Spirit Cruises Summer 2019 Leaderboard

Cicerone's Ray Daniels Talks 10,000 Certified Beer Servers & the Craft Beer Boom

by The Drink Nation on Feb 17, 2012 in Beer
Cicerone's Ray Daniels Talks 10,000 Certified Beer Servers & the Craft Beer Boom

American craft beer is enjoying a big boom, and this week brought a new milestone. On February 14, the 10,000th person passed the Cicerone organization’s Certified Beer Server test. This is a huge number that reflects the current craft beer fascination; during the program’s first year, in 2008, less than one person per day received a Beer Server certificate, and the 1,000 mark was achieved less than two years ago in March of 2010.

Director Ray Daniels, an industry veteran and pioneer, attributes the latest bloom to a simple notion. “Craft beer’s time has come,” he tells us, noting that everything necessary for this explosion has been in place for some time.

In the early ‘90s, when Daniels toyed around with opening his own brewery and then instead founded Chicago’s Real Ale Festival, there was a similar spurt in microbreweries. Because so few commercial small-batch operations existed, each new company joining the fray increased available craft beer offerings by a huge percentage, and the nascent industry enjoyed a heady rush of attention and publicity.

Distribution, however, was another matter, as the big beer conglomerates had control of the three-tier system. The artisan producers had difficulty getting their product in front of consumers. When the economy went south in 1997, many of these start-ups folded, leaving a few stalwarts that dug in and staked their claim.

Over the next decade, these hardy breweries lobbied, leveraged and learned how to work with the system, and began to flourish again. Thanks in good part to the internet, “there was a general transition in consumer marketing from the 20th Century technique of packaged goods and mass consistency to the 21st Century method of personal relationships and product differentiation,” notes Daniels.

New styles and types of beer were being introduced constantly, and in 2008 Daniels founded Cicerone as a way to provide actual certification for what had colloquially become known as “beer sommeliers.” Aficionados can take three levels of tests, to become a Certified Beer Server, a Certified Cicerone or a Master Cicerone.

Out of a total of 23 all-time candidates, only four have achieved the level of Master, and approximately 350 hold the Certified Cicerone title. Some companies, such as Chicago’s Windy City Distribution, require their reps to become Certified Cicerones. Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing offers employees a one-time $3,500 bonus if they pass the test, according to Daniels.

While those certification programs are quite in-depth, becoming a Certified Beer Server is relatively simple. A detailed syllabus describes the knowledge required to pass (a grade of 75% is needed), covering beer styles, storage, serving and the basic brewing process. Usually a $69 expense, Daniels offered the test for just $10 on February 15, in celebration of the 10,000 milestone, and saw over 500 people pass, his biggest day ever.

Daniels doesn’t expect to see a slowdown any time soon. “This time around, the growth is sustainable,” he says. “I’m of the school that thinks craft beer is here to stay.”

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Local Winery Spotlight: Vox Vineti Wines

Local Winery Spotlight: Vox Vineti Wines

Ed Lazzerini says his goal is clear - to make world class wine in Pennsylvania. From the taste of it, he is well on his way. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 21, 2020
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
The History of The Boulevardier Cocktail - and How You Can Make it at Home

The History of The Boulevardier Cocktail - and How You Can Make it at Home

In this history segment, we take a closer look at a classic cocktail: The Boulevardier....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 2, 2020
SPONSORED
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
PA Voter Project Seeks to Pay Unemployed Restaurant Workers to Work Election Polls

PA Voter Project Seeks to Pay Unemployed Restaurant Workers to Work Election Polls

Power the Polls PA is looking for unemployed restaurant workers to work the polls and will pay for their time....read more ›

by Drink Philly Sep 16, 2020
You Can Now Get Cocktails To-Go in Center City Philadelphia

You Can Now Get Cocktails To-Go in Center City Philadelphia

Restaurants throughout the Center City limits are offering pre-made cocktails in special take out containers...read more ›

by Drink Philly Jul 18, 2020
Cocktails to Go in Bars & Restaurants Legalized in PA During Lockdown: Here's Where to Get Them in Philadelphia

Cocktails to Go in Bars & Restaurants Legalized in PA During Lockdown: Here's Where to Get Them in Philadelphia

Bars & restaurants in PA can now sell cocktails-to-go. Here's where to find them in Philadelphia...read more ›

by Drink Philly May 21, 2020
Relief for the Bar, Restaurant, & Hospitality Industry in Philadelphia

Relief for the Bar, Restaurant, & Hospitality Industry in Philadelphia

Right now the hospitality industry is—to put it lightly—struggling. We created a resource directory for an...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Mar 20, 2020
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
Where to Find Beer, Wine, & Liquor To Go in Philadelphia During the Pandemic

Where to Find Beer, Wine, & Liquor To Go in Philadelphia During the Pandemic

Bars and restaurants are officially closed (and offering take-out and delivery only), so your favorite bartend...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 18, 2020
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close