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We Love To Learn and We Love To Teach!

On going training is important to this team and we take pride in our staff being the best educated in the field. Currently our Sales, Brand and Marketing teams collectively make up 75+ CICERONE Certified Beer Servers, 8 Certified Specialists Of Wine, & 6 WSET Certified wine professionals with full time beer, cider and wine trainers on staff. Meet our two educators and look out for them on numerous segments and blogs spreading the knowledge.

Donald Macdonald

Southern Wine Manager

I am a Graduate of New England Culinary Institute with both an AOS in culinary arts and a degree in Food & Beverage Management. I have worked at a number of restaurants/resorts over my 14 year career in F&B from being a line cook at The Hilton at Short Hills, to a Sous Chef at The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, and also with Sugarbush Ski Resort as the Food and Beverage Manager. I have been with Farrell Distributing for over eleven years and am currently a Area Sales Manager, Brand Manager, & Wine Educator for the company. I have also had the opportunity to do many TV spots as a wine personality for Farrell's teaching about wine regions, styles, & pairings for both channel 3 WCAX , Local 22/ Local 44 news and New England Cooks. I have completed level 3 WSET and will be completing the level 4 Diploma program this fall. I have also completed the certified specialist of wine program with the society of wine educators and am Cicerone Certified. I have also been directly involved in several charity events such as the Travis Roy Foundation Wine Event which is in its 8th year and I have also been on the Board for Stowe Wine & Food Festival for the past 3 years. I try to break my training down into a few components for retail partners, my team and the consumers. 

Component 1


Staff Training at Company meeting nights SB & Rutland

Focusing on Product Based Seminars

Meet with Product managers monthly to set priorities

Develop training curriculum focusing on current and new wines

Teaching taste profiles, history of brands, selling points/competitive products

Utilizing tastings, tech sheets, videos, and monthly sales book

Component 2

Personalized Employee Education Plan

Team Assessment meeting and test

Meet with Team to discuss educational needs

Develop a test that sets the benchmark and can be used as an assessment tool to track progress over time

Develop a training schedule for each team which lays out a timeline for training goals to be accomplished

Create a tracking sheet per team

Higher Level Training for Specific Individuals

Coordinate and set budget for continued training

WSET, French Wine Society, CSW, MS, MW

Jeff Baker

Beer & Cider Education & Training Manager " Curator Of The Curriculum"

Over the last ten years, I’ve traveled far and wide, scouring the country for the best craft beers and the finest wines. I’ve worked my way up the East Coast from my home state of Florida, through a stint in Boston, to making Vermont my home. I started my career with ABC Fine Wines & Spirits in Sarasota, Florida, worked for two years with The Wine Gallery Group in the Boston area, as the Assistant Wine Buyer and Craft Beer Buyer for Beverage Warehouse (Winooski, VT) and most recently as the "Director of Fluid Assets" for The Farmhouse Tap & Grill (Burlington, VT). At The Farmhouse my role focused on educating our staff on all things craft - beer, cider & wine - so that they could educate our guests in a relaxed and casual way. I hold level 2 certificates from both The Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center at Boston University and the International Sommelier Guild, I am certified by the Center for Wine Origins as a Wine Location Specialist for Port & Champagne and am a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. I write a bi-weekly beer column for the Burlington Free Press and and host a weekly beer podcast called "It's The Beer Talking" in collaboration with Free Press Media.  My path into, and through, fine wine and craft beer & cider has always been driven by my love of knowledge. In vino veritas. I enjoy learning and I revel in the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with others. 

 A few components I focus on for our retail partners, the Farrell team, and our thirsty consumers are below.

Beer 101:

A solid understating of the fundamentals of brewing sets the base for all future trainings. It is crucial that our staff is familiar with all aspects of brewing including terms, techniques, equipment and processes.

Style Trainings:

We dive deep into specific beer styles to enrich our staff's knowledge of our portfolio. Trainings have included Belgian beer styles, Gluten-Free beers, Oktoberfest Märzen Lagers, Brown Ales and more. We coordinate these beer style trainings with focus months to extend our learning with our accounts. Collateral and training materials are provided to our salespeople to distribute to buyers.

Beer & Food Pairing: 

Adding layers onto the trainings can help stretch the mind into thinking about different aspects of a beer and provide insight into selling techniques. Beer pairing exercises encourage staff members to think critically about a beer and analyze it's features and components. When a pairing is successful, it creates a lasting memory and a positive bond with that specific beer, as well as motivating one to seek out new pairing opportunities.


Check These Two Out in Action!


Holiday Sparkling Wines

Halloween Wines

Bordeaux Wines 

Wine Down Wednesday 

New England Cooks 


Wine Down Wednesday 

Wine Down Wednesday 

Wine Down Wednesday 

Wine Down Wednesday


Thanksgiving Pairings 

Check out Jeff on Taste of the season

Check out Jeff on "What's on Tap" 

It's The Beer Talking 

What's on Tap

What's on Tap 

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