Post-COVID, we’ve been lucky enough to start bringing back some of our events, return to beer festivals, and bring more of our beverages closer to our fans around the region.
Now that we’re getting back into gear with events and samplings, we needed a range of people across the state and region to help support our brand, pour beer, and chat with folks who come out to see us at these events.
That’s where our incredible Brand Ambassadors come in. It’s an exciting gig, and it’s always fun to be able to see these Brew Crew members out in the field and in their element. This week, we got the chance to catch up with another new ambassador, Sara Scangarello.
“I live in Ocean County, up in Manahawkin near Long Beach Island,” Sara says.
She’s been back in the area for about four years, but Ocean County is also where she grew up.
“I’ve lived all over—north Jersey, Florida for a little while, out West, and then eventually I kind of landed back here,” she says.
In addition to working events with us, Sara has a full-time job in health care.
“I’m an occupational therapist. This opportunity came up for a Brand Ambassador, and I talked to Jenna Rae about it. At that time, they weren’t really hiring because of COVID, and I think the sampling program and events were very limited at that time,” she says. “More recently, when things started to pick up again, she contacted me to ask if I was still interested, and I said of course!”
“The atmosphere of the beer festivals and being involved in the samplings is fun, and I was looking for something completely different from what I do on a normal basis. I thought it would be a way to get out there, meet some new people, learn about a new industry. I’ve been to beer festivals before in Asbury Park and Atlantic City, and always thought it would be fun to be a part of,” she shares.
Many of our Brand Ambassadors work evenings and weekends pouring beer at liquor stores, or chatting with fans and fellow breweries at festivals, and that schedule works out well for Sara.
“I’m just getting started with the company and did my orientation, which was actually a really nice day learning about the different departments and seeing the brewing process. We also got to visit the Tasting Room, so that when you’re at some of these events, you can talk to people more about it and be a little bit more educated about what you’re talking about,” she says with a laugh.
And it’s true! One of the best things about being a Brand Ambassador is that you get to learn from the ground up, and here at Cape May Brewing Company, we love when both fans of ours come to work with us, and also when people entirely new to the industry want to join us in talking about and exploring great beer!
“The way they do the orientation is nice, because you get to meet people from all different areas and realize how big CMBC is,” she says.
“This is very new, and the one event I’ve done so far was really fun. We’re trying to get a few more dates on the books in my area,” she says.
“A lot of events have been in the Cape May and Atlantic counties, but we’re trying to branch out and offer more events further north as well,” Sara explains.
She’s enjoying being back in Manahawkin, too.
“It’s nice here. My family is close by, and it’s close to work. I do home care, so I have to drive a lot. I live right by the Parkway, which makes that easier,” she says. “For events, I can just hop on the Parkway to get wherever I need to be.”
Like many of us, Sara started restructuring her work after COVID.
“I was in a facility before COVID, and then I switched during the pandemic. I didn’t want to be around that many people, and in homes, it’s much more controlled and contained with one person,” she shares. “It’s really nice to be with someone in their own environment where they’ll be living and work on things with them like moving in and out of their own bed, and making sure they can walk around their house.”
Sara notes that the home care world exploded during COVID, in part because many patients weren’t comfortable visiting facilities for care.
Now, with many things returning again, Sara has had her first event with us, the Downbeach Seafood Festival in Ventnor.
“Mary Braccili was there to show me how to do the setup and how the event runs and the breakdown,” she shares. “She showed me how she interacts with people. When we were there, we had two different beers, so we went over what kinds of beer they were and asked people what they usually drink to figure out what would be best for them.”
(Ed. note: If you’re new to beer or new to CMBC, we have so many different options to share, from those who love things a bit sweet, to those looking for something more traditional with a bite.)
“CMBC has a really great following, because people would ask about all these different beers that I’m still learning about,” she recalls. “I’m like, Mary, I don’t know about these, I need a cheat sheet!”
“It was a really fun event. They had a tent for a lot of the different breweries around the state, and they gave attendees a sample cup and people would taste around the tent. All of the other breweries that were there were all really helpful and nice—just good people and a great atmosphere,” she says.
“It was great to see how big the following is. People get really excited about the new beers that are coming out,” she says.
Other than her recent walkthrough during orientation, Sara’s first official visit to the Tasting Room was just last week!
“I’m about an hour from the brewery, but I did take a trip down there to try a couple things and check out the Brewtanical Garden, because I wanted to be able to talk to people a bit more and be more educated,” she shares.
“It’s a great space; it’s really well done. Kaley was behind the bar, and I asked her to give me a flight of the four most popular things to try,” she says.
Sara isn’t entirely new to CMBC beers, though!
“I had the Cape May White before this position. They have it on tap at a few places around here,” she shares. “And I still like it, even after trying a bunch of different ones now. It’s probably still my favorite.”
(Ed. note: Cape May White crew, where are you at??)
“It’s fun to try the different ones and pick out all the different flavors,” Sara says with a smile.
(Ed. note: She’s not the only one who’s been surprised by our seltzers. Many people who have been burned in the past by subpar seltzers find new love for them in ours!)
We asked Sara if there was anything else that surprised her that she’s learned so far.
“What was surprising to me, especially at orientation, was the culture and the atmosphere here and how everybody is genuinely into it and excited about the company,” she shares.
“I don’t know much about brewing beer, so having that tour and seeing how much goes into actually manifesting that can of beer was very interesting and eye-opening,” she says.
(Ed. note: Keep in mind that COVID has unfortunately suspended any brewery tours for the time being. If you want a peek at our process, you’ll have to stay tuned to this blog, or consider joining our team!)
“Brewing is like a creative science where you’re trying to mix and match things and come up with new fun ideas,” she says. “And this is being done right in our backyard.”
As we’re chatting, we hear a mournful whine in the background of the Zoom call.
“You probably hear my dog,” Sara says with a laugh. “He gets jealous when I’m on the phone.”
Although we didn’t get to see the pup during our call, Sara generously provided this great photo afterwards. Meet Bozeman!
Sara has been in occupational therapy for about eight years now, but she actually got her undergraduate degree in marketing and communications from Salisbury University in Maryland.
“I was in medical device sales for about five or six years before I decided that sales really wasn’t for me, and I went back to graduate school at Stockton for occupational therapy,” she says. “I was always a little bit more interested in what was happening after people would have surgery, like how they were doing and what they were up to.”
“It’s been a good switch. I love the marketing aspect of things, and being able to use my marketing skills again in this role is fun,” she says.
We comment on the piece of wood art on the wall behind her—it’s an awesome piece made out of a couple wood boards featuring different gradients of color, with the natural wood grain representing sand, and different shades of blue leading to a connected piece that features vibrant sunset shades and a circular sun half obscured by the water.
“I made it,” she shares. “I’m not a big artist at all, but you know those paint and sip things? I did a few of those over the last couple years, and I loved them.”
“I really enjoyed it, so I started dabbling with a few different painting things,” she shares. “When I saw a picture like this, I thought, I can do that!”
(Ed. note: We definitely envy that ability!)
“I just went for it. I hadn’t intended to display it, but when I was done, I really liked the colors and it made me happy,” she says.
When she’s not creating gorgeous art pieces, Sara loves being outdoors, whether it’s running, hiking, or taking Bozeman out in nature.
“He’s getting a little older now. He’s 15, actually. We used to do long hikes or runs together, and now we keep it pretty simple,” she says.
(Ed. note: Go Bozeman! He’s a trooper.)
“I used to go to Hartshorne Woods Park in the Atlantic Highlands area,” she says. “It’s beautiful up there, so if I have the day, I go up there. There’s also a park near me called Wells Mills County Park in Waretown.”
“I have three little nieces that live fifteen minutes from me, so just going and spending time with them is great. They’re very into baking right now, so we’ll bake a cake or cookies,” she says.
Sara will be at some more events with us in the future, so make sure to keep an eye out for her next time you’re at one of our events to say hi!