Let’s face it, without our brewers, we’re basically a bunch of people trying to convince you to buy empty cans and serving you pints of air while you sit outside. That’s why it’s important for us to find someone who not only knows what they’re doing but is also the right fit for Cape May Brewing Company.
Boy, did we find that — and more! — with Emily Siddall.
“I am very glad Emily has joined the team here at Cape May Brewing Company,” says Vice President of Operations Brandon Greenwood. “She has hit the ground running, is a great cultural fit, and is already adding value and brewing expertise to the business.”
“It’s up in the Northeast,” she explains. “They say that Philly is a city of neighborhoods, and the Northeast is very residential, working-class. To me, the neighborhoods are the heart of the city. Center City is cool and it’s neat, but I don’t even consider that the city. It’s the neighborhoods.”
It sounds like Emily enjoyed growing up in Rhawnhurst.
“It was a great place to grow up,” she says. “I got some street smarts, maybe, but it was pretty safe. I had some great neighbors — they were always looking out for us kids. It was a safe, happy place to grow up.”
She attended St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls before moving on to Kutztown University for a degree in, of all things, geology.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to go to school for,” she explains, “but I knew that I generally narrowed it down to something in science. I like science, and I’ve always been interested in different aspects of that field of study.”
Originally, Emily’s plan was to combine her love of animals with her love of the ocean and major in marine biology. However, as Kutztown is in the Lehigh Valley, at least a hundred miles from the nearest body of water, her plans changed.
“I didn’t like any of the biology classes,” she says, “but one of the classes I had to take with that major was Physical Geology, and I realized halfway through the semester that I was flunking out of my zoology class for my major and was getting straight As and loving this class in Physical Geology.”
So, Emily decided to change majors to geology, and it sounds like it was the right choice for her.
“I really liked it,” she says. “I made some great friends. I was interested in the subject.”
During her sophomore year at Kutztown, the geology students attend a five-day camping trip in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York to learn about some aspects of geology that they’re not likely to find in Kutztown.
“It was my first camping trip and my first time away,” she says. “It was for Mineralogy, and it’s basically immersing ourselves in all the different types of geologic features up there that we wouldn’t necessarily see in PA.”
As Emily begins to recount the things she got to experience on the trip, the excitement in her voice is palpable. Garnet mines and marble with pockets of other minerals and all sorts of geologic… stuff… It’s easy to see where she finds the beauty in it.
“You could just drive down the road, and there was, like, a whole different… thing… happening there!” she says. “I was blown away. I’d just changed my major to geology and this was my first major geology class. I really came out of my shell as a person and started to figure out what moved me. And, a lot of that was just cool things in nature. And that was the first time in my life that I felt like I was doing something right, on my own. I’d chosen this path, and it felt like I was getting the reward.”
However, Emily knew that, unless she planned on going to grad school, there weren’t many career opportunities in geology.
“I knew that I wasn’t going to get to do what I really wanted to do with it, which… I’m still not sure what I want to do with it.”
So, in the meantime, Emily’s enjoying brewing beer.
“I switched from geology to chemistry,” she laughs.
Even though she grew up in a house where she was exposed to “boxed wine and Coors Light,” she eventually found her way into brewing.
“I would go to happy hour when I was at Kutztown and I realized that I enjoyed all of these different craft beers,” she explains. “I went to a bunch of beer festivals and started to take an interest in the industry.”
Emily took an office job out of college that wasn’t quite right for her, and she decided that she wanted a change of scene.
“I was trying to find some fulfillment,” she say, “but I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy in that career path.”
So, like our very own Lab Manager Lauren Appleman (who also went to Kutztown), Emily enrolled in the Brewing Sciences Certificate program at the University of the Sciences.
“It just felt right,” she says. “I wanted to see what I could get out of this, and, really, it was a gut feeling. I was worried about taking out more loans and getting into more student debt, but I knew I needed to do something different.”
After UScience, Emily worked an internship at Weyerbacher Brewing Company… the same internship that Lauren worked.
“We kept missing each other!” Emily laughs. “She left Kutztown the year before I got there and she did UScience the year before I got there and she was at Weyerbacher and gone before I got there.”
Emily has spent most of her career at Weyerbacher, but… 2020….
“This year, everybody’s been going through some stuff,” she says. “Understatement of the century.”
She was laid off from Weyerbacher but was still looking for work, so she spent a few months at Stickman Brews, a small, ten-barrel outfit in Royersford, PA. As the pandemic dragged on, Stickman planned to reduce her hours, but, luckily, she saw that we were hiring.
“It was nice working at a smaller place and getting my hands on a more manual system,” she says, “but, all in all, the feeling is the same. You can be at a big, fancy place or you can be at a smaller place, but I still love the work. I love working with my hands and running around like a crazy person.”
And we still do a fair bit of running around like crazy people at Cape May. While we may have our act together when it comes to brewing beer, there’s still a lot of running around, putting out fires.
“You have to,” she laughs. “It’s part of the job.”
However, Emily is only the second woman, after Lauren, on the brewery floor. It’s not a huge secret that this is a male-dominated industry, but the women in production report that they’ve never really felt singled out or marginalized.
“It’s fine,” she laughs. (Emily, if you haven’t noticed, laughs a lot.) “Not to toot my own horn, but I think I get along with most people, as long as they’re a cool and calm person. Male or female or anything in-between, if you can work well with someone who has a similar work ethic, you can gel with anyone in the workplace. At the end of the day, it’s a job. I’ve never had anyone be like, ‘Hey! It’s the girl! Get her out of here so we can have the boy talk!’”
Even though she spends her days around a bunch of dudes, Emily is not a huge sports fan.
“I love a good excuse to eat some food and sit around with my family, so football’s great for that,” she says, “but I don’t know what’s going on. I guess I like baseball. I like going to baseball games, but I don’t really follow it. I like going for the experience. My dad’s a big baseball fan, and I like to go with him, so if I had to choose a sport, I’d say baseball, and my dad would be really proud of me.”
When it comes to music, Emily’s a fan of a band called Bleachers — one that we’re only familiar with through association with Social Media and Design Alchemist Courtney Rosenberg.
“I love that band,” she says. “Like, I love them. Bleachers is all I care about.”
We vaguely remembered that Courtney had some sort of connection with the band or its guitarist, Jack Antonoff.
“If she’s friends with Jack Antonoff, I’m gonna be her best friend and we’re gonna be best friends with Jack,” Emily says.
A quick search of the blog reminded us that she’d seen them early in their career at Musikfest in Bethlehem.
“Oh, I miss Musikfest,” she says. “It’s fun. It’s an experience. It’s always great to have an excuse to walk around with a big mug of beer and fried food. They have the best of it.”
While Emily is a PA girl through-and-through, now that she’s moved to the area with boyfriend Brock and their rescued Yorkie, Puddles…
“My boyfriend rescued him a few years ago,” she explains, “and that was the name he came with. But, I will say that it’s not totally unwarranted. He’s such a sweetheart; he’s such a lovebug.
“I love spending time with them,” she says. “We’ll play Magic: The Gathering or sit around and watch something and have a lazy day. I’m a self-proclaimed couch potato.”
She’s also loving being so close to the beach.
“Now that I live at the beach,” she says, “I love being able to walk down to the beach and having a feast for the eyes. I’ve always loved the beach and being close to it now, I’m on cloud nine.”
Emily’s picked up crocheting over the past few winters, as well, specializing almost exclusively in baby blankets.
“It’s the best I can do,” she laughs. “I found a pattern that works for me, and I’ve had some people in my life who’ve popped out some kids. But it’s a great gift, it’s personal, and I enjoy doing it. I’ve done it a few times, and they’ve always been well-received.”
Emily is no stranger to Cape May. Growing up, her family frequently stayed at Driftwood Campgrounds up in Cape May Court House, only a few miles from the brewery.
“My parents got that when I was about seven-years-old,” she says, “and we would come down every single weekend in the summers. I think about it now as an adult, and we were spoiled. That was the best.”
When she was younger, she frequently visited Cape May.
And she’s certainly looking forward to her time at Cape May Brewing Company.
“I’m happy to be helping to pursue an excellent product,” she says. “I’m glad to be a part of a team and to see how much more I can advance.”
She’s loving the team here, too.
“It’s great!” she says. “I’m happy to be somewhere that I get to be busy, doing what I love. We’ve got good liquid and a good team. I like the crew. Everybody’s on the same page. Everybody cares about the product. Everyone’s been so nice, welcoming, and friendly and helpful.”
Picking up from somewhere you’ve known your entire life to begin a new job is stressful for anyone, and Emily’s happy it seems to be a positive step.
“I’m really enjoying it. I still can’t believe I’m here. It’s a really positive place to work.”
And she really enjoys our flagship brew, Cape May IPA.
“It’s a solid, good IPA,” she says. “I’m not usually a fan of IPAs, but there’s something very approachable and crisp about it. I usually don’t go for IPAs because they’re usually too much of a hop-bomb, but I do like Cape May IPA.
“And I like our coffee stout,” she says. “I’m gonna grab some today, actually.”
If you see her around the Tasting Room, be sure to say hello to Emily!