The first Canadian Master Cicerone® is declared: Mirella Amato is now one of only six Master Cicerones in North America. It’s remarkable that a woman should be the first Canadian to earn this high distinction in a typically male dominated industry.
Becoming the Best in Beer
To become a Master Cicerone®, candidates must get top marks (at least 85%) in two intensive days of 10 hours of written questions, two hours of oral exams and two hours of beer testing and evaluation.
“The whole exam is grueling. It’s an exercise in stamina, going back and forth between essay questions, oral exams and tasting exams for hours, and then waking up the next day and doing it all over again. I slept for two days after it was all over,” says Mirella of her experience.
According to the Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) program website, a Master Cicerone® must “possess encyclopedic knowledge of beer” and have “highly refined tasting ability.”
Move Over Wine, Beer is Raising the Bar
Experts like Mirella are reshaping the future of beer with specialized knowledge and passion for the craft. With consumer demand for specialized beer expertise on the rise and the burgeoning craft-beer industry, the concept of beer experts with an elite pedigree is garnering credibility and respect.
“Because my area of specialization is so new, it’s important to me that people know they can trust my level of expertise. The Craft Beer Institute’s Cicerone program provides exactly that; it’s an independent assessment by an established and credible organization,” says Mirella Amato.
The master wine sommelier had better watch out, as the popularity, novelty, and abundance of beer, is embraced by a new breed of hip gourmet foodies and drinkers.
About the Award: The Cicerone® Certification Program
• The Master Cicerone® title is the third and top level of the program
• Mirella Amato is only the second Canadian to attempt the Master Cicerone® exam and she is the first to pass
• Founded in 2007, the Cicerone® Certification Program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program
• The first level in the program is Certified Beer Server, the second level is Certified Cicerone®
• Through 2012, there have been 36 attempts by applicants to pass the third-level Master Cicerone® exam resulting in the current roster of six Master Cicerones
• Mirella Amato’s certification reflects the evolution of the Canadian beer scene. She is the first person outside of the USA to earn the title of Master Cicerone®
Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato provides high caliber consulting and advising on beer selection, beer descriptions for menus and food pairing recommendations, directing guided beer tastings, and sensory analysis training, through Beerology.