The Cicerone Certification Program is built around a series of four professional certification exams starting with Certified Beer Server and ending with the top-level, Master Cicerone. With roots in the American craft beer movement and in-depth coverage of classic European beer culture, the Cicerone program has become the global standard for assessing beer professionals since its launch in 2008, but now is the time for some change.
The Cicerone Certification Program sent word that it is modifying the structure, pricing and rewards associated with their Road to Cicerone study materials. The changes will make it less expensive to access the materials while also rewarding individuals with additional recognition when they complete a course.
“The Road to Cicerone coursebooks represent a valuable study resource for beer professionals,” said Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program. “With these changes, they’ll be easier to access and useful to a wider range of Cicerone participants.”
The Road to Cicerone education series currently includes four courses: 1) German Beer Styles, 2) British and Irish Beer Styles, 3) Brewing Ingredients and Process and 4) Keeping and Serving Beer. The fifth book in the series covering American beer styles will be available this summer. In the past, each Road to Cicerone purchase included three items: 1) a self-study coursebook, 2) access to an online discussion forum and 3) access to a 72-question multiple-choice exam covering the contents of the course. The cost for this package was $99 per course.
The new approach drops the discussion forum and offers the other two items on their own so that individuals can purchase just the coursebook or just the exam if they want to.
“We found that some people wanted just the coursebook or just the exam,” said Daniels. “This allows us to price each item individually, so that people can buy only what they want and need.”
Under the new system, the coursebook alone will cost $39, the exam alone $29 and the two items together will sell for $59. As for the forum, “it just wasn’t very popular,” said Daniels. “These days people have a lot of other ways to connect.”
You can learn all about the new approach to the course at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewEXPO America in Nasvhille April 30 to May 3 at booth 604.
With the new ways to buy the Road to Cicerone resources comes new recognition for those who successfully pass the course exam. Previously, recognition was limited to the individual’s profile on cicerone.org. Now those who pass each exam will receive a small lapel pin designating them as a “specialist” in the topic they have completed. These small pins have been designed so that they can be worn in conjunction with the Certified Beer Server pin to show that the wearer has progressed their beer knowledge beyond the first level of Cicerone certification.
“We have always believed that continuing education and expanded knowledge are important,” said Master Cicerone Pat Fahey who serves as content director for the program. “These specializations help to recognize people who are making the effort to move their knowledge forward.”
The program plans to publish two more Road to Cicerone books in addition to the five previously mentioned: one on Belgian Styles and one to cover Flavor, Tasting and Beer/Food Pairing. Together these seven texts can help individuals prepare to take the Certified Cicerone exam.
“People may just choose one book to help them with their work — for instance a server in a German-themed restaurant might want to take the German styles exam to get recognized as a German Beer Style Specialist. But whether people just do one book or whether they hope to work through the complete series of books, the specialist designation gives them a more tangible sense of progress toward their goal,” said Fahey.
The Road to Cicerone coursebooks cover a wide range of material from beer history to brewing techniques and services issues to help candidates prepare for the Certified Cicerone exam. Each coursebook covers a single topic through 12 to 15 self-guided lessons. Four coursebooks are currently available; German Beer Styles Course, British & Irish Beer Styles Course, Keeping & Serving Course and Brewing Ingredients & Processes Course. Three additional coursebooks are planned to complete the series. They will cover American styles, Belgian styles and beer & food pairings. Coursebooks are priced at $39 USD each.
The Road to Cicerone practice exams test material covered in the coursebooks with Certified Cicerone level questions. The online practice exam consists of 72 questions with a 30-minute time limit. Exams have unlimited retakes so candidates can revisit the question pool to prepare themselves for the Certified Cicerone exam. When an individual receives a passing score of 80 percent, they will earn a badge on their Cicerone Certification Program profile and will receive a pin to commemorate the achievement. These badges and pins are designed to enhance the Certified Beer Server title and celebrate milestones on the path to the Certified Cicerone exam. Specialist exams cost $29 USD each.
Head here to access the Road to Cicerone coursebooks and exams.