Pro tip: when you’re looking to expand into North Jersey, hire a guy with a distinctively not-South Jersey energy.
We definitely found that with Gary Rosen.
“Gary’s got a wealth of craft beer knowledge and selling experience,” says Director of Sales Bill Zaninelli. “He’s built solid relationships over the past ten years with accounts in his area, eventually covering all of Mercer and Middlesex counties, as well as parts of Hunterdon and Somerset.
“And, like the rest of the sales team, he’s just a little bit crazy. He’s a good fit.”
“I spent ten years as a therapist and college professor on Long Island,” he explains. “Maybe it was an early mid-life crisis, but I got a little burnt out. I worked with adoption and addiction stuff, so it was tough. I needed a little bit of a change, and, instead of getting a young girlfriend and a Corvette, I decided to play with beer for a little bit.”
So, Gary got out of social work and moved to New Brunswick about 10 years ago.
“I was working for another brewery,” he explains, “and they told me to go be their sales guy in the Mid-Atlantic, so I covered six, seven states for them. I was doing the boroughs, New Jersey, Philly and the ‘burbs, Delmarva, and DC. That was for Blue Point Brewing, looooong before they sold out to AB-InBev. The devil.”
It’s definitely quite a change, moving from psychology to sales, but, when you think about it, there’s actually quite a bit of crossover between the two professions.
“Psychology is sales,” he says. “I just learned the psychology behind the sales techniques and called it something different.”
Regardless, Gary had always been interested in beer, having been a homebrewer many years ago and working his way through Blue Point.
“I used to homebrew a lot,” he says, “and I did various brewing jobs at Blue Point. I was a BJCP judge. I used to brew with Mark Graves and came out of that homebrew club.”
Before CMBC, Gary had been working for a distributor in New Jersey, coming on as their first craft specialist.
“I was the first person working for a distributor who had the title Craft Specialist,” he says. “Then, everybody had multiple. But the big distributors were doubling down on the national brands — Bud/Miller/Coors — and, in six months, everything changed.”
A lot of people started jumping ship, Gary included. He knew he wanted to stay in the craft world — he had no desire to sell his soul to Big Brew.
“Here, at Cape May, we’re doing some really great things,” he says. “We’re innovative and playing with the new geek styles. We have fantastic flagships and still stay true to that model, and it’s really cool when a brewery can play with that line: where it’s the geek stuff and it’s IPA before everything else.”
He’s also really excited about the prospect of Cape Beverage, as well.
“We’re really changing the game with Cape Beverage,” he says. “I think it’s fantastic. Innovate or die. I’ve always looked at that, and, while people are standing still, we’re going somewhere.”
Needless to say, he was extraordinarily excited to learn that Cape May was hiring.
“The marketing is great,” he says. “I think, behind it all, Cape May, people know what that is. The marketing is behind it, the liquid is behind it, the look is behind it. I came at Bill hard: ‘This is my job.’”
Bill told him that he’d gotten about 98 resumes while we searched for a new salesperson.
“I was like, ‘I can tell you the five guys you’re going to interview,’ and I got three of them right!” he says. “And I’m gonna outsell them. You put me in these three counties, I’m gonna outsell anybody, plain and simple how it is.”
When he’s not outselling everyone in the tristate area, Gary’s a big fan of Celtic — the soccer club in Scotland, not the basketball team in Boston.
“Huge,” he says. “Huge Celtic F.C. fan. Huge. Rabid. It’s kinda weird for a Jewish-American kid from Long Island. I’m a lunatic about it.”
Throughout the course of our conversation, we learned that it’s not the only incongruent thing about Gary. For example, he’s a fan of Irish Punk, Cyndi Lauper, and musical theatre.
“I like any of the rebel music,” he says. “I’m a big fan of that. I play the drums. I go to a lot of shows. I don’t like hip hop or country. It’s very eclectic. The last concert I saw was Flogging Molly, and, next week, I’m going to see a Latin-influenced vaudevillian-type, nice and relaxing… I’m all over the board. Cyndi Lauper is one of my dream dates. I worship her. I was at one of the greatest bottle shares in my life, and I left to go see her in AC.”
He was particularly proud of getting tickets to see Lea Salonga, well-known as the singing voices of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, Mulan in Mulan, as well as the original Kim in Miss Saigon and a well-loved turn as Eponine in Les Miserables.
“She’s amazing!” he says. “I saw her in Miss Saigon and Les Mis. She’s just unbelievable.”
Gary’s been down to Cape May a few times, including for the old Brews by the Bay beer festival. His fiancee, Mariah, also worked for a distributor, so he’d come down with her.
“It’s a cool town,” he says. “I think it’s fantastic. I look forward to doing a little more of the history of Cape May. I’m a big history buff. Even up in Central Jersey, I want to do some events that tie into Cape May history, that can celebrate the same things we celebrate down here. We’re all getting the word out and educating the customer, not just on the liquid and the beer and the process in general, but about the history. Because, now that I’m a Jersey guy, I’m excited to throw myself into this chunk of Jersey history.”
And he certainly has his work cut out for him, just with some of the beer names at CMBC. From Concrete Ship, named for the S.S. Atlantus that’s sunk off of Sunset Beach, to Tower 23, named for a WWII lookout tower at Cape May Point, we’ve got a lot of history in our brews.
“I can’t wait to start getting into that,” he says. “Just starting with the beers and going from there.”
And, as for his favorite Cape May beer….
“Oh, man,” he says. “Probably the next one I’m about to get. I know it’s an old joke, but it’s true. I do love the Honey Porter, but the next one will always be my favorite.”
Straight to the Pint has interviewed probably about 70 people about their jobs at Cape May, but we don’t think we’ve met someone who’s as excited as Gary is to get started. And that’s saying quite a lot.
“I’m jazzed to be here!” he says. “I’m really looking forward to being part of this team and this company. The future is very bright for this brand, and I want to do my part to get that to the rest of the state and let people who may not have taken the trek down here to see how awesome this is.”
Glad to have you aboard, Gary!