Heavy Hops Ep. 087: The Taste of a Tastemaker (Jerald O’Kennard/Beverage Testing Institute)

Joining me this week is Jerald O’Kennard, Director of the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. BTI’s independent reviews of beer, wine and spirits are highly influential internally within the bev-alc industry and with consumers. Pappy Van Winkle received a considerable boost to its brand recognition in 1997 when BTI awarded it a 99/100, the highest awarded score at that time. 

In an era where social media and democratized ratings platforms influence portfolio decisions for makers, wholesalers and retailers, the work that BTI does carries significant weight. Jerald and I dive into what makes a good sensory or review panel and how evolving style categories are accounted for in these contexts. How are pleasant “off flavors” assessed in an objective environment? BTI’s approach of taking the perspective of the end user leads us to the topic of convergence between Ready to Drink (RTD) and Flavored Malt Beverage (FMB) canned cocktails.

Find Jerald O’Kennard:
Beverage Testing Institute

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Episode Art and HH Logo By: Bryn Gleason

Audio editing, mix and mastering: Esben Willems/Studio Berserk

Music by: Sam Cangelosi

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