Story at a glance

  • Devils Backbone is a brewing company based out of Nelson County, Va.
  • The brewery has hired its first Chief Hiking Officer, a temporary position intended to highlight the outdoors as part of the brand’s environmental initiatives.
  • The CHO is planning to traverse thousands of miles of trails up and down the East Coast.

The sudden switch to remote working during the coronavirus pandemic has lent itself to travel — even if the state of the world does not — and the Chief Hiking Officer (CHO) for Devils Backbone is making the most of it. 


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Chosen from a pool of more than a 1,000 applicants, the CHO has already been on the road for six weeks, hiking the hundreds of miles of trails along the East Coast, although time is running out — the position only lasts for six months. 

“The big thing that appealed to me was getting to spend more time at my own roots. I’ve always wanted to thru-hike the [Appalachian Trail] and I thought why not do it in 2021, this year would be the perfect year to do that,” Virginia-native Kristen Musselman told the Nelson County Times


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Devils Backbone Brewing Company, named for a region of the Alps where the founders first tried craft beer, is sponsoring her trip, which Musselman is broadcasting through the company's social media channels. Through their Heartland Initiative, the company is investing in the environment through donations, volunteer work and sustainable initiatives — including championing the great outdoors. 

“We really wanted to try and export that experience that we had watching people take on this adventure and transform and be able to make that more accessible to more people and share that adventure with a wider audience,” Hayes Humphries, COO of Devils Backbone, told the Daily Progress.

Along the way, Musselman is sharing tips, tricks and valuable lessons on safe and responsible outdoor living. 

“Some of my big-picture goals is how can we get more people outside to access benefits of the outdoors and how can we talk about how spending time outside really benefits our own mental health and well being,” she told the Daily Progress. 


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Published on May 04, 2021