The Cicerone Certification Program has announced that Canadian Mirella Amato and Missourian Neil Witte became the fifth and sixth individuals to earn the title of Master Cicerone. Amato is the first Canadian citizen and first non-US resident to earn the top rank among beer professionals. Witte works as Field Quality Manager for Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City. They both earned the certification through a series of exams culminating with two days of intense taste testing plus written and oral questioning about beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and beer and food pairing.
Overall more than 18,000 have passed the first level Cicerone exam known as Certified Beer Server, but only six individuals have now earned the Master Cicerone title — the third and top level of the program. Founded in 2007, the Cicerone Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program. The Master Cicerone exam includes 10 hours of written questions, 2 hours of oral questions and 2 hours of beer tasting and evaluation.
Witte started at Boulevard Brewing brewer and has worked since 2000 as field quality manager. In this role, he works with distributors and retailers providing education and training on brewing, beer styles, beer and food and draught system installation and maintenance.
Amato runs Beerology, a beer consulting and training service based in Toronto. She conducts guided beer tastings, beer dinners and food pairing workshops for consumers, and retailers and also offers staff training and consulting services for retailers and breweries.
Since it began offering certifications in January 2008, the Cicerone Certification Program has awarded more than 18,500 first level certifications, called Certified Beer Server and 650 certifications at the second level of the program, called Certified Cicerone.