Eric Zorko // Packaging Associate and Master of Greenery

Every chord is only as good as the notes that make it– same here at Team SingleCut. Let’s check in with one of our incredible staff, Packaging Associate and Master of Greenery- Eric Zorko. Eric, or more commonly and affectionately known as “Mr. Zorko”, has been at SingleCut North since 2021, a beaming light of optimism, teamwork, and a genuinely good dude to have a beer with. Eric keeps a keen eye on your cans and kegs, making sure they taste just as good when you have your pint as they did right out of the tank, and is also the person behind all the beautiful plant life you see around the SingleCut North Tap Room and Beer Lawn. The man has a seriously green thumb, and is kind enough to share it with all of us. Let’s hear it from Mr. Zorko himself- 

What landed you at Team Singlecut?

I was just burnt out in my previous career, and looking for a better balance, a focus on passion, and having some physical work. Before brewing I was in occupational therapy- I miss it, but honestly this is so much better and I’m so much happier. I like helping other people, it gives me energy, I love meeting new people and serving people- there’s some crossover in this field too. It’s still a social job and somewhere down the chain, I’m still helping people relax and heal- this time with a couple beers and some friends. My father always wanted to be a waiter, his whole life, but he wasn’t able to choose that career path as he was raised in the former Yugoslavia- I’m really grateful I get the opportunity to work with people, kind of in the way he always wanted.

Currently I work as a Packaging Operator, I handle the filling and care of kegs, getting them ready to ship out across the country, and help with canning operation- a constant game of moving fast while being really diligent and focusing on the quality of the sealing. The less oxygen we can get in the cans, the better the beer will be, so we’re obsessive on making sure we get the best cans off the line. The biggest job we do here: cleaning, there’s SO much cleaning involved. It’s similar to a hospital in that way- it’s extremely vital.

Where you from?

I’m a native to the Capital Region, Castleton-On-Hudson, to be specific. My mother is a native NYer from the start, but like I said, my dad came over from the former Yugoslavia and was ethnically Croatian- he was in the leather industry, doing tanning and working on the chemistry side and decided to come to the states just for adventure, and never went back. I get to carry some of those traditions with me.

Tell us about your passion for botany, landscaping, and plant life:

I guess it came from my Dad, I spent so much time just watching him relax out in the garden, tending to the plants. It lets me be creative, zen out, and create comfortable spaces for people. It’s about making little sanctuaries for people to relax in, get comfortable, and have a space just to let go. That’s something that a garden provides, and it’s a great way for me to remember my Dad- he loved coming here and having a few beers. “Eric” was his favorite beer, not just because of the name! Gardens are meant to bring comfort and I think what we do here is a great extension of that to our customers. Our very young hop bine program has been a big passion of mine and Alex Fredell (brewer at SC North)- it would be such a dream to maybe use those little cones in the future.

What was your favorite album your freshman year of high school?

That’s probably going to be “James Brown- Live at the Apollo”. I love funk and always have, and “The Godfather” is just the best of the best- maybe the founder of funk and hip hop. I still track back to this classic. Maybe he wasn’t the greatest guy outside of music, but another reminder to never meet your heroes. I was big into the Chili Peppers too- not quite the same band these days, but still fond memories.

What was the album you listened to most last year- do you think that 15yo Zorko would have approved?

It’s so organic here at SingleCut- we’re mixing music on the floor all the time, making joint playlists and sharing our new finds and passions. This year I was super into Big Theif’s “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You”, a real SingleCut favorite. This Brooklyn band put out just a masterclass in songwritng- but 15yo me would probably say it was a little too “active listening” and needed “a whole lot more bass”. Not everything’s going to be funky, but it can be great.

What’s in your headphones when you’re out in the garden?

I’m actually not a music listener when I’m out in the garden or landscaping- I like to just enjoy the quiet and listen to nature. I could see throwing on some traditional Croatian music, maybe. Lots of ballads and strong emotions. I’m not a streaming person either, I’m actually still rocking the CD system at home. Not quite vinyl, but it’s that same thing of putting on a CD and just sitting down and taking it all in.

It’s road trip time: what snacks are waiting for you in the car and what are you looking forward to eating on the road?

I’m a “pack and pedal to the metal” kind of guy, get the car loaded and hit it. I’d fight a man for Jax Cheddar Cheese Curls. I think they’re from Pennsylvania, down in that “snack corridor” in the Lehigh Valley- you got Utz, and Snyders, all the best snacks coming from there. I’m always going to stop for some Jax.

I’m not a huge food traveler, but I’ll go out of my way for a great bagel: Everything, light toasted, plain cream cheese and some lox. I’m looking for a slather of cream cheese, a few steps up from a schmear.

What’s your desert island beer (not from SingleCut and not your own homebrew)

Well with no rules, I’d go with SingleCut Frequency, but playing the game… It’s gonna have to be light and crushable. I’m gonna go with Karlovacko- a super crushable lager from Croatia. It was my dad’s favorite beer, a great Euro lager. So much of Frequency reminds me of it- but a bit better. I love a good lawn mowing beer, that’s always been my favorite.