As the summer months are upon us, we’ve been expanding in nearly every department, and that includes the Brewtique. We need a full staff of qualified people over the summer to keep things running smoothly.
Thank goodness we found Gina Sheets.
Gina’s got a great personality — she’s friendly, outgoing, and, much like our beer, bubbly. She’s perfect for the Brewtique, willing to help and keep our guests happy.
“Huge,” she says. “We were the largest, co-ed, Catholic high school in the country. There were 973 people in my graduating class.”
Her father passed away shortly after high school, and, looking for a new start, her mother moved her and her brothers to Cape May.
“We couldn’t focus on anything,” she says. “My mother said, ‘Let’s get out of here. Let’s just go somewhere different.’ A month later, we were here. I’d never laid my eyes on Cape May before.”
Now, she’s lived in West Cape May with boyfriend Allen and daughter Rachael for four years. Before that, she moved around Lower Township.
“I like living here,” she says, “and Philly’s not too far. Cousins, aunts: I can go visit and have lunch. I always have a place to stay. And they don’t mind coming down here to visit me. I love Philly — we’re always seeing shows, going to the Kimmel Center. But I love living here.”
“Everybody knows everybody,” she says. “That can get annoying sometimes, but it’s also really cool. In Philly, no one looks you in the eye and everyone’s doing their own thing. But in Cape May, you can’t go to the Wawa without, ‘Hey, how’s your mom? I saw so-and-so got married.’ For the most part, I like that. It makes you feel like a part of the bigger community.”
There’s one turn that her life took that she never expected. Gina is now a beekeeper.
“My boyfriend’s into it,” she says. “When I moved in, I had to learn a little bit, at least, so I knew what was going on. And I learned a lot. We have four hives this year. Only one survived from last year.”
They bought three new “nucs” this year — a small bee colony created from a larger colony.
“It’s like a bee starter kit,” she explains. “You get a queen and her initial brood and you set them out where your hives are going to be so they get acclimated to the area. Once they do, you put the frame in the hives — they almost look like drawers? — and, ideally, you give them something to feed on. We took frames from the old hives that were thriving, and it kinda starts them off.”
As the hive grows, they add boxes, and, at the end of the season, they collect the honey.
“Bees are cool,” she says, showing her feminist side. “Men mean nothing in the bee world. NOTHING! Fertilize eggs, and that’s it. They don’t even have stingers!”
Regardless, it’s clear that bees’ communal nature — much like Cape May itself — is something that she truly finds fascinating.
“They all work together,” she says. “If they don’t all do their jobs, the whole thing fails. They travel up to six miles from the hive. And it’s cool — it’s like an airport — you see them taking off.”
They haven’t had enough of a honey harvest to sell anything, but they give it out to friends and family.
“It’s good for allergies,” she says. “And it’s really cool — you suddenly meet all of these people who are doing it. There’s a guy about a quarter mile away from us who has a hive, and his honey last year was darker and cloudier than ours. Just that quarter mile makes a difference. It’s a really neat hobby.”
When she’s not tending to the hives, Gina is particularly proud of her daughter, Rachael.
“She’ll be 21 next week,” she says. “But she’s not a beer girl — she’s not a big drinker. She wants to do brunch and mimosas.”
Rachael is currently majoring in Musical Theatre at Stockton University, with hopes of eventually being on the Great White Way. (That’s Broadway, guys.)
“She’s an artsy girl,” Gina tells us. “I signed her up for voice lessons when she was twelve, she’s always in plays and singing, and now she does the Salty Sirens burlesque show. She makes me really proud. She’s my greatest accomplishment.”
Before Cape May Brewing Company, she’d held a few different jobs. She was waitressing at the Merion Inn, and, before that, she was delivering mail. She definitely has the personality for food service — bubbly and full of smiles — but delivering mail is an entirely different story.
“Delivering mail is a rough job,” she says. “They way they hire people now, it’s not the same. You don’t get the same benefits or anything that the older guys do, and to get your own route, you have to wait for someone to retire or die. And then you’re in line behind a hundred other people.”
She wasn’t getting enough hours waitressing, so she started looking around for other work. She’s not sure what possessed her to check our website to see if we were hiring, but we’re glad she found us. The Brewtique is the perfect place for her.
“I’m happy when everyone around me is happy,” she says. “I’m a people-pleaser. Sometimes to my own detriment.”
She sounds glad that she’s found us, too.
Having been in the area for so long, Gina’s been able to witness our growth first-hand, and she likes what she sees. While CMBC is still, at its core, a small company, we’ve put a lot of focus on smart growth — instituting processes that make sense and enhance communication among our 70+ employees.
“I like that it’s a ‘real company,’” she says. “It’s really refreshing.”
She particularly likes Misty Dawn Saison.
“I like how it’s smooth and dry,” she says. “That’s where my tastes lie. Gin and Tonic is my go-to.”
So, the next time you’re in the Brewtique, be sure to say hello to Gina!