You know what: Becoming a Master Cicerone is pretty hard. There are only, like, 10 of them, so what about the rest of us who can’t afford the time and smarts? Well, the world’s leading certification program for beer servers and experts is throwing us a bone, something a little more realistic for us above average beer professionals. The Cicerone Certification Program just announced the addition of a new certification for those who have already passed the second level of the program — Advanced Cicerone.
“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,” said Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program, noting that in the past two years only three individuals have passed out of 46 attempts. “The new exam level gives serious beer professionals recognition for additional learning and skill development beyond the Certified Cicerone level.”
“Starting in 2016, the next level available to Certified Cicerones will be Advanced Cicerone,” said Daniels. “Achieving Advanced Cicerone will qualify individuals to take the Master Cicerone exam.”
“I would have appreciated having a level between Certified and Master,” said The Bruery CEO and Founder Patrick Rue, who became a Master Cicerone in November 2014. “It is such a huge step up that I think it needs to be divided.”
A number of Master exam candidates have said the same in recent years. “Many Certified Cicerones feel the urge to learn more and earn additional certification,” said Daniels. “Right now, the only option is to take the Master exam.”
The Advanced Cicerone level opens the door for achievement by those who may not have time for the extensive preparation required by the Master Exam. Rue took the Master exam twice. “Before that second exam, I studied for 20 hours a week for 9 months,” he said.
Daniels pointed out that the one-day Advanced Cicerone exam will also be more accessible than the two-day Master exam. The Master exam is only given once or twice a year in Chicago and has recently required lottery for signups. The Advanced Cicerone exam will be conducted in various cities around the country with six or more exams each year.