Area Smuttynose rep Joanna Manzo on: The Voice dreams & being a better friend to Lindsay Lohan.
Over a few pints of Smuttynose Cluster’s Last Stand and shots of Fireball at Lucky’s Last Chance in Manayunk, Shangy’s Philadelphia Rep, Matt Satten, gets to know Joanna Manzo a little better.
Matt: So you got your start selling beer at Origlio. Was that your first job in the beer business?
Jo: No, I’ve actually been working in bars since I was 13 years-old. I started at the old Broad Axe Tavern. I started there working under the table as the bread and salad girl, moved up to expo, then hostess and finally, a waitress. I stopped working there when I was 18. Actually, though, before that, my grandparents lived on the 13th hole of Plymouth Country Club and my dad would send me over there on Saturday and Sundays. I would set up a cooler with domestic beer, crackers, and candy and sell it to the golfers.
M: Did you make good money?
J: I made great money. My parents always
encouraged me to have my own job and my own money. So golf course beer sales, to bread and salad girl and expo,
to eventually, by the time I was 18, while I was in photography school, I worked at PJ Whelihan’s in Blue Bell. Then, when I was 21, I took a break and worked for the family business for my aunt and uncle, which was Renaissance Design and Construction. I did photography and administrative work for them. When I was 22, I started working at the Drafting Room in Spring house, which is where my love for beer really grew, because it was right there in front of my face. They had 22 taps, 2 casks and over 300 types of beer. At this point it was like ‘06?
M: Was this the last job before Origlio?
J: No, I worked at Forest & Main right before it opened. I was working there and really sad to leave there but I really wanted to be a beer representative so I went to Origlio.
M: You started working for Smuttynose last September. What has been the overall feel of working for them so far?
J: I think a big part of what I do working with Smuttynose is education of the brewery. They feel that with the influx of breweries that are out there and the breweries that are just getting feet on the street, that the consumers, the bar owners, the bartenders, they’re trying to learn more about these breweries.
M: Ehhhh…. alright, that’s a very pc answer.
J: No, it’s the truth. You know for all the hard work that I do and everyone else at the brewery, it’s great to see a brewery that was lost in the shuffle to come to see a new light. Let’s be honest, we can name a lot of top breweries in the country and world that are lost in the shuffle in Philly.
Shots are sent to the table to entice “deeper” conversation. Jo goes on to talk about her boyfriend, Andre, for a while…
J: We’re very comfortable with each other. He never has a problem with me going and doing events. I don’t think it’s easy being in a relationship in the beer industry for a lot of people because there are a lot of trust issues.
M: Alcohol has a way of blurring the lines sometimes.
J: What are you, Robin Thicke now?
M: I don’t know. I hope I didn’t just quote a pop star. I’ll be in trouble. Next thing you know, I’ll be twerking like Miley Cyrus.
No, not really, that’s not really my thing.
J: No comment.
M: What pisses you off most about the beer business?
J: How snooty people can be about beer. We don’t work on Wall Street. We sell beer. I don’t enjoy people cherry picking and only wanting the rare beers. If I gave everyone the rare beers, they wouldn’t be rare, right?
M: Tell me one of your favorite beer drinking stories.
J: It would have to be either 2006 or 2007 on one of my rare nights off from the Drafting Room.
M: Wait, so nights off all of a sudden are rare? I feel that if everyone had a night off, no one would want one anymore.
J: I’m just getting pummeled over here. I’m not talking about rainbows and dinosaurs and apparently that’s not cool.
M: OK, so back to your story, I want to hear it.
J: It was Christmas season and we always would have an event with multiple years of Mad Elf on tap. Anyways, we were downtown and there was a place serving Mad Elf for $3 a pint. I asked what year it was and they made fun of me so bad. I could hear them saying, ‘Yo, that chick was just asking what year the Mad Elf was. What does she want, the Bass 1969 or the Miller Lite 1975?’ My entire family made fun of me years for asking.
M: What is the drunkest you’ve ever been?
J: I don’t know. It was probably like ten years ago. I have a very embarrassing story from when I was sober, though. I tried out for Philly Idol right after American Idol had come out. One of the guest judges was one of the dudes from Boyz II Men. You were supposed to get up on stage and you had 30 seconds to sing. When they wanted you to stop singing, they would ring this bell, like a Catholic schoolyard bell. I got up, I was like, ‘OH MY GOD Boyz II Men! Nice to see you. Where have you been? How come you haven’t put out an album?’ Then I sang and everyone loved me, but the Boyz II Men judge was like, ‘I’m not feeling it.’ So, basically I called out Motownphilly by accident because I was nervous and I didn’t make it in Philly Idol. Definitely got teased for years and years about this.
M: Did you go for American Idol at all?
J: I did go for American in D.C. when I was 19. I did not make that. I also went out for The Voice and have been on the callback list for that. It’s on my list to do again for next year.
M: What is your favorite beer?
J: (Unibroue) La Fin Du Monde. I’m a big fan of Belgian beers and everyone in the family loves it, so it’s a party favorite.
Doug from Lucky’s Last Chance interrupts, asking questions of his own…
Doug: If you could choose to fight one with their hands tied behind their backs, would it be Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus? You can use a stick or a sword.
J: I would probably just put a bag over Miley Cyrus’ head. You can’t fight the Biebs, he’s going through a transition.
D: Would you rather party with Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen?
J: Lindsay Lohan.
D: You don’t want to drink tiger blood?
J: No, he’s just fucking weird. Lindsay is just a little cray-cray. I can deal with crazy. You see it all the time in this industry. Plus, she needs a good friend, too. She doesn’t have any good friends. She needs to go back to redhead. Fair skin and freckles. Don’t tan or go to blonde. She was pretty enough the way she was. She has the wrong people in her life telling her what to do. She’s probably a really good girl but gets bad press because she has bad friends.
M: Who would play you in a celebrity movie, The Life of Joanna?
J: Pink or Janis Joplin because I think they have really big hearts but are rough around the edges.
M: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
J: Wings so I could get the fuck out of here.