What is a cicerone? A cicerone is to the beer industry, as a sommelier is for the wine industry. Cicerone.org explains it as, “those who achieve this certification have a solid and well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service as well as basic competence in assessing beer quality and identity by taste. Those who pursue a career in beer learn from many different sources and soon accumulate knowledge that sets them apart from those on the “customer” side of the bar. Nevertheless, without certification, it is hard to tell what people really know simply by looking at a resume or business card. The Certified Cicerone exam allows individuals to demonstrate that they possess a professional body of knowledge and essential tasting skills related to beer.”
I wanted to learn more about why Philip chose to pursue our certificate program in craft beer. Here is what he said.
“I grew up on a small dairy farm in Pennsylvania and throughout my lifetime, I have always had a vested interest in sustainable food systems. Realizing that farming was not going to be my vocation, after college, I joined the Navy to see the world. I found that the world had a lot to offer including beer styles I had never before realized. Upon returning stateside, I found that the beers that I enjoyed overseas did not taste the same after traveling to the US in cargo ships for long periods in warm conditions. American lagers were in great supply and craft beer styles not so much. However in the 1980’s, it was Boston Beer Company on the east coast and Sierra Nevada on the west coast that provided the flavors for me and there was no turning back.”
“My educational background is engineering and I have spent my career in aviation and aviation management. Nevertheless, throughout my career I have had a keen eye towards the craft beer industry. While cleaning out the basement one day, I found a beer kit that my wife had given me for Christmas a couple years earlier. One weekend I brewed the kit and it came out better than I expected given the age of the hops and barley. Although I occasionally brew beer at home, I do not consider myself a brewer but I do have passion for understanding beer styles, ingredients, process, and food. Now I am a Certified Cicerone (R) and a lifelong learner. My qualifications opened up the door for teaching the “Beer Styles, Sensory, and Food Pairing” course at Kalamazoo Valley Community College Sustainable Brewing Program in Kalamazoo, MI., and beer mecca of the Midwest.”
“So of the numerous beer schools available, why did I choose the University of Portland Certificate Program? Understanding that there are better brewers than myself, I was looking for a school that provided a strong program in the business side of craft beer. Although there is no substitute for a classroom environment, logistically I needed a program that I could attend online.”
“I have many students that want to brew beer and many would like to open up their own brewpub; that is their passion. The question is how can their brewery be successful? The Master Strategist Certificate Program at University of Portland Pamplin School of Business can help answer some of those questions, necessary for a sustainable and growing business. I would like to think that by completing this certificate I can help future craft brewers in some way to think strategically about their business leading to a long and prosperous career. As Mark Meckler and Sam Holloway express so eloquently, there’s ‘A Profit in Every Pint!’”
Thank you to Philip for sharing his story, insights and thoughts with us. We are thrilled that he has completed the first stage, Strategy Module, of our three-part certificate program.
If you would like information on this program, simply click on this link to our Continuing Education Certificate in Craft Beer Business Strategy. Go Pilots!