"Don't lose your dinosaur."

Welcome Rob!

Our new Distribution Manager Rob Ritz is immediately personable. He’s a positive, capable presence and has fit right in with us since the moment he started.

“Rob has really fit in well here at Cape Beverage. Not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from his diverse professional background, he also brings a positive attitude and get-it-done spirit to the team,” Operations Manager Craig Tropp shares. “He is willing to jump into any project to help Cape Beverage succeed, and consistently looks forward to seeing how he can help improve the company in regards to performance and morale. Rob is an all around team player full of energy and optimism, and we’re proud to have him on our team.”

Meet Rob Ritz!

Rob is from Blackwood originally, up in Camden County, but he splits his time there and down here in Cape May, especially in the summers.

“I live up there, and my in-laws have a house in the Villas, so we spend half the week in the summer down the shore,” he says.

Unlike most weekend warriors, however, you can typically find Rob down the shore during the week, and he stays up at home most weekends.

“My wife Jamie is a nurse at the trauma center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. She works Friday and Saturday overnights,” Rob shares. “She has some weekends off, too, but we’ll usually stay home and then come down Sunday morning.”

“There are only a couple Level 1 Trauma Centers in the state, and Cooper is one of them. There are other smaller trauma centers, but they can only take certain things, so they’ll fly them up to Cooper. All the kids go to Cooper. She gets everything from boating accidents to drug deals gone bad,” he says. 

“I saw some nasty stuff in my time, but it wasn’t every day. She handles that stuff every day,” he says. 

Jamie is a certified badass, and we’re glad she gets to enjoy time down at the shore when she’s not busy working and saving lives. 

Some of Rob and his family’s favorite spots include Harpoons on the Bay, Crab House, and the Villas Fishing Club, of which Rob is a member. 

“Jamie’s family has always had a house down here. Her parents used to be big campers. They sold the camper and bought the house. We spend more than half the year down here between us, so they get a lot of use out of the house. We don’t have to bring clothes or anything, everything is already there,” he says.

Rob went to Triton Regional High School in Runnemede, NJ. 

Like many of us, it was just a stepping stone to be able to move forward with the rest of his life. 

“I started working after high school. I was hired at a local police department and worked there for six years. I left there and went to my county’s sheriff’s department and worked there for two years before a medical issue forced me to end my career in law enforcement,” he says. 

One of his favorite aspects of law enforcement was being out in the community, going to parks, parking and watching baseball games, and just talking with people in general.

Before serving as a police officer, Rob was also an EMT and volunteer firefighter for 10 years, so service has long been a part of his career, and is a big part of his family’s life as well. 

“My brothers are firemen, as are some of my buddies. My dad was a fireman my whole life,” he shares.

After the police department, he worked in waste management.

“I was driving a trash truck actually,” he says. “I had my CDL license. When I turned 18, my dad was like ‘You’ve gotta get your CDL license. Trust me, just get it.’” 

Rob smiles, shaking his head a bit. “At the time, I didn’t want to be a truck driver, but he kept hounding me and I finally got it. I was glad I did, because it came in handy,” he says.

“After I worked with them for a little bit, they started pulling me to help out the route managers and learn more of the business side of it,” he says.

He worked his way up in the field from a supervisor to a general manager running multiple facilities. 

“It was 210 employees, 72 routes a day going out, trucks, maintenance. We had two full garages for mechanics,” he says.

Rob joined us at Cape Beverage at the beginning of the summer, and he was already well-versed in the ramp up for the summer season, which is typically the busiest time for shore-area businesses. 

“I was used to that. If something happened and we had a truck break down, I’d put it in perspective, because I used to have 10 trucks break down in a day,” he says with a laugh.

“We’ve been coming to the Cape May Brewing Company Tasting Room since they were brewing right behind the bar,” he says. “The walls were all white. You had to get there early to get beer, because once they ran out, it would close.”

“It was the first craft beer I’d ever had. Cape May IPA is what got me into craft beer,” he shares.

“My wife would say, ‘It would be pretty cool to get a job there,’” he says with a smile. “I was on the website one day, because I would always just look to see.”

“Or, joking around, I’d say, hey, let’s move down this year, I’ll go pour beer,” he says with a grin. “They were hiring for a driver at the time. I thought I might as well apply and check it out!” 

“In between the time that Christine called me to set up my driver interview, they’d posted the Operations Manager position,” he says. “So I applied for that. My interview turned into two interviews for different positions.”

While our own Craig Tropp ended up advancing into the Operations Manager position, we knew that we couldn’t ignore an incredible candidate like Rob. We re-established the role of Distribution Manager, formerly held by General Manager Justin Vitti, to offer to Rob, as we felt that Rob’s background in logistics could help our team hone in on efficiency. 

Rob’s stellar background has been incredibly handy in managing our distribution specialists and all things delivery.

Cape Beverage’s growth over the years has been fast and furious. 

“To go from a few trucks out of a storage building in Cape May to over a dozen trucks out on the road every day from our own warehouse, it’s crazy,” he says.

“The truck routes are always up in the background so I can see where they’re at throughout the day,” Rob says. “It’s all over the place, from the tips of New Jersey to near Pennsylvania and New York. Everyone loves our beer.”

“Jamie used to break my chops because I always drink IPA. Even now, I’ll come to the Tasting Room and just get an IPA. Now, Boat Ramp Champ is my second favorite. It’s a good beach beer,” he says.

Jamie is also a fellow fan of Boat Ramp Champ, but really enjoys some of our darker beers, like Honey Porter and its nitro version, Oktoberfest, and Mop Water in the cooler months.

Other favorite IPAs of Rob’s include City to Shore, all-time favorite Make Fast, and Follow the Gull

When he’s not working, Rob makes sure to get in lots of quality family time.

“We spend a lot of time down here walking on the bay and watching the sunset. I golf every once in a while, but I’d rather be home with my family relaxing,” he says.

“Our favorite thing to do is watch the sunset. The best sunset in the world is on the bay in the Villas. It’s fantastic,” he says. “Every night we’re down, whether it’s cloudy or not, we go to the sunset.”

“My daughter Alaina is 10 and Robbie is 8. They’re beach rats; they love it. They love being down in the water, or in the mud in the bay, crabbing and fishing,” he says. “My kids are best friends, it’s awesome.” 

“They hate being home; it’s so funny,” Rob shares. “They always ask, ‘When are we going back down the shore? Do we have to leave?’”

Right now, his kids are both busy with sports. 

“They play soccer and travel soccer now. My daughter has always played soccer. She did dance for a while. My son was doing karate for a while, and he’s really good at baseball, so I would coach his baseball team. Now he’s in travel soccer, and I don’t know anything about soccer,” he says.

“Jamie played her whole life, so she knows soccer. Baseball and hockey are more my thing. She was a goalie, so she knows all that stuff. I’m just like, great job guys. I don’t even know what to yell at them. I’m a yeller,” he says with a smile.

“I coach my son’s baseball team. We’re not doing fall baseball this year because of soccer, but I’ve also coached soccer teams in the past for my kids when they were little,” he says.

When they’re that age, it’s more about corralling and reminding the kids that they’re on the same team. 

Rob has a large extended family as well. 

“I’m the oldest of eight kids,” he says. “My youngest sister will be 21 in December. My parents are still busy. They’re still young enough to go out and party. My in-laws send me pictures all the time from the brewery.”

“Sundays, especially when we’re home, I make dinner and have the whole family over. We call them Sunday Fundays,” he says. “Her parents are a mile down the road from us, and my parents are only three miles away. All my brothers and sisters are still pretty local, too.” 

Some of the dishes Rob makes include chili, baked ziti (!), lasagna, and spaghetti and meatballs.

“I taught my kids how to roll meatballs, and they’re getting there. I remember doing that as a kid with my dad on Sundays. Getting up early to roll meatballs and letting them cook all day long,” he says.

So far, he’s loving his time with Cape Beverage so far. 

“I love it. I love coming to work and I love working for the company. I’ve never worked at a place like this before,” he says.

“Everyone’s super supportive. I was more in the service industry before, and now I’m learning more about the sales aspects,” he says.

“The drivers are great guys. Ant is fantastic. He’s my go-to guy,” he says.

(Ed. note: Ant is our rock star Head Driver, Anthony Hindsley.)

“It’s cool to say you work with Cape May Brewing Company,” he says. “Everyone knows that name. If I’m out and wearing my work shirts, people will say, ‘Oh you work there? I didn’t see that shirt in the Brewtique!’” Rob says. 

“I feel like I fell right into place with Justin and Craig,” Rob says. “Even when we walk into the Tasting Room on the weekends, people will be like, ‘Hey Rob, what’s going on?’” 

His experience here so far has given him a much different perspective than most might see as well. 

“There’s not just one type of person. In my mind, I had pictured the typical cookie-cutter brewery guys, with the long beards and the beanies, but it’s not. There’s a huge melting pot of different people, and I love that,” he says.

(Ed. note: We definitely have a few brewery guys on the team, especially in production! Lookin’ at you, Brian Hink, Mark Graves, and Sean McGuirl.) 

“The drivers are the face of the company, as well as the sales team. That’s what people see,” he says. “The drivers might see people just as much as the sales managers.” 

“I’ve been out on the road with the guys a few times, trying to learn their job. I like to be the person who can do my team’s jobs if they need me. If there are people out, and the route needs to be run, I’d rather get on the truck myself than have someone have to wait for their delivery,” he says. 

“Being out there with them, you can see that people know those guys by name,” he says.

“That’s us; that’s our company. They see people in the brewtique,” he says. “Cape May Brewing Company is the greeter at the door, the people pouring the beer, or Bob bopping around the Tasting Room. To me, that’s what the company is.” 

“If you pick up a can of beer and drink it, or you’re sitting out back with a friend, having a beer and barbecuing, you don’t realize what goes into it,” Rob shares. “It’s pretty awesome to see where it comes from, and how they make it.”

“Who thinks about tires when they think about beer? Now I think about tires when I think about beer,” Rob says with a laugh. “Trucks and people—that’s what you need.” 

Luckily, we have Rob to make sure that our trucks and the team members operating them are the best they can be, and are able to help our customers efficiently. We’re so grateful to have him with us, and are so glad he’s here with us as we continue to grow! Next time you see Rob in the Tasting Room, or out in the area, make sure you say hi!