In February, the US-based Cicerone Certification Program is launching a version of its materials fully adapted to the Canadian market. The new version makes it easier for Canadians who sell and serve beer for a living to join the ranks of more than 30,000 individuals who have earned the respected Cicerone credentials.
While Canadians have been participating in the Cicerone program at all levels since it was launched in January of 2008, the Cicerone organization has adapted the program to the Canadian market based on input from Canadian brewers, bar owners and educators. Changes affect both the syllabi and exams for the first two levels of the program: Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone. Changes from the US versions include things like drinking age, alcohol distribution and some aspects of beer style descriptions.
“People who live in nearly a dozen countries have earned Cicerone credentials, but the extensive participation in Canada led us to make it our first official international program,” says Ray Daniels, Cicerone Certification Program’s founder and director. “Toronto beer expert and Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato has been instrumental in helping us adapt the program.”
As Canada’s second Certified Cicerone (certified in 2009) the founder of BetterBeer.com, Steve Riley has found participating in the program lends more credibility to his business. “Having a career in the beer industry, I found the accreditation extremely valuable as it has given me credibility as someone who understands beer,” Riley says. “As the certification is difficult to obtain, it also proves that graduates have made the commitment to improving their beer education.”
At Toronto’s craft beer-focused bar WVRST, beverage manager Pat Thomson requires the bar staff to attain Certified Beer Server certification within three months of hire. “As a modernized beer hall specializing in craft beer, it's paramount that our staff not only enjoy beer, but truly understand it as well,” Thomson says “The comprehensive Certified Beer Server Syllabus has given our staff the tools and information they need to become knowledgeable and confident beer servers.”
Canada-specific syllabi for the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone exams are now available on the Canadian pages of the website. To see them, go to http://cicerone.org/ca/canada.
The new syllabi will be used for all Canadian Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone exams starting on March 1, 2014. Exams prior to that date will still be based on the US syllabus.