Cape May, NJ – Spring is a time for new beginnings… and a new chapter at Cape May Brewing Company. Starting the first week of March, Jimmy Valm – formerly of Brooklyn Brewery — will take over as CMBC’s Director of Brewing Operations, responsible for overseeing fermentation, maturation and packaging.
“As the craft beer industry evolves and the consumer becomes all the more savvy, we’re not looking only to keep pace,” says CMBC President Ryan Krill. “In order to offer the best product possible, we’ve expanded our physical space and our brewing capabilities. Now, we’re bringing in one of the best brewing talents on the east coast, who will take us to that next level.”
Valm grew up in Seattle, where he thought about pursuing a law degree and working for Amnesty International. But one year into college, he realized this path wasn’t for him. Instead, he took a job at Trader Joe’s where he was put in charge of the beer section and allowed to connect with some of Seattle’s homebrew luminaries.
“There was a huge scene for this there,” Valm says. “The older generation took me under its wing – I brewed my first batch at 19, before I was legally allowed to drink.”
In 2006, at the age of 25, Valm left for Scotland. While his girlfriend Margarete Oenning (now his fiancé) pursued a Master’s degree in Anthropology, he earned a bachelor’s degree in brewing and distilling at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. Between classes, he worked at a whiskey shop along the Royal Mile, the city’s main thoroughfare. Then, after graduation, he took on a full-time position with Heineken UK, the conglomerate producing 3.5 million barrels per year. In Manchester, England, Valm served as Brewing Shift Manager, overseeing everything from ingredient intake to filtration and blending.
“This was a good learning experience in terms of managing processes and people,” he says. “But my heart was always with craft. At the end of a long day, I wasn’t ordering a Foster’s.”
In 2012, Valm moved to New York where he took over as Production Manager for Brooklyn Brewery, until the position at CMBC opened up.
“I’m really stoked,” he says. “Just because a brewery is craft doesn’t mean their beer is going to be good, or that it’s been well-managed in terms of process. But Cape May has so many things going for it – it’s well-run, people rave about the product, and there’s a great plan in place for growing. It’s an intriguing place. My goal is to help create a reputation for high-quality, consistent beers outside of our current Jersey and Philadelphia distribution network. I want people in New York and elsewhere to search us out and anticipate our new releases. We’re going to be right in the thick of it.”
But that’s not the only reason Valm’s excited about his upcoming move.
“I’m a surfer, so I’m thrilled for a place with great swell,” he says. “Surfing is a lot like drinking beer — there are many styles and none of them are wrong… no matter what the latest trend says. The style that’s best? The one you like the most.”
About Cape May Brewing Company:
Once upon a time, twenty-something Ryan Krill earned a six-figure salary working in finance and real estate development in Manhattan, while his college roommate, Chris Henke, designed satellites. During a summer weekend at the Jersey shore, they brewed a batch of beer with Ryan’s dad that wasn’t half bad. “Should we open a brewery?” Ryan asked, only half-serious. But, by the following year, the three guys had secured a space at Cape May Airport where they concocted a makeshift brew system and honed their beer-making skills. In 2011, they started with one client. Today, there are over 380+ accounts in Jersey and Pennsylvania proudly serving the guys’ award-winning recipes. And CMBC’s fearless leaders have never looked back.