Share |

Nicole Erny Earns Master Cicerone®

Bay Area beer expert becomes first woman & youngest person as Master Cicerone

Chicago – January 5 – The Cicerone® Certification Program today announced that Nicole Erny of Oakland, CA 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 given November 9 & 10.

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. The Master Cicerone exam includes 8 hours of written questions, 2 hours of oral questions and 2 hours of beer tasting and evaluation. Candidates needed an overall score of 85% to pass.

"During the Master Cicerone exam, Erny distinguished herself with her knowledge of all aspects of beer and her skill in tasting beer and creating interesting beer and food pairings," said Ray Daniels, Director of the Cicerone Certification 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. She has sharpened her palate and beer analysis skills as a homebrewed beer judge and already holds the title of National Judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program.

Since it began offering certifications in January 2008, the Cicerone Certification Program has awarded more than 8800 first level certifications, called Certified Beer Server and 335 certifications at the second level of the program, called Certified Cicerone®.  Through 2011, there have been 24 attempts to pass the third-level Master Cicerone exam resulting in the current roster of four Master Cicerones. Erny joins the three other Master Cicerones®: Andrew Van Til of Michigan, David Kahle of Chicago, and Rich Higgins of San Francisco.

The knowledge required for the Master Cicerone certification is outlined in the program’s 19-page Master Syllabus which can be viewed at The website also includes a free 10-question sample exam that allows anyone to assess their Cicerone aptitude.

The Cicerone Certification Program is a service of the Craft Beer Institute, the Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization.  The program is directed by brewer, author and beer educator Ray Daniels. A wide range of breweries, beer distributors and retailers participate in the program.