Meet the Maker: Scott Kerner, Experience Maker

Meet the Maker: Scott Kerner, Experience Maker

“Taking people's money is the worst part of the job,” says Scott Kerner. “It's a necessary part of doing business. But I'm not doing it for that. I do it because I really, thoroughly enjoy serving people and watching people's happiness through what we're trying to do. That's what makes you rich, right? It's not the money that makes you rich.”

Kerner—just on the easier side of fifty, fit, sporting an impressive, gray-streaked beard and charismatic energy—is the owner of Good Measure Pub & Brewery, in downtown Northfield. And what does he make? Beer? Burgers? Coffee?

“I'm an experience maker,” he says. “That’s to me, my favorite part about what we’ve done, what we're still doing, or what we will do. It’s just, create the experience for the consumer, create a place that has strong ties to community. That has that ‘come through the front door and really be served properly’ vibe. Come through the front door, forget about what happened out there. Be able to come in and kind of release and relax...”

Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Kerner began his journey to Vermont at Goddard College in the 1990’s. After graduation he moved out to Portland, Oregon, and began a life of working in the food industry. Before long, he realized he couldn’t shake his East Coastedness, and so he moved back to Central Vermont.

“I found that central Vermont had everything that I wanted,” he says, “which was an idyllic lifestyle, a real lifestyle, coupled with the fact that I can be in Montreal in two hours and in Boston in three hours and in Portland, Maine in two hours.”

He became one of the founders, in 2009, of Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom, and later of the Mule Bar in Winooski, Mad Taco in Waitsfield, and both Carrier Coffee Roasters and Good Measure Brewing in Northfield. But after the pandemic and some soul-searching, he began to shed some of the businesses to focus on those closest to his adopted home in Northfield (where his wife Erin was born and raised).

“I'm the soapbox kid,” he says. “I'm like, everywhere we go, we're just telling people, Northfield, Northfield, Northfield, Northfield, you got to come see what we got. Mountain biking trails, skiing trails, college sports, really, really high-level sports that are right here. And football games are four or five bucks to get into. The rugby games are free. The women's hockey is free. The men's hockey is like a $9 ticket. So inherently it's an oasis.”

Inside that oasis, he opened up Good Measure Brewing (2017) and Carrier Coffee Company (2019), which shared a space offering both a tasting room and coffee shop. “It was like people were able to walk in and it was red pill, blue pill, or if you and your friend, one of you don't drink, they can get a coffee and you get a beer.”

Then, in 2021, after Kerner sold off his stake in Three Penny, he found that he missed having a restaurant. So when the building next door to Good Measure’s tasting room came up for sale, Kerner jumped. The tasting room morphed into a brew pub.

A brew pub, Kerner says, “is a great way for you to showcase what you do in a pub atmosphere because you're getting more attention. But it's also financially a good, stable way of running a restaurant in uncertain times because you're creating the product that you're selling instead of buying the product and selling it. So your margins are different. Your margins stretch a little bit. That gives you the opportunity to price things differently or hire more staff. It gives you that kind of stability, which is huge, obviously, in our industry.”

And, as a veteran in the food world, Kerner is particular about how he runs his restaurant. His mantra, he said, is “light and tight.”

“The light part is, we want you to have fun,” he says. “I want you to be able to never come to work bummed that you're coming to work. Right? Because I've been there. We've all been there, man… I want you to walk through the front door and be like, all right, I'm here. I'm happy. And then you protrude that happiness. And then the tight part is just being the best you can be while we're here. We're going to teach you and train you how to do it. We're going to give you the foundation on which to build. You put your own flare, your own pizazz in it. We're not training robots, we're training people… The light and tight is just something that, if everybody buys into it, it becomes a real moving machine.”

And that, Kerner says, is only the beginning. “I know everybody here,” he continues. “I know their loved ones. I know what their aspirations are because I ask, and I honestly care about that. It's not just like ‘Oh, what are you doing? How's your mom?’ It's like, no, it's real. And we have hard talks here. We have hard talks because I believe that this industry is very cancerous sometimes, and it's something that we're ultra-aware of… So let's just nip it and make sure that everybody who walks in here as a new employee gets that same talk. It's light and tight. We don't put up with pettiness and cattiness, and you are family, and not all families are easy to live in, but we do, and we love each other and that's a very important thing to me.”

All of that is integral to the experience – reflecting on the community, on the customers.

“Why do people come here?” he asks rhetorically. “Why do they come back? Is the food priced where they feel comfortable coming back? Do they have a good experience? Because to me, as you get older, it's like you work your butt off for money. You work hard for your money. The last thing you want to do is come in, have a grumpy server, and have bad food, and just have a general waste of time and money, and that's the worst… We tell our staff, ‘you could be serving peanut butter and jelly and milk. If you're doing your job, you're going to have people that keep coming back for it.’ And so we've been blessed to have the opportunity to do that here in Northfield.”

And, drawing on his serial experience in the food space, Kerner works hard to build a community around Good Measure’s space. They do fun, special events (like Mullet Fest, October Fest, and Riser Fest – to celebrate their beloved Cream Ale), and have also recently branched into running concessions for Norwich sporting events.

“I think this community is just like any other community in Vermont,” Kerner reflects. “They just rally. They rally around a thought and a business, and they try to give you their business, which is really great.”

The Vermont Maker Project

Telling stories about makers across the state of Vermont. Photographed and written by StoryWorkz. Learn more at

Vermont makers wear Vermont Flannel. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment