Continuing the growth and expansion of our sales team, this year we started looking for someone to take over Regional Sales Manager Tom LoBianco’s area. Lucky for us, Dan Moeri, fresh off his time with Founders, was eager for the chance to join our team.
“We were looking for someone to take Tom’s place, and that’s where Dan came in,” Sales Director Bill Zaninelli says. “He knows a lot of accounts and was already familiar with the area. He’s doing a great job– he jumped right in and was a great fit for our team.”
Tom first met Dan sometime between 2012 and 2014, before his time with us. “He was working at the time for The Stirling Hotel in Morris County. I worked for a Miller distributor then and would sell him beer for the restaurant. It’s funny, in this business, you never know who you will run into or be working with after being involved for so long. When Bill contacted me about Dan applying, it was a no-brainer to reconnect,” he says.
As for Dan’s work so far, Tom shares that he “picked up on everything immediately. His customer service skills and industry knowledge are total assets. He had contacts from working in the industry and was well-liked in the trade.” Dan has even excelled in opening up new accounts already: “He used his contacts to get us into Stage House in Scotch Plains as well as their Somerset location, and opened Oh Brian’s at the Hyatt Hills golf complex in Clark, replacing White Claw seltzer with Cape May Seltzer.”
(That’s right, folks. Our seltzers really are that good).
“I love working with him so far,” Tom says. “He’s doing a great job!”
Dan is personable from the moment you meet him, and we enjoyed getting a chance to talk with him this week about his journey so far.
Craft beer has been a part of his life for a long time. Dan grew up in Long Valley, a small town in Morris County and went to West Morris Central High School. His first job was working at brewpub Long Valley Pub & Brewery in 1999 as a busboy. At the time, it was one of the first brewpubs in New Jersey. “My neighbor who was a server there got me the job. Even though I was 15, I became fascinated with craft beer and the brewing process. I loved the days when I’d walk in and smell the hops and grain.”
He worked there for six years, after which he spent much of his time in restaurants, including a fine dining steakhouse in Sparta and a French bistro. “That was right when I turned 21 and was my first taste of craft beer outside of the microbrew/brewpub world,” he says.
“I’d go to parties where they’d all be drinking Natty Light and doing beer pong, and I’d show up with a growler of porter,” he said. From early on, he was ahead of his peers in his taste for beer, and would constantly push them to try new things. “I’ve been selling people on craft beer my whole life,” he says, laughing. “Whether it was behind the bar, or word of mouth, or through sales directly.”
During his time at The Stirling Hotel, he further honed his love of craft beer. “They were one of the first places to do craft beer in the state, even before I started working there, so they were known at the time for being the craft beer spot. We got to try everything cool on draft, and back then there were a lot of exclusive, draft-only releases.”
Dan credits his two and a half years with Founders for learning more about the industry on the sales side. “I got to work with a lot of good people who have been in the industry for a long time and really know their stuff,” he says. He even got a chance to work with fellow Sales Manager Doug Tracey!
First Tom, now Doug? Dan really was a no-brainer to join the team!
In his current position, Dan gets to work with a lot of people he’s already built relationships with. “We sell a product that sells really well and that people love, which is fantastic,” he says.
As Dan shares with us, making those relationships and connections is a lot easier when you get to see the same people week after week. During our conversation, he fielded multiple calls and even put out a couple of fires. It’s safe to say that Dan is killing it in his new role and he’s looking forward to being here for the long haul.
Like many of those on our team, Dan has even ventured into homebrewing. In this photo he shared with us, he was making a coffee porter.
One of his first loves, though, is music. Dan majored in music and recording initially, and enjoys punk rock particularly. He’s a big Bruce Springsteen fan as well, and loves The Get Up Kids, local NJ bands Saves the Day and Early November, as well as ‘90s grunge, Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, Soundgarden, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“My go-to for cleaning the house or rocking out during the day is ska music,” he shares. “I love Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, you know, punk rock with horns. The original No Doubt. It’s just so fun,” he says.
(I don’t know about you, but we’re dying for Dan’s playlist now!)
But, like a lot of his passions, Dan doesn’t just love listening to music. He’s also been playing music for most of his life.
“I used to play in a punk alternative band in high school, and we would play shows at the Stone Pony,” he says.
– Um, wait a second. Did he just say THE Stone Pony? –
“That was before Asbury came back. There was no boardwalk, that was probably around 2001 or 2002. My parents both grew up in New Jersey, and when they were kids, Asbury Park was the place to be, like the beach town,” he says. Playing in the band was far from a phase – he still gets together with a few guys to jam at his friend’s studio in Gillette.
Although he mainly plays bass, he’s also played guitar, piano, and drums.
Recently, he scored an incredible garage sale find last year: a vintage 1963 Ludwig drum set. “It’s what John Bonham used to play, and Ringo. That’s kind of how Ludwig became popular, because the Beatles played on them” he says. “This set is actually worth a lot of money, but I really want to hold onto this. When I have kids one day, they’re going to learn how to play drums on this drum set, you know?”
(Talk about the coolest future dad ever!)
He even initially studied music and recording at CCM, County College of Morris, before switching his major to hospitality management.
“I’m a people person. I like being out and about. The idea of being in a studio and mixing the same track over and over for hours doesn’t appeal to me,” he explains.
His shift to sales in recent years has helped him spend more time with his wife of four years, Becky. They recently purchased a home a few years ago that occupies a lot of his free time.
When he’s not working or working on various projects around the house, Dan also loves to cook, particularly BBQ and Italian. “I love anything that takes a long time. The whole process is therapeutic to me,” he says.
“I’m always in the kitchen, and I’ve been blessed to work with some really great chefs. I learned a lot of techniques from them,” he says. “There’s not a lot of food I don’t like, and I’m always open to trying anything.”
He and a group of four friends who have been together since high school all love to cook. “We text each other every day what we’re cooking, or what’s going on,” he says.
One of his most memorable food experiences was during his honeymoon in Turks and Caicos. “We took this boat trip out, and part of the trip was that they harvested live conch and made ceviche right on the boat.”
(Cue massive food envy).
He was even the only person willing to try a, er, delicate portion of the conch.
Other strange things he’s eaten include the eyes of a fish and monkfish liver, but his bucket list of foods to try is traditional wagyu steak.
Speaking of other things he enjoys, Dan credits Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain as a book that helped build his love for the restaurant business, and he’s currently reading A VeryPunchable Face by Colin Jost.
With his fun-loving demeanor, it should come as no surprise that Dan is a big fan of comedy.
“I’m a huge SNL and stand-up comedy fan,” he says. Some of his favorites include Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Mitch Hedberg, Garry Shandling, Norm Macdonald, and John Mulaney. He also loves the early seasons of The Simpsons, when Conan had a hand in writing them, and Seth Rogan movies.
He just started playing golf five or six years ago. “I love that it’s one of those things that you constantly get better at,” he says. “I’m kind of obsessed with it, I can see the obsession now.” As for sports, of course, he’s a huge Yankees fan, and loves baseball in general. “My grandmother watched every Yankee game religiously, so I grew up watching with her. It’s a big part of my life. I always look forward to baseball season.”
So how exactly did this musician, chef, mixologist, craft beer appreciator come our way?
“My first time having Cape May beer was five or six years ago,” he says. “My wife and I visited the area for a wedding. Cape May was still bottling back then. We didn’t get a chance to go to the brewery even though we wanted to. I went to a local store and picked up a couple six packs of Cape May IPA to drink on the beach and ended up bringing a case back with me.”
Dan is intent on doing what you love, and loving what you do. “You’ve got to sell what you love,” he says of his time working in sales so far. He loves working with the rest of the hand-picked new brands at Cape Beverage as well. “They’re making a lot of smart decisions, from production, to marketing, to sales,” he says.
As for other Cape May brews he enjoys, Dan fell in love with Devil’s Reach. “I love Belgian beers. I love the variety in those beers, and the way you can use different yeast. It’s crazy how much a yeast can affect flavor profiles and aromas. Everything you want in a Belgian, strong golden ale, you get in Devil’s Reach.” Other recent favorites include Key Lime Corrosion, Grapefruit Crushin’ It, and Coastal Evacuation.
In the future, Dan is looking forward to beer events. Some of his favorite recent beer events include AC Beer Fest and Witch-Craft.
(Hint: we’ll be at this year’s AC Beer Fest for those interested!)
Summing up his work, Dan says, “I don’t sell beer, you know? I sell happiness.”
Dan is a joy to be around, and he will continue to forge relationships in northern Jersey in Union county and parts of Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset counties for Cape Beverage. We hope that you have the pleasure of meeting him someday, and if you do, make sure you say hi!