Beer Chief Soaks up First Year

If his brother's first batch of home-brewed beer turned out better, maybe Scott Kerkmans wouldn't be the first chief beer officer at Four Points by Sheraton.

Instead, Kerkmans got the once-used beer-making kit for his 21st birthday and he's had something brewing ever since. Kerkmans was tapped as the CBO in March, and his first year on the job has left him very hoppy, and happy.

His job, in essence, isn't just to serve Four Points guests a beer, but instead a complete experience.

“Each hotel has a beer ambassador,” Kerkmans says. “I can't be at every hotel all the time, so we put together a training program to make sure someone can suggest the right beer and give them something more than just an average beer-drinking experience.”

Each Four Points location offers different beers through its Best Brews program, with plenty of local flavor. Kerkmans says about half the beers are local and regional and the rest are national or imported.

“It gives the traveler the ability to experience good beers without having to travel to find it,” Kerkmans says. “They can find great local beers in one place.”

When Kerkmans isn't working on beer menus or training programs, he's traveling and spreading the word about his passion and the Four Points program. He spent a week in Germany for Oktoberfest and hosts happy hours at different Four Points around the country. In September he started a blog, www.fourpoints.com/beer, that tells of his travels and beer-drinking travails.

“The guests and beer community response have been so outstanding that we've really been able to say it's been a success,” Kerkmans says of the job. “It's been a huge benefit to Four Points — the beer industry and the guests supporting this shows how important this program is and can become.”

Kerkmans has high hopes for his new position.

“I've got a lot of great ideas,” he says. “Looking ahead, there are a lot of fun things we can do. I want to keep getting people excited about beer.”

Kerkmans isn't sure where the job will take him next, but he'll probably handle it like everything else.

He'll just drink it up.

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