Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

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:
 
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

Whether you're a wino or a wine novice, DC is home to a number of wine bars perfect for casual sipping or for expanding your palate. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 29, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

Patio weather has arrived! Grab your friends, stake a spot at the bar and take advantage of these outdoor spots for drinking and dining. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 14, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Here are some of our top picks featuring awesome beverage choices in addition to serving up delicious eats - burgers, Korean, Japanese and more - all ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Apr 17, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
Where to Drink Bourbon in D.C.

Where to Drink Bourbon in D.C.

Where to drink bourbon? Check out our top picks below for places to sip the barrel aged spirit....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Apr 2, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close