Nicole Erny becomes fourth Master Cicerone

The Cicerone Certification Program announced that Nicole Erny of Oakland, Calif., earned the title of Master Cicerone during testing in November. Erny 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.

While thousands have passed the first level Cicerone exam known as Certified Beer Server, Erny is only the fourth person to earn the Master Cicerone title-the third and top level of the program. She also becomes the first woman and is the youngest of the four who have earned the title. Founded in 2007, the Cicerone Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program.

Since earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2007, Erny has worked a specialty beer bartender, consultant and beer educator, putting on classes and beer and food pairings. Erny joins the three other Master Cicerone: Andrew Van Til of Michigan, David Kahle of Chicago, and Rich Higgins of San Francisco.

Since it began offering certifications in January 2008, the Cicerone Certification Program has awarded more than 8,800 first level certifications, called Certified Beer Server and 335 certifications at the second level of the program, called Certified Cicerone