Gaining Street Cred as a Certified Beer Server

This past weekend I accomplished something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now… I passed the Level 1 Cicerone Certification Exam and became a Certified Beer Server!  I became the 11,738th person to pass the test and, according to the online roster, 1 of 40 people in Rochester, NY to hold the title.  The Cicerone Certification Program was designed to offer “independent assessment and certification so that industry professionals–as well as consumers–can be sure of the knowledge and skills held by current and prospective beer servers.”  The program consists of three certification levels, including:

  1. Certified Beer Server
  2. Certified Cicerone®
  3. Master Cicerone®

The Certified Beer Server requires competent knowledge of beer storage and service issues; modest knowledge of currently popular beer styles and culture; and basic familiarity with beer tasting and flavors, brewing process and ingredients.  You’ll need to set aside $69 and 30 minutes for the Level 1 exam, which offered online and comprised of 60 multiple choice questions.  For a more detailed view of the required knowledge see the Novice Syllabus, available at

I must admit, I was a tad nervous about taking the exam but I actually found it to be fairly painless and was relieved to see that I scored quite well.  At this point, while craft beer remains my passion and I plan to continue to develop my knowledge and understanding of the industry, I’m unsure as to whether or not I will continue on to become a Certified Cicerone®.  Higher level certification will require a considerable amount of time and energy devoted to acquiring the necessary expertise. (Though that’s the kind of studying I don’t think I would mind!)

The Certified Cicerone® Exam is given at various locations around the US, as outlined in the exam schedule.  Obtaining this Level 2 certification is significantly more involved, requiring short answer and essay questions along with tasting and demonstration components.  Currently, there are less than 400 Certified Cicerones® and only 4 Master Cicerones® on record.  If you’re thinking of taking any of the Cicerone Certification Exams, you can find more information at  And for anyone that’s recently taken the exam, leave a comment below to share your thoughts about the program.