If you’ve had a Victory beer at a craft beer event in the Philadelphia area in the last five years, chances are it was poured by Victory’s Mid-Atlantic/East Coast Regional Sales Manager, Pete Danford. We recently had the pleasure of meeting up with the leader of the local Victory sales team for a bite and brew (or two) at Alla Spina to find out who Pete Danford really is.
How did you get into the beer business?
After growing up in Toledo, OH and going to college there, my girlfriend/now wife Amy moved to NYC. She went to grad school, I started selling Bud Light to bodegas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as it was just getting “hipster” in 2000. Got married then left NYC a few years later, back to Ohio, Cincinnati in fact. I then joined Miller Brewing Company learning a lot about how a multinational brewery works. Great experience but really wasn’t for me. I got laid off then Victory popped up on my radar in 2007.
How did you convince your wife, who was 36 weeks pregnant, to move to New Jersey?
Yeah that was ugly. She had to sell and pack our house, have our first child and move our life. I started my new position covering NY/NJ while living in hotels and blow-up mattresses. I did make it home for the birth of Liam but then left two days later. Amy joined me on the East Coast when Liam was four weeks old. I remember driving her home from the airport to our new digs in Cherry Hill. She started to cry and asked where I was taking her as we drove down Route 70. That stretch of 70 with all the old strip malls and things isn’t exactly the most picturesque scenery to someone who likes more charm. She had no job, no friends, we had one car and an apartment in Cherry Hill that looked like a hotel. But I worked for Victory, and that was a giant positive. Looking back, we laugh, but it was a big life change.
It’s safe to say at this point, you’ve had a beer in just about every conceivable bar and restaurant in the area. What is the most underrated craft beer bar in Philly right now?
Station Taproom in Downingtown is doing great things. In the city, I’d have to say Zavino on 13th and Sansom. It’s a hidden gem considering the heavy hitters in that neighborhood. Food is very good, small place but great fresh air vibe, the beer list is small but effective and you get in and out of there without breaking your wallet in half.
There are tons of great craft beer events in Philly. Which one is your favorite?
Brewer’s Plate. I look forward to it every year. The food is amazing, the beers are great, and it’s not overly crowded. Love that event.
Speaking of food, your favorite restaurant right now?
Depends on the situation really. Go-to spot with friends is Standard Tap or Memphis Taproom. If my family is in town, we’ll hit Percy Street BBQ or Earth Bread and Brewery. If it’s just the wife and me, we hit Zahav or Osteria. Love Philly for the fact there are so many options depending on the situation.
If you were chosen to be the subject of a reality show based on the life and times of a craft beer rep, what would it be called?
HA! P.Diddy’s Playhouse!