To help give credibility to beer professionals around the world, Ray Daniels, a veteran of the U.S. beer industry and president of the Craft Beer Institute, created the Cicerone Certification Program. Now in its second year, the program offers certification at three levels: Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone and Master Cicerone.
Each level of certification has prerequisites for enrolling, and candidates are required to take exams that demonstrate their beer knowledge, from service to storage to style. The final level of certification, Master Cicerone, is the equivalent of the wine world’s Master Sommelier.
Approximately 400 people have earned Certified Beer Server or Certified Cicerone titles, according to the program’s web site (www.cicerone.org).
The goal of the program is to make sure “consumers receive the best possible beer and enjoy its flavors to the greatest extent possible,” according to the web site. To do this, the program insists beer servers have expertise in the following crucial areas: beer storage, sales and service, styles and culture, tasting and flavors, brewing ingredients and processes, and pairing beer with food.
The web site includes areas for aspiring cicerones to set goals, check out the syllabus for the Certified Cicerone and Master Cicerone exams, find a nearby review course or exam and see the names of supporters and fellow certified individuals.
Upcoming exam dates are:
- June 14: Chicago, location to be announced
- June 20: San Francisco, Oakland Marriott
- July 24: Ann Arbor, Mich., location TBA
- Sept. 25 - 26: Denver (During Great American Beer Festival), location TBA
- Oct. 23: Orlando, Fla., Beer Industry of Florida Conference
- Jan. 7-9, 2010: Vail, Colo., during the Big Beers and Barleywines Festival, details TBA