Like a number of our OG Brew Crew members and a handful of our more recent hires, Zach Tomlin is a fellow local!
He grew up in Cape May Court House, and he’s been in the area ever since.
Meet one of our newest packaging operators, Zach!
With events coming back the last several months, it was hard not to talk about music and concerts!
Zach recently saw Tool in Philly a few weeks ago. “It’s hard to get their tickets,” he says. “I saw them again last Saturday in Newark, too.”
[Ed. note: We’re pretty envious! Definitely beats our Saturday spent catching up on chores…]
“It was so weird having a whole year with no concerts,” Zach laments.
“One band was pushed back four times, so now I’ve waited two years to actually go see them, but hopefully things are gonna work out now,” he says with a shrug.
Zach’s primarily a metal and rock fan, but he also likes a lot of artists outside of those genres.
Some of his favorites include Black Sabbath, Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Opeth, Deftones, Pantera, and Type O Negative. He’s also into shoegaze and more indie artists.
[Ed. note: When we first heard it, we thought shoegaze was a band…turns out, it’s a subgenre of indie and altrock!]
“I like Mac DeMarco; I’ve seen him a few times, it’s a real fun show,” he says. “I also like Rammstein, Knocked Loose, Death, Crowbar, Cocteau Twins, Kyuss, The Smiths, Slowdive, and Frank Zappa.”
“I also listen to some rap, too, like $uicideboy$, Ghostemane, and MF Doom,” Zach says. “MF Doom had so much music made already that they’re still releasing music now. It’s pretty cool.”
“Next month I’m seeing Oliver Tree, which is a big jump in genres there,” he says.
He tends to stick to concerts in the area, based on who’s touring near here.
As a local, Zach has a pretty different perspective than most who visit or moved here more recently.
“When it’s not summer, it can be very boring,” Zach says with a laugh. “Trips outside of here are much more valuable when you live around here for long enough, even if it’s just to Philly.”
This year, Zach’s looking forward to visiting his aunt and uncle in Key West with his sister, and going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers with his family.
Not only does he share music tastes with many of our Brew Crew members, but he also plays the guitar, and there’s a number of our Brew Crew members who also play instruments!
“I play what I listen to. It varies, from Black Sabbath to Cocteau Twins. The other day, I was trying to learn how to play ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ by Thin Lizzy, and I used to play a lot of Iron Maiden and System of a Down,” he says.
Before he joined our team, Zach was selling insurance, which is not too dissimilar from our own HR Coordinator Cody Danks!
“It was not the best thing for me; I’m not an office person,” Zach says. “The work would follow you home, too. The employer is actually a good family friend, but the work just wasn’t for me.”
“Before that, when COVID hit, I got laid off and was doing DoorDash for a bit,” he says. “Prior to COVID, I was actually in welding. I went to Cape May Tech for it.”
Unfortunately, welding opportunities are limited down here, so Zach was driving up towards Vineland for work.
While Zach still enjoys welding, he knew that wasn’t quite right for him, either.
Not to mention welding is a bit more dangerous: he once crushed his finger on one of the machines!
“I was wearing a glove, too,” he says. “I was scared to death to take it off, but when I looked at my finger, it was flattened and white. I was convinced that would be the day that I lost my finger.”
“I went home early, and I was driving my dad’s car at the time, which I wasn’t too familiar with,” he says. “And I had to go out to dinner with my ex’s family that night. Her whole family was there, and I’m just sitting there with this big, bleeding bandage at the table.”
[Ed. note: Talk about a nightmare!]
Zach laughs. “It was very awkward, but it works now,” he says, proudly displaying his hand.
“Fun fact, though—it did permanently change my fingerprint,” he says. “I noticed when I had fingerprints done that you could still see remnants of the incident.”
“I still weld at home, though,” he says. “Friends will come to me like, hey, can you weld this for me? Usually car parts.”
Zach has even welded something for us at production already! He welded some handles to our grain mill, making it easier and safer to work with.
He was pretty familiar with our brews before joining the team, too.
“I visited the Tasting Room a couple times in the summer,” he says. “On my 21st birthday, I got Crushin’ It. I’d also tried a mix at ACME before as well.”
Now that he has direct access, Zach has found a lot of new favorites, including Tan Limes, Snag & Drop, Key Lime Corrosion, Coastal Evacuation, Ties the Room Together, our Cape May Hard Seltzers, and last year he enjoyed Mango Crushin’ It on draft.
“Our Root Beer is really good, too,” he says. “JP does a solid job with our sodas.”
“I really enjoy it here so far. It beats the hell out of being in an office all day,” Zach says with a smile.
“Everyone’s really cool,” he says. “We all have the same positive attitude towards work. We all like being there and enjoy what we’re doing. It’s nice having everyone on the same page and we’re all working together as a team.”
“They’re more than willing to help you out and answer questions. It’s cool to be at a place like that,” he says.
“At home, I like doing digital art and I play video games on my computer, but I’m not too fond of my job being on the computer,” he says.
[Ed. note: The face we made when we realized that’s basically what our job is…]
“I was so lucky. I bought the parts for my new computer just before the crypto market boom,” he says. “It would be top-spec for 2019, actually, but my GPU is really good. AMD gang.”
[Ed. note: AMD gang represent!]
“I’ve been trying to get more into digital art, but I’m more used to physical media like painting and drawing,” he says. “Using the tablet and PC is more difficult. You have to put things in layers.”
“I took an old drawing once and put it on the computer. I went through all these layers, but then I didn’t know how to save it properly, and the way I saved it, it fused all the layers together. It’s extremely difficult to undo that.”
“It was 4-6 hours of work just down the drain because I saved it the wrong way. Lesson learned,” he says, shaking his head.
“There’s so much more involved with digital art than physical media, so I have a lot more respect for digital artists now,” he says.
“My art trends more towards American and Japanese traditional, and things you might see in Dark Souls,” he explains, showing us some examples on his phone.
“I did one painting based on a meme from Reddit. A guy boiled a crab in Pepsi Max for two hours and then put it in a loaf of bread,” he says. “I did a watercolor of it and gave it to my mom, because she wanted paintings for the kitchen. So now it’s up in the kitchen.”
“She has no idea what the Pepsi crab is,” he says with a smile. “Every time I see it, it’s like, I know what that is, but no one else does.”
Art is essentially in Zach’s blood! His family has a big connection with art. His dad went to school for art at Stockton and worked with realism art, and his sister also works with colored pencils.
“My mom’s dad, my grandfather, was phenomenal with ink work,” he says. “He did pen and ink lining the old fashioned way. It would take him weeks to finish pieces. He’d do different types of fish, whales, and boats.”
“It was cool the amount of time he spent doing it,” he says. “It’s a very meticulous process.”
“One of my ancestors was a famous artist, too. He was friends with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and his most famous portrait is of George Washington. Charles Wilson Peale. They actually did an exhibit in Philly for him, with all of the portraits he’d done. It was like an old family reunion thing.”
“It happened because we ended up donating a letter. Someone found it in a box tucked away in an attic—it was a letter to his son I think,” he says. “I had no idea what it says; it was completely illegible.”
[Ed. note: We can’t even imagine finding something that valuable in our attics!]
Zach initially went to Cape May Tech for natural sciences, because he loves nature, but he switched to welding for more practical job prospects. Now, he still incorporates nature into his daily life through his hobbies.
“One thing I want to do is if I travel somewhere, I want to try painting the area,” he says. “A lot of my art is nature-based.”
“I enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping, and I also have a freshwater aquarium,” he says. “I have one that’s 50 gallons. All of the ones I have in there are Southeast Asian fish, like gold and cherry barbs, a loach, and a female betta fish.”
“Normally, I try to keep the fish from the same region. I do have a pleco, and they’re from South America, but I’ve had him forever, and he gets rid of the algae,” Zach explains.
“I have two reptiles right now, too,” he says. “Two leopard geckos. They’re like mini-cats.”
“I had one reptile who was 12 years old,” he says. “He passed away a month ago. I was devastated. It’s crazy thinking about how I’d had him since grade school, and he’s met my entire family. He was older than my little cousins, and outlived pets and saw people come and go.”
Zach also has two dogs, chickens, and ducks!
“The chickens are fun. I’ve always grown up with them. We live out in the woods, so it’s easy for something to come and snag them, so we have to be careful and keep them up,” he says.
“We had a raccoon get in the enclosure and kill one once,” he says. “Normally they don’t go after them, they just take the eggs, but I think because one was injured. She couldn’t get away fast enough.”
[Ed. note: who knew?!]
“Thankfully we haven’t had an issue since,” he says.
Some day, Zach plans to get other pets, too. His bucket list includes millipedes, different snakes, and lizards.
“I want to go up to Stokes in High Point this spring. I went up a few years ago in March. It snowed when we went up there. Part of the Appalachian trail is there, so we got to hike a mile or so for it. Went to the tallest point in New Jersey,” he says. “They have this big tower structure up there.”
“It was really windy at the time, but it was beautiful. Everything had just started thawing out, so there were creeks and streams and little ponds and lakes everywhere,” he says. “It was really cool, so I’m hoping this time I can go over there and actually fish.”
“Some places you can hike to and visit have old mills or dilapidated structures to check out, too,” he says. “Or an old bridge. It might sound boring now, but when you see it in person, it’s really cool.”
“One time we found old munition plants in Millville or Atco. You could still see the foundation of the structure,” he says. “This is all state property stuff, so you’re allowed to walk around.”
“I go kayaking, too,” he says. “I just got a roof rack for my car a couple years ago. I just have to get the kayak ready. It’s a fresh- and salt-water kayak, so I can take it out to the bay or a pond up the road to go fishing out of that.”
“It’s fun having a variety of interests, because I can never say I don’t have anything to do,” he says with a laugh. “That’s part of growing up around here, too. You have to find something to do. On a rainy day, I’m either playing video games or painting. If it’s a nice day, I’m at the beach or hiking.”
The next time you see Zach around or at CMBC, make sure to say hi! If you’re a fellow rock/metal fan, ask him about some of his recent shows!