
“That definitely helps,” he says. “I’ll just get away for a little bit, and get lost in it.”
He’s a big fan of Philly sports, primarily the Eagles and the Flyers.
“Those are my two,” he says. “Especially with the Flyers being in the playoffs right now, it’s really exciting.”
When he gets the chance, Chris loves spending time in Cape May.
“I love it down here,” he says. “I think it’s the better part of Cape May County. As far as the shore towns go, if I’m going to go out, I try to come down here. Even if it’s with my family, we try to come down here. That’s always been the case.”
Cape May is quieter than some of the other shore towns, according to Chris.
“I live in Somers Point, and that can be a little crazy sometimes,” he says. “Especially growing up right outside of Ocean City, it definitely doesn’t feel as crazy down here.”
He’s looking forward to learning and growing at Cape May Brewing Company.
“I started here in June,” he says, “and I’m trying to master what my job is, my tasks. I’m not sure where I’d like to go from here, because there’s so much. But I’d like to continue to learn.”
Chris has been enjoying his time at Cape May Brewing Company so far.
“I love it,” he says. “I really love the pace of it. Particularly my job: I just come in and work. That was another big part of what I enjoyed.”
“They’re both so drinkable,” he says. “Follow the Gull is the perfect summer beer: a 5.5% ABV, not too heavy. It’s an IPA, which is something that I really like. It’s just an easy-drinking summer beer. And City to Shore is the current favorite. After work, it’s great to have a few of them. It’s nice, it’s tasty. Not too strong. Well, for my tastes. It’s a little heavier — I guess it depends on who you ask.”
Be sure to say hello to Chris when you see him around the brewery!