Muller sales rep Mark McKernan gets all dressed up to help us get to know his kindred spirit and Long Trail brewery rep, Matt Geise
The interview starts in Matt’s living room in New Jersey to take photos.
Mark: Until Philly Beer Scene people showed up here, I honestly thought this was a way for you to get me to hang out with you on a Saturday.
Matt: Mark, when you live 60 miles away. I mean, you fell for it.
Mark: I did and they’re here now. This is real. This is happening. Who comes up with the title for this?
Matt: I would like it to not be called “Grown Children.”
Mark: (speaking to Mat) Like, did you really think this was going to be fun for you?
Matt: Mat doesn’t want to admit it, actually a lot of people don’t want to admit it, but I am one of the most fun people that anybody knows.
Mark: I would love to find someone that thought that about you.
While trying to prepare themselves for the photos, Matt and Mark decide on which cartoon to watch while discussing Lucky Charms, acquiring every possible size of the photos to be taken, a NERF gun Pollyanna they’re planning, the cartoon Doug and how Matt met the voice of Doug, whom he considers to be one of the coolest people in the world.
Mark: Interview question number something: We’re in the state of New Jersey where you live, why do you hate Pennsylvania?
Matt: I don’t hate Pennsylvania. I love Pennsylvania.
Mark: Why do you hate Philadelphia? You don’t live in Philadelphia. You’re the only brewery rep in the entire world that doesn’t live in the Philadelphia area.
Matt: I do live in the Philly area. If someone lived in Chestnut Hill…
Mark….you have to pay dollars to come to Philadelphia.
Matt: If someone lived in Chestnut Hill and I live where I live, I can get to Center City faster than them.
Mark: Yea, but at least they live in Philadelphia, and you have to pay dollars.
Matt: It’s five bucks. I’d rather pay five bucks and be ten minutes from my first stop.
Mark: I’m not talking shit on Jersey. Well, I am. It’s the only state that charges you to leave.
Mark: Important interview question: Matt, how did we meet?
Matt: Are you like, trying to find out?
Mark: I actually am. I really don’t remember how we met, that’s the best part.
Matt: (laughing hysterically) He’s trying to find out.
Mark: He was like, ‘We have such a great story,’ and I’m like, ‘I really don’t remember.’ I don’t remember Matt not existing. I remember there was a time, a dark time in my life and then Matt was there one day. I think it was at the Kennett Brewfest and I was just attracted to his personality, because we were right next to each other and we were both enjoying the company of one another.
Matt: Kennett Brewfest 2009, we were pouring the first keg of Russian Imperial Stout and Wolaver’s Pumpkin and Otter Creek ESB.
Mark: I don’t remember that beer. I think that was from before I was around.
Matt: No, you were there, because I met you there. We were pouring the keg and you were there. It’s not like we’re behind some warehouse somewhere.
Mark: I might not have even been with Muller at that point.
Matt: No, you were.
Mark: I must have been very new.
Matt: In 2009, Mark was a detective.
Mark: I was a private detective for an insurance company. It was awful. Don’t do that. I made the backseat of my car into an office, a lounge area, and a toilet.
Mark: Interview question for Matt: What did you do before you were a beer guy? Change the wording, that’s a terrible question. What did you do before you worked in the beer industry? I hate this.
Matt: We’ll address it when we get to…
Mark: …we’re interviewing right now.
Matt: Are we?
Mark: Yes, this thing is recording.
Matt: So, I use to work for FedEx in quality assurance. Remember like four of five years ago when beer trades were in?
Mark: Are they not in anymore?
Matt: Anyways, I worked for FedEx and it’s illegal to ship beer in the state of New Jersey. If something broke because they shipped it poorly, it would come to me because I had to report the damage. Every time it was a crazy beer trade, instead of reporting it damaged and sending it back to the sender, I would call the recipient and be like ‘Hey, I have all this insanely rare beer but one of them broke. You need to come pick it up, because if you don’t I have to return it.’ People would reward me with their rare beers for helping them out. There was a broken bottle of Dark Lord once.
After a lengthy conversation about Rocko’s Modern Life along with nothing else of relevance, Matt decides to move the interview to Philadelphia and get brunch at The Wishing Well.
Mark: Obviously, we are going to start with the ‘how you got into the beer industry’ question. Actually, no, stop! I don’t want to ask that question first. I want to ask why you hate Philadelphia, because you live in New Jersey and could live in Philadelphia, but you don’t? (Editor’s Note: Yes, this is the second time now that he’s asked this question.)
Matt: I was born and raised in New Jersey. I don’t hate Philadelphia; I love Philadelphia. If anything, Philadelphia has caused me to hate Jersey. If anything, eating, drinking and watching sports in Philadelphia makes me hate Jersey.
Mark: Matt, what got you into the beer world?
Matt: I was driving down the street and my transmission started to act up. The first left I could make was into a Canal’s liquor store. I walked in and I needed a job. I left with a job. From there, reps would come, you would make friends with them. You talk with them and build that relationship. Eventually, I met Rich Allen and years later, I work for him. It was just really funny, because I can’t imagine what it would have been like if the first left I could make was into an adult book barn or a Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Mark: Yeah, because you would have been really good at porn.
Matt: I would have been terrible at it. I’m terrible at watching it.
Mark: If your car had a good transmission you could still have been working at FedEx.
Matt: I could have still been working at FedEx if I hadn’t bought a Hyundai.
Mark: Oh, no, no, no, you can’t talk shit on Hyundai.
Matt: I can’t talk shit on Hyundai?
Mark: Everything is positive. Hyundai is a very reputable company.
Mark: Would you rather open a bar, a brewery, or a beer distributor?
Matt: Living above Brew Your Own Bottle for three years, I definitely wanted to be a brewer. I loved the smell in my staircase every day and I learned a lot about the brewing process. I think in this state of the industry right now though, bottle shops and growlers are where it’s at.
A Depeche Mode song comes on at the bar.
Matt: This is a great song. I was jamming out to a little Duran Duran on the way home today.
Mark: I was listening to Smash Mouth the entire way here to get pumped.
Matt: No you didn’t.
Mark: I swear to God. It’s like my favorite band. I love Smash Mouth.
Matt: You know what’s so funny, someone told me the other day that Mark owns a Fastball shirt.
Mark: I do. I like Fastball. Fush Yu Mang, though, is like the album of my life. I’m not being interviewed here, though. What is your favorite band Matt?
Matt: My favorite band? That’s like choosing between children. Almost impossible to choose.
Mark: Apparently Smash Mouth isn’t an appropriate answer for Philly Beer Scene Magazine. Well, you are a big music guy?
Matt: Huge music guy. I guess if I had to list bands that people know, three bands that round out my musical taste, Prince would have to be on there. I do love me some Prince. This is so hard. I should have prepared.
Mark: I love that your panic-stricken choice was Prince.
Matt: Prince is great. Prince is wonderful.
Mark: As of right now, because you can’t think of any other bands that are good, Prince is your number one band choice.
Matt: I’m going to have to go Minus the Bear also. I used to listen to a ton of metal and [I] feel like not shouting out one of those metal bands would be wrong. I’m a huge fan of The Acacia Strain and Between the Buried and Me and they both stuck with me for the last 8 or 9 years. If I could do anybody a public service by at least piquing their interest in music like that…
Mark: …yeah, because everybody that reads this article is going to instantly go download the music from all these bands you just said.
Matt: If I could feel that important for a brief moment, that is what I would like them to take from this article.
Mark: So, what was your first concert experience being you’re such a big music guy?
Matt: I used to work in radio and have been to at least 400 concerts. I was all set to go to this one concert. The year was 2002, which should speak to where my head was at as a 15-year-old kid. I had camped out all night for Korn tickets. I had tickets to go see Korn and I’m ready. I’d actually done my due diligence and my first concert was going to be Korn. I prepared this. I wanted to be able to say in 20 years that my first concert was a concert that I picked. That was a band that I enjoyed at the time, etc., etc… I’m sitting there, minding my own business on a Saturday night and my dad walks in and says, ‘Get your shoes on, we’re going to see Creed.’ To which I responded, ‘No’ with a lot of o’s. Make sure there are a lot of o’s. You don’t understand, this has to be my first concert. Creed can’t be my first concert. Guess what my first concert was? Because father knows best…Creed.
Even the bartender goes on to make fun of Matt for the next 10 minutes or so.
Mark: While we’re still on music, what is your favorite Christmas tune?
Matt: Oh my God. That is a phenomenal question!
Mark: I know, I’m the interviewer of a lifetime.
Matt: My least favorite Christmas song is the Merry Christmas song by The Waitresses.
Matt: It’s the worst. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey might be the best.
Mark: Do you know how old that song is? It’s a 20-year-old song.
Matt: You know what else came out 20 years ago? The Power Rangers.
Mark: Which Power Ranger were you?
Matt: I was always Tommy the Green Ranger.
Mark: Oh man, I was always Billy. They ran out of costumes.
Without even having to think about it, Matt goes on to name all of the actors who portrayed or voiced Power Ranger characters, and then continues to talk about Power Rangers for entirely too long.
Mark: What would you be doing if you weren’t in the beer industry?
Matt: What would I be doing or what would I want to be doing?
Mark: I would probably still be doing damage reports on broken, terrible things people don’t want you to know they’re shipping to their house. I don’t know. I feel like I fit in the beer industry.
Mark: Yeah, well, it wants you gone.
Matt: It wants me gone?
Mark: No, it doesn’t. That was a lie.
Matt: I would love to be a coach. I would love for somebody to do something good one day and it kind of be my fault.
Mark: You would pick someone more talented than yourself and live vicariously through their life.
Matt: Yeah! I think being a coach is one of the best things you can be.
For the third time today, they discuss how they meet each other, but in a new twist, this time it leads to them discussing Zelda video games for twenty minutes. All of which has been cut out from the article.
Mark: Being that we’re at The Wishing Well, if you had one wish, what would you wish for?
Matt: I don’t know if there is one thing I want enough.
Mark: You would just skip over curing cancer and do something stupid.
Matt: It’s going to be something super awful that is a waste of a wish. It’ll be something like I wish guacamole didn’t cost extra. Can I wish for more wishes?
Mark: No, never. To make it easier on you, what is your beer industry, beer scene wish? Take away all of the making your life better, because we don’t want that anyways. What do you want in the beer industry? What is your beer wish?
Matt; I would like for the seasonal calendar to reset. I don’t want to sell pumpkin beer in July anymore. I want to sell winter beer in the winter. Spring is not January 21st. I want the seasons to come back. That was a great question, Mark. Either that, or for Pokémon to be real.
Mark: Ok, so, you’re going to battle the elite force (four) of beer. Which six Poké-beers are you bringing with you? Six beers that you sell and you have to describe them by Pokémon type.
Matt: Oatmeal Stout is definitely a dark-type. Limbo would be ghost. Overgrown would be a leaf-type. Citra Mantra would be psychic type. Double Bag because the double cow on the label looks like a Pokémon.
Mark: It does. It looks like Miltank who is dick. We’re thinking way too hard on a question that they’re definitely not going to publish.
After finishing up brunch, the interview moves to American Sardine Bar. The conversation in the car is once again about Christmas songs.
Mark: Oh man, I want to ask Matt who his celebrity crush is?
Matt: That’s going to be a long list.
Mark: Mine’s Rachael Ray.
Matt: I don’t know, Sally Field is a big one for me. Have you guys ever heard of that girl Judy Sheindlin?
Mark: Judge Judy?
Matt: I just love a woman who knows how to properly judge people. The payment is always $5,000. I feel like if I were able to live in a life that dealt with increments of $5,000 or more, I would be super pumped. The answer to the Christmas question though is definitely All I Want for Christmas is You. The cover though is a fun memory for me when I was on the radio. So,
Mark, if I were to play All I Want for Christmas is You on the radio right now, would it be Christmas season?
Mark: I’ve been listening to Christmas music since the drive home from Halloween.
Matt: How many peppermint lattes have you had?
Mark: I’ve only had one Caramel Brulée. That’s my Starbucks Christmas drink. I’m just a basic bitch. What do you want for Christmas? Is it a playoff berth for your Jacksonville Jaguars?
Once at American Sardine Bar, the interview mostly just turns to them discussing superheroes and singing Katy Perry songs for the bar, which sadly can’t be put in a magazine, so you’ll just have to ask them to sing for you if you see them.