The Cicerone Certification Program is an industry standard qualification for identifying those with significant knowledge and professional skills in beer sales and service. The programme offers independent assessment and certification so that beer drinkers and industry professionals can be sure of the knowledge and skills possessed by bartenders.
The milestone means every single BrewDog employee, from the accounts team to bar staff, is knowledgeable across a wide range of topics including keeping and serving beer, brewing process and ingredients, beer styles, beer flavour evaluation and more.
The brewery developed the target of achieving a 100% Certified Beer Server pass rate in 2017, and has offered its staff a number of incentives to progress to higher levels of the Cicerone programme. Each BrewDog employee who passes Certified Beer Server receives an increase in pay, which is further increased for every additional tier of the certification programme that they pass.
'A labour of love'
BrewDog is now finalising proposals to enrol thousands of its 65,000 strong Equity for Punks investors to the Certified Beer Server exam. It also plans to help up to 200 staff members reach the second tier of Cicerone’s qualifications: Certified Cicerone.
Currently, 62% of all Certified Cicerones in the UK work at BrewDog, and co-founder James Watt was Europe’s first Master Cicerone, the highest attainable level in the programme.
Only 13 individuals have passed the Master Cicerone exam to date, and two of them work at BrewDog, the other being product marketing manager Rob MacKay.
Speaking about the achievement, Watt said: “Our goal has always been to make others as passionate about great beer as we are. To fulfil this, we’ve invested in developing the most knowledgeable staff ever assembled by a brewery or retail business in Europe.
“It’s been a labour of love that will particularly pay great dividends through the awesome experiences customers can expect when they interact with our world-class bar teams.”
“The Certified Beer Server qualification sets a very high baseline level of beer knowledge across the board, and we’re very proud to be the first to achieve 100% accreditation across the business.”
Investment in staff
Cicerone Certification Program founder and director Ray Daniels added: "The BrewDog achievement with regard to Certified Cicerone serves as a role model for every organisation in the beer business.
“It combines the determination of management, the talents of the education staff and the hard work of all the candidates to achieve truly remarkable results. Congratulations to everyone involved."
This is the latest move from BrewDog to invest in its staff. In 2017, it introduced an employee ‘unicorn fund’, which splits 10% of the company’s profits to all employees, as well as donating a further 10% to charities selected by staff and Equity Punk investor.
In 2014, BrewDog also became the first UK food and drink retail company in the UK to introduce the living wage.