Our Panelists
Tastings Panelist - Jerald O'Kennard
Jerald O'Kennard
Beverage Testing Institute
President
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Jerald has enjoyed over a decade of food and beverage management and event management experience. He first worked with BevTest as a panelist, quickly joining the team in 2000 to launch e-commerce development and database management. He brings his influence in both fine arts and business to a robust model of organization and creative direction at Tastings.

He is a contributing writer for several news publications and often consulted and interviewed for NY Times, Business 2.0, Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal and Reuters. He loves to travel and learn from wine, spirits and beer producers around the world. In what little spare time he has, he is developing our interactive video series, composing music and recording albums for movie soundtracks. His passion for life revolves around the "Three C's" of culture, cuisine and celebrations.

New 2020

Jerald is one of the world’s leading authorities in the drinks space who, over the course of his 20 years as director of BevTest, has professionally reviewed and analyzed over 75,000 wines, beers, and spirits and trained hundreds of hospitality and drinks professionals in the science and art of critical liquid evaluation and sensory analysis. Leveraging his deep knowledge and vast experience, he collaborates with beverage brands of all sizes seeking to create great products and winning marketing and sales strategies. Over the past two decades, Jerald has worked closely with the world’s most-admired beverage brands and holding companies, including Diageo, Pernod-Ricard, Beam-Suntory, PepsiCo, Heineken, Starbucks, Bacardi, Campari, MillerCoors, Brown-Forman, and the Boston Beer Company.
Frequently sought out for his expertise and analysis, Jerald has contributed and provided articles, insights, and critiques to media that include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNBC, The Chicago Tribune, All About Beer, The New Yorker, BBC, and Restaurant Hospitality, and many others.
A graduate of the University of Chicago with a BA in Economics and post-graduate work in the arts, Jerald has amassed certifications and honors that include being valedictorian of his class at The Chicago Wine School, a Certified Sensory Specialist by The Siebel Institute of Technology, Pilsner Urquell’s Beer Connoisseur #2 (the late, great drinks author and BevTest panelist Michael Jackson being #1), and an appointment as ‘Cavaleiro’ by the Confraria do Vinho do Porto—an honorary Portuguese Knighthood for his service in the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of Port wines.
For more about Jerald follow him on Twitter @ThirstyforLife or visit his website at bevtest.com.