There’s something big brewing at UCF’s Rosen College Hospitality Management, and it’s spilling out of the campus’ beer & wine lab and into the food & beverage industry. It’s the growing number of Cicerone certified beer servers produced through the college’s Seminar in Quality Brewing and Fine Beer. Since the national beer connoisseur program was first offered as part of the three-credit-hour course, the Cicerone certificate has resulted in a number of student hires and award-winning new brews.
“Cicerone is quickly becoming the industry standard,” said Instructor Ed Measom, who offers the first-level certification test as his Seminar’s final exam. “Many top vendors, breweries and distributors are seeking employees certified by this program.”
Similar to a sommelier certification for wine, the Cicerone certification covers beer storage and service, styles and culture, tasting and flavors, brewing processes and ingredients, and food pairings.
Since the certificate’s inception, Measom’s Seminar has helped certify hundreds of UCF students, many who now work for companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, World of Beer, Cigar City Brewing and Brown Distributing.
Some of Measom’s Cicerone certified students have even gone on to win national brewing competitions. Josh Brengle, ‘08, recently took home the gold medal at the 2011 National Homebrew Competition for his Bohemian Pilsner.
“The Cicerone program gives you an appreciation for the ‘care’ that’s put into each beer,” said Brengle, who is currently employed as a brewer for Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Fla. “And by care, I mean everything that goes into producing a beer, from the start of the brewing process to the beer’s distribution to the way it’s served at retailers. All of those components are very important, and the Cicerone program teaches you the best practices of each stage.”
Brengle also noted that his current employer recently paid for all his colleagues to take to Cicerone exam if they weren’t previously certified.
“This is a really important and beneficial certificate that is quickly becoming a basic credential in the beverage industry,” said Brengle. “UCF is really giving their hospitality students a competitive edge by having this program available to them.”
To learn more about the Cicerone program, visit www.cicerone.org.