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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: Frankenbrew on March 16, 2015, 11:53:57 PM

Title: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Frankenbrew on March 16, 2015, 11:53:57 PM
I'm thinking of becoming certified as a Cicerone. I went ahead and completed the first level, which is CBS, certified beer server. It was pretty easy. Anyone who has been brewing awhile and kegs their own beer should be able to pass it. I'm thinking that being a Cicerone could perhaps be a nice part-time semi-retirement gig for me.

Is anyone on here already certified? If so, do you work in the industry? Is it worth the money? The time?

I know that from a learning perspective, I'll love it, but it's actually somewhat expensive and time consuming. At this point, I'm trying to decide if it's worth it.

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: flbrewer on March 17, 2015, 12:49:02 AM
I did the first one like you, thought it was very easy. I have balked at anything further because you actually have to go somewhere to take it and it is a big step up in the cost. For me I can't really see any need to have the certification.

I will warn you though, if you watch the documentary Somm you will certainly want to take those other tests!

Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: euge on March 17, 2015, 11:48:45 AM
My brother is just shy of completing his sommelier certification. He informed me that the cicerone certification is far more difficult.

Not sure if that translates into a demand for services.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: reverseapachemaster on March 17, 2015, 02:24:58 PM
I'm not sure I have been many places with certified cicerones on staff. I have been many places with certified beer servers but it seems to be like the high school diploma of service staff: everybody has one. I wouldn't put the time or money into a certificate program without reasonable expectation of some kind of return. If you just enjoy taking tests then don't let me stop you.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Stevie on March 17, 2015, 02:39:40 PM
I'm not sure I have been many places with certified cicerones on staff. I have been many places with certified beer servers but it seems to be like the high school diploma of service staff: everybody has one. I wouldn't put the time or money into a certificate program without reasonable expectation of some kind of return. If you just enjoy taking tests then don't let me stop you.
Meddlesome Moth has two Certified Cicerones, that must be why their beers are so expensive. I have found that most of the servers are more knowledgeable than the run of the mill server. One thing I have noticed is that they push the large format bottles.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Frankenbrew on March 17, 2015, 08:33:09 PM
Thanks, guys!

I'm at the point where I am wondering about the ROI. I love learning, and I don't even mind taking tests. But it can be pretty expensive, so I have to figure out if it's going to be worth it.

I have never been to a place that has certified Cicerones either, but it still is somewhat new (and, really, I mostly just drink at my own bar). I wonder if it will become more prevalent as the craft beer scene matures???

I have time; I don't really have to do it now. I'm planning to retire in five years, so I'll probably look at it for a little while before I make up my mind. You have to admit: working and making money at what one loves is the ultimate success. And I guess if one has the passion, he will succeed. I guess I just talked myself into it. 8)
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: S. cerevisiae on March 18, 2015, 09:27:51 PM
I am too am looking at things that I can do in retirement.  I want to retire from my current profession at age 62, but I do not want to completely retire from working.   While I have no desire to start a brewery or a brewing career at this point in my life, I would not mind working as a quality control/fermentation consultant on a limited basis. 
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Stevie on March 18, 2015, 09:44:33 PM
I am too am looking at things that I can do in retirement.  I want to retire from my current profession at age 62, but I do not want to completely retire from working.   While I have no desire to start a brewery or a brewing career at this point in my life, I would not mind working as a quality control/fermentation consultant on a limited basis.
Do lab work for small breweries. You could operate like a mobile canner and have a sweet van with lab equipment. You could do QA on samples, yeast management, and consultation. I guess you would have to stop at 70 when it's unsafe for you to be behind the wheel  ;)
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: HoosierBrew on March 18, 2015, 10:07:24 PM
I guess you would have to stop at 70 when it's unsafe for you to be behind the wheel  ;)

Had a pretty good chuckle there. ;)
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Frankenbrew on March 19, 2015, 01:03:53 PM
I am too am looking at things that I can do in retirement.  I want to retire from my current profession at age 62, but I do not want to completely retire from working.   While I have no desire to start a brewery or a brewing career at this point in my life, I would not mind working as a quality control/fermentation consultant on a limited basis.

Yes, that is the same age I will be when I retire. I'm a high school English teacher, and I can't really imagine doing it at that age, never mind even older. Though, I feel like I'll be healthy enough to do many things well. I would love my next career to be in brewing/beer somehow.

I've also contemplated my own beer related business and have come to the same conclusion as you. I really don't want to make a somewhat risky, low ROI capital investment at this point in my life.

From reading your posts, I think you would be very successful at the type of job that you describe; you certainly seem to have the knowledge to do it. Good luck!
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: euge on March 19, 2015, 01:45:24 PM
Damn... you guys!

I'm telling that I just retired... at age 48! Perhaps that Cicerone thingy might give me something to do!?
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: morticaixavier on March 19, 2015, 01:48:13 PM
Damn... you guys!

I'm telling that I just retired... at age 48! Perhaps that Cicerone thingy might give me something to do!?

congrats Euge! that's... well... Huge Euge! I know you were getting pretty fed up with your work situation.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: euge on March 19, 2015, 02:05:22 PM
Oh it came to a head a week and a half ago and I moved my retirement plans forward. I'll re-evaluate matters over the next two years and I may re-enter the workforce. Perhaps as a hobo Cicerone... :o
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 19, 2015, 03:10:27 PM
Damn... you guys!

I'm telling that I just retired... at age 48! Perhaps that Cicerone thingy might give me something to do!?

Congratulations, that is even younger than when I retired. You will find something to keep you occupied and engaged with the world.

Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: Jimmy K on March 19, 2015, 03:34:36 PM
I am too am looking at things that I can do in retirement.  I want to retire from my current profession at age 62, but I do not want to completely retire from working.   While I have no desire to start a brewery or a brewing career at this point in my life, I would not mind working as a quality control/fermentation consultant on a limited basis.
Do lab work for small breweries. You could operate like a mobile canner and have a sweet van with lab equipment. You could do QA on samples, yeast management, and consultation. I guess you would have to stop at 70 when it's unsafe for you to be behind the wheel  ;)
That sounds like a great idea.
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: brewuni on March 19, 2015, 11:06:01 PM
Hi all-

I see your conversation about the Cicerone exam and the cost vs. ROI and I hear you - that is definitely a challenge. I wanted to let you know, in the event that you are interested in preparing for the more intense exam, we had a group of employees from a large brewery attend one of our courses last year. They were all going to sit for the Cicerone exam. Just a word of warning that this course is not cheap either, but we are excited to offer professional and continuing ed courses from our fantastic expert fermentation science instructors. Up until the past few years, we only had for credit offerings. We have had many more dedicated/passionate home brewers attend some of our beer/cider courses than we ever anticipated so I didn't want to not have you all in the know:

https://pace.oregonstate.edu/catalog/beer-proficiency-testing-and-sensory-analysis

Obviously, I am promoting our course, but I hope you can read this post as more informative then directly marketing. Since these are relatively new courses, we hope to spread the word amongst the brewing community as best we can. Good luck on all of your decisions with regards to Cicerone testing and retirement decisions!
Title: Re: Cicerone Certification
Post by: S. cerevisiae on March 19, 2015, 11:15:54 PM
From reading your posts, I think you would be very successful at the type of job that you describe; you certainly seem to have the knowledge to do it. Good luck!

I will still a have a few years to go after you cross the finish line.  However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.