We’re coming, Union County! We’re on our way!
We’ve recently begun distributing in Middlesex County. We’re working on Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union Counties, as well.
Why? Well… because we hired Tom LoBianco. He’s spent much of the past two decades selling beer in that area, so he was the perfect guy to put on the ground, getting our name out into this uncharted territory.
Tom grew up in Kenilworth — “which is 138 off the Parkway” — and he still lives there. He spent a few years at Fairleigh Dickinson, but moved back to Kenilworth after college.
His first job out of college was in merchandising with Warren Distributors, getting his first sales route three years later. In total, he had four routes in Morris County and Middlesex County with Warren before they were bought out by Shore Point.
So, he knows the area.
“I have some of my old customers,” he says.
He was drawn to the industry for “full-time work,” he says.
“Seriously, it had nothing to do with working for a beer company,” he says. “It was a full-time job making money. I was able to pay my bills and pay for my car, and, at that point in my life, that’s what I cared about.”
However, after being there awhile, he realized that if he could work his way up to a sales route, “that would be fantastic. I saw the guys going out, and I was getting tired of hanging neon signs. I wanted to get in on the action, so they gave me my first route in Middlesex and three years later I had the New Brunswick market, so I had the whole college area.”
Essentially, he got caught up in the business and ended up loving it.
“It’s great,” he says. “People are like, ‘Oh, you sell beer?!? That’s gotta be the best job!’ And now, working here, I have other people that I know that are doing sales in the business, and they can’t believe I got this job. I guess I got in at a good time.”
He’s known Mike Laferrera for quite awhile, as Mike was Long Trail’s rep in the area, and they were distributed by Warren.
“He would come and ride around with me when we were selling,” Tom says, “and that’s how I kind of fell into getting to CMBC.”
Tom is a fan of old-school horror films.
“I like old stuff from the 40s and 50s,” he says. “Old stuff that’s black and white — that’s awesome. Compared to the stuff they do today, I’m like, eh. I like the old Bela Lugosi stuff.”
Music-wise, he’s “all over the place.”
“I’ve got a big, ‘ol Misfits tattoo on my arm,” he says, a Misfits hat in his pocket. “I’m going to see Matt and Kim (indie electronic duo) in March, which is not the same thing.”
He’s not a football fan, but he does like the Yankees and Knicks, “but I haven’t watched much of them over the past few years. They’ve been a disaster.”
Tom has a three-year-old daughter who he says has made him a much happier person. However, it wasn’t an easy task bringing her into the world — she was born three months premature.
“I never thought I was going to have children,” he says, “so, for me, just having her was mindblowing. But she was born at 28 weeks, she was in a NIC unit for three months. She was one pound, fourteen ounces when she was born.”
While it was undoubtedly a trial, you can tell that Tom kind of marvels at the whole experience.
“To see her now, you would have no idea,” he says. “She’ll talk to you and you’ll think, ‘Are you two?!?’ She’s really progressed. We had her in all kinds of early intervention for speech and everything, and she’s tested out of everything. She’s doing really well. I’m super psyched: she starts preschool in September.”
Tom hadn’t been to Cape May in a decade or so before he’d come down here to interview.
“I’m not too familiar with the area,” he admits. “It’s a little different being down here than being in all the congestion up where I’m selling and where I live.”
We’re sure he’ll be singing a different tune come summertime. It’s not exactly congested in Cape May, but there’s certainly a lot more people on the streets.
But Tom is glad to be back to work, and he’s happy to have a chance to work at a quickly-growing company.
“I’m looking forward to being able to build this brand in an area that’s uncharted in terms of what it’s going to do. I like the idea of concentrating on here and not a million different products.”
And he’s definitely glad to be back on the road.
“I couldn’t sit in an office,” he says. “I was on the road for so many years, and the idea of sitting in a room for so many hours was just not something I could handle. So, I’m glad to be out on the road again.”
While he’s got nearly two decades in the industry, this is the first time he’s worked to further only one brand.
“I hadn’t really thought about working for a brewery, to be honest,” Tom says, “but I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the grind of working for a distributor. Being off for six months, this was perfect.”
We happened to interview Tom the day of the State of the Brewery address, and that’s not something you see everywhere — the entire company in one room to talk about where the organization is headed.
“To be somewhere where people listen to you, it’s a refreshing change,” he says. “Everybody here’s been so nice and awesome. I think everybody understands what their purpose is, and everybody seems to love working here.”
Tom is looking forward to seeing what the summer brings.
“We’re well-received out there,” he says. “People really respect the brand. Actually, more people than I thought have actually been to the brewery, and they’ve all said that the Tasting Room is always hopping. January seemed to be pretty good here, and February seemed to be pretty good here, and those are two notoriously slow months. So if that is the build into summertime, I’m excited to see what happens.”
And Tom has found a new favorite beer in Snag & Drop.
“What don’t I like about Snag & Drop? It’s very resiny, but not to the point of being overwhelming. I had a couple of them without even blinking. You can’t even taste the alcohol; it’s not super boozy.”
Although, he admits that he hasn’t yet had the chance to try all of our brews.
“I’m looking forward to trying many, many more.”
To see the new accounts Tom has been opening for us, see the Beerfinder!