Welcome Kendall!

It’s no surprise that Kendall is one of our new rockstar sales team members. She comes to the team with a knowledge of Cape May beers and other craft products, and was even familiar with our own Eric Wormann before joining our team!

“I knew when interviewing Kendall that she would be a great fit for Cape Beverage,” says Regional Sales Manager Tom LoBianco. “It took a while to fill the position, but I’m glad it did, otherwise we wouldn’t have Kendall with us right now!”

“Kendall is a total pro and has done a great job so far. She has handled everything thrown her way. It’s sometimes difficult to be the new person on the sales route, as customers really like consistency. However, Kendall has fit in perfectly so far and I’m excited to continue working with her in the future,” Tom says. “Kendall has been the perfect fit so far. I told her that she would be happy at Cape Beverage if she chose to come aboard. I’m not sure she totally believed me at first, but I’m glad she’s happy in this new role as well!” 

Welcome Kendall Peterson!

Kendall is from North Jersey, around the Sparta area in Sussex county. She’s about 30 minutes from the NYC border, but, like many local residents, she doesn’t pop over as often as you might think. 

Part of the reason is COVID and the ensuing lockdown, as well as her previous position, which had her covering all five boroughs and traveling often into Manhattan. 

“I’ve done enough city for a little bit,” she says with a laugh. 

Kendall was born and raised in the area, and she attended High Point High School.

“I went from a school with a graduating 8th grade class of 32 kids to a regional high school, so I graduated with about 500 kids. It was a bit of a culture shock,” she shares.

“I’m a very different person than I was in high school,” Kendall shares. “I was very quiet. If you had told me freshman year that I was not only in the alcohol business, but that I was selling alcohol and talked to people for a living, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

She laughs, shaking her head at the thought. It’s hard for us to believe, too, sitting across from someone so open and outgoing, that she would have ever been a quiet person! 

“I was a band kid,” she says. “I played the flute, and then I wanted to join jazz band, so I took up the saxophone. Then they needed the euphonium in the marching band, so I picked that up as well.” 

(Ed. note: The euphonium is like a small tuba, similar to a baritone.)

“I didn’t get into jazz band on saxophone, so I learned trombone. I was already learning the euphonium, so I thought I would just take up another brass instrument,” she says with a laugh.

(Ed. note: You know, no big deal, just learning four instruments!)

“I was a drum major, and that’s when I started to come out of my shell,” she shares. “I thought I wanted to go to school for music, so I might as well learn everything.”

She realized that being a professional musician wasn’t quite the life she wanted, though.

“I took Italian throughout high school, and I thought I’d either major in history, music, or Italian. But then I went to a school that didn’t have a music major,” she shares. “I didn’t want to teach, and I didn’t have the drive to be a professional musician. I didn’t want it that bad.” 

She went through most of college without picking a major, but towards the end, she knew she had to choose in order to graduate. 

“They didn’t have an Italian major, but they did have a contract major,” she says.

(Ed. note: For those unfamiliar, a contract major is a personalized course of study that allows students to create a major around specific interests.) 

“I went to Ramapo College, a liberal arts school. You could do a liberal arts degree and then create your own major. But a made-up major in Italian wouldn’t hold a lot of weight,” she admits. “International Studies counted all my classes, so I picked that.”

“I had to do a project where we interviewed an alumni who had a similar major and job that we would want,” she says. “I reached out to the convener for the Italian minor, and said I wanted to find someone who didn’t become a teacher.”

“She put me in contact with this one person, who said, ‘I’m a teacher now, but right out of college, I wasn’t a teacher.’ She worked for Winebow, a wine importer in New Jersey,” she says. 

Learning that was a revelation for Kendall. The fact that you could make a living working with wine was mind-boggling. 

“I got a job at a liquor store out of college,” she says. “I told them in my interview that I wanted to be in this industry, and that I was getting this job for experience. They told me that they already had a wine manager, but that I could work with him to learn things, and maybe down the line, they would send me to wine school.”

“After a couple of years, I became a manager there and they sent me to wine school. I got a certification in wine and wine services,” she says.

That came with some pretty sweet perks, too.

“We would go into Manhattan every week for about eight weeks and drink a bunch of wine from this preeminent sommelier’s wine cellar. He would go and pick the bottles that he wanted to pour for the class. We would drink from his own personal wine cellar,” she says.

“Then, my job needed a beer manager, so I fell into that role, and here I am today,” she says with a smile.

One of the coolest bottles of wine Kendall has gotten to try from that experience was Opus One. 

(Ed. note: If you didn’t audibly gasp hearing that, just know that Opus One is among the most expensive bottles that come out of California, with prices for some bottles ranging in the several hundreds.)

“Gallo Winery flew us out to California and we got to visit a bunch of their estates, which was neat,” Kendall says. “One winery they own is not open to the public, so we got to go on a tour. This movie star started it, and his house is still on the winery. He opened it in the 1900s.”

As for which types of wine are her favorite, Kendall admits that she really likes them all. 

“I like to say I haven’t met an alcohol I haven’t liked,” she says. “I love the stories behind these companies, whether it’s a distillery, or a winery, or a brewery. That’s what really gets me behind a brand. That’s why I’m able to sell it.”

“I’d find a story about, say, a distillery, and think, that’s the coolest story. I’m going to sell the shit out of this brand,” she says with a laugh. 

Kendall recently got married, and she’s fortunate enough to be surrounded by beer at home as well! 

Her husband is a homebrewer who teaches high school history. 

“He likes to make his own recipes. My dad, on the other hand, uses a brew-in-a-box kit, and it turns out really good,” she says.

She also has an almost year-old puppy, Petunia, a lab-whippet mix, who takes up a lot of her time when she’s not on the road visiting different restaurants, bars and stores to bring beer. “She’s really, really cute,” Kendall says. 

“My family has a boat, so we go out on the boat, and in my down time, I read or play video games,” she shares.

Right now, she’s playing through Horizon Zero Dawn. She’s also recently played The Last of Us and is in the process of finishing the second installment of the series. 

“The only reason I picked up Horizon Zero Dawn was because a friend of mine said it was similar to Final Fantasy X, which we played when we were younger,” she says.

Some of the games that got her hooked on playing were Kingdom Hearts and The Sims, which she still plays today.

As for books, Kendall has been digging into some epic fantasy titles. 

“I just read the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. So now I’m reading Way of Kings by him, which is a slugfest,” she says. “In paperback, it’s split into two copies, and each is about 650 pages long.”

“When quarantine started, I was talking with one of my roommates from college who now lives in Ireland. I said, these are all the books I want to read in quarantine. One of them was Wizard’s First Rule. I wanted to reread that one, as I was way too young when I first read it,” she says. 

Although there was a bit more time to dig into reading during quarantine, she still finds some time to read a chapter or two at the end of the day!

She often queues up audiobooks while she drives, too. “At first, I was listening to books that I’d already read, or companions to books I was reading, because it can be hard to focus. I recently started listening to new audio books.” 

Right now, it’s American Gods by Neil Gaiman. 

Kendall is still in awe of her role with Cape Beverage so far. 

“I feel super in control of my own destiny. It sounds more profound than it is,” she says with a laugh.

She also really enjoys being able to cross off her to-do lists for the day, and have a clear plan for what she needs to accomplish for the rest of the week. 

“It takes such a load off mentally. Knowing I can go to bed and not have to worry about it,” she says.

“In the first two weeks that I worked here, I saw my entire team three times,” she shares. “With the sales calls every day, and the group chats, I do feel like I know everyone.” 

As we talk with her, Kendall is preparing for her very first in-person sales meeting with the whole team the next day, her first since joining the team.

When the team does get together, Sales Director Bill Zaninelli sets a theme. This time, it’s Johnny Cash Black, and everyone’s expected to wear fitting outfits for the theme.

“Last time it was floral themed. Half of my wardrobe is floral, and I missed it because I was on my honeymoon!” Kendall says, laughing. “I might have to bust out some of my fall wardrobe or my boots.” 

We’re thankful to have the opportunity to meet with Kendall at Cape Beverage, which is in Egg Harbor Township. Kendall has driven down to grab some beer to bring directly to some of her accounts in between deliveries.

Every place she brings beer to has different requests, whether it’s strictly seasonals, or ordering their go-to kegs of Cape May IPA. “Within Hudson county itself, the neighborhoods and accounts are so different. I think my territory is a little unique like that. The more urban areas are like a little city.”

Like we mentioned previously, Kendall had some experience with our sales team before joining us. 

“Before I started with Cape Beverage, Eric Wormann was the sales rep for the liquor store I worked at,” she says. 

“After I left and went to Long Trail, the liquor store got their first delivery of Cape May beer,” she says.

In another interesting connection, Kendall’s stint with Long Trail connects her with Bill Zaninelli, Mike Laferrera, and Joe Zapoticzny, who all also have a background with Long Trail!

Ryan does a great job of practicing what he preaches, and it trickles down to everyone else,” Kendall shares. 

One of her ongoing goals is to work to get her route back to where it was before the pandemic.

“I want to get back into all the bars that Joe had in Jersey City before COVID,” she shares. “They’re open later in the day, so I want to develop a later route, too. I’ve been learning the route, meeting everyone and getting to know them so far, and then reworking the routes that Joe had established to make them better for my flow.”

Like her Long Trail predecessors before her, we’re incredibly proud to have Kendall on the team, and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future! The next time you see her, make sure to say hi and get to know her more!