If you’re serious (extremely serious) about hiking, beer, and social media, this could be your dream gig.

By Mike Pomranz
June 08, 2020
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Looking for a job where you can get away from it all and drink beer in the process? Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Company has announced what may be the position of your dreams. The Anheuser-Busch-owned brewery is hiring a single “Chief Hiking Officer” who will be paid to hike the Appalachian Trail across 14 states for half of 2021 and, of course, consume beer along the way.

“Devils Backbone is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just a few miles from the Appalachian Trail, so we can get our fill of fresh air any time. But folks always tell us how they wish they had the time to trek the AT from Georgia to Maine. So, why couldn’t we sponsor one lucky hiker and help them check ‘conquer the AT’ off their bucket list?” the brand writes. “Well, that’s what we’re doing! This spring we’re accepting applications for our 2021 Chief Hiking Officer. That’s right: we’re going to pay someone to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2021. We’ll outfit our CHO with gear, fly ‘em to the trailhead, and throw some big ol’ beer parties along the way. Plus, there’s a $20k stipend.”

Like many of these promotions, applying to be CHO is technically a “contest”—with its own set of official rules—but as those rules explain, the final hiker won’t be chosen at random. Quite the opposite, candidates will slowly be narrowed down during a four-phase selection process to assure that whoever lands the gig is highly qualified.

Devils Backbone

“You’ve gotta love hiking and beer. We mean really love it. We’re talking 2,200 miles, camping under the stars, pack-in-pack-out for 5-7 months love it,” Devils Backbone states. Later, they add, “Since this is one of the toughest survival experiences of all time, we wouldn’t feel right sending just anyone out there to give it the ol’ college try. Make sure your entry summarizes your hiking and adventure experience.”

You also have to love social media—as in shooting your own content and getting people to like and share it. The CHO application requires a link to an Instagram handle or blog and a maximum 60-second video submission explaining “your story and why you’re so passionate about hiking the AT in 2021.”

From there, even if you are chosen as a semi-finalist, there’s still an “assignment” and a final interview before the CHO is selected. Certainly, for casual beer and nature enthusiasts, the strict selection process takes a bit of the fun out of applying, but the good news is that if you’ve genuinely been killing it at hiking, influencing, and drinking beer, you could have a real shot at landing this paid opportunity.

“People have been visiting our Basecamp Brewpub for over a decade to sit outside, take in the view, and enjoy a refreshing beverage—and some of those guests physically hike in,” said Hayes Humphreys, Chief Operating Officer at Devils Backbone. “We’re located just off the Appalachian Trail at mile marker 842 and since opening, we’ve hosted thru hikers who want to rest and recharge on their zero day. These folks really understand how life-altering it is to slow down and take in what’s going on around you. They’re the ones who inspired our Chief Hiking Officer position.”

Submissions are being accepted from today until July 31. However, bad news if you don’t already live near the Appalachian Trail: Applications are only being accepted from drinking-aged residents of DC, DE, GA, IN, KY, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, and WV.

Once it’s all said and done, a single grand prize winner will receive a six-month paid “Chief Hiker Officer” independent contractor position at Devils Backbone Brewing Company kicking off on March 1, 2021. If you’re interested in applying, find the official rules and more information here.