The Cicerone Certification Program, the world’s top certification program for beer servers and other industry professionals yesterday announced the creation of a new advanced level course for those looking to further their knowledge on beer flavors, styles and service.
In an effort to help bridge the gap between Certified Cicerones — individuals with a deep understanding of styles and service — and Master Cicerones — experts who possess encyclopedic knowledge on beer and have a highly refined tasting ability — The Cicerone Certification Program created a fourth certification for those on their way to achieving the Master title.
Beginning in 2016, those who have passed the second leg of the program to become Certified Cicerones and are looking to continue their education will now study to become an ‘Advanced Cicerone.’ Only after passing the Advanced Cicerone exam will individuals become eligible to take the Master Cicerone test, the company said.
The extra level of certification is being implemented to shorten the knowledge and skill gap between the middle achievement and ultimate Master accomplishment, said Ray Daniels, the program’s founder and director.
“While we have seen tremendous demand for the Master Cicerone exam, the additional degree of knowledge and skill required to pass is too great for the vast majority of candidates to achieve,” he said. “The new exam level gives serious beer professionals recognition for additional learning and skill development beyond the Certified Cicerone level.”
Since its launch in January of 2008, the program has grown in popularity as brewers, distributors, and retailers alike look to better educate themselves on an ever-expanding range of beer styles, flavors and best practices.
To that end, more than 33,000 people have completed the first leg of the program to become a ‘Certified Beer Server,’ and more than 1,100 have gone on to become Certified Cicerones. Only 10 people in the world — including BrewDog co-founder James Watt, The Bruery founder Patrick Rue and Duvel USA’s Neil Witte — have achieved the title of Master Cicerone. In the past two years, t only three have passed the Master Cicerone exam out of 46 attempts, the company said.
Rue said the new level should benefit future test takers by alleviating the workload between levels.
“I would have appreciated having a level between Certified and Master,” he said. “It is such a huge step up that I think it needs to be divided.”
Rue had to take the Master exam twice, he said, studying the second time around for 20 hours a week over nine months.
The actual act of taking the test is expected to get a bit easier, too, the company said. While the Master exam is given only once or twice annually in Chicago – and has, of late, employed a lottery system for signups – the Advanced test will be conducted in different cities around the U.S. six or more times per year.