Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Local Brewer Becomes 3rd “Master Cicerone” in the World

By Jay Brooks
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 at 10:02 am in On Beer.

Join me in congratulating local brewer Rich Higgins on being named a “Master Cicerone.” That makes Higgins one of only three people to achieve the designation of “master.” A Cicerone is essentially the equivalent of a sommelier, but for beer. The Cicerone program was created by noted beer expert and educator Ray Daniels, who launched the program in Chicago in 2007.

Higgins is currently the brewmaster at San Francisco’s Social Kitchen & Brewery, a brewpub at 9th Ave. and Irving St. in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset neighborhood, and is also the President of the San Francisco Brewers Guild and Director of SF Beer Week. He also operates the beer consultancy Rich Higgins Consultant à la Bière.

From the press release:

Rich Higgins is one of two candidates to pass this year’s Master Cicerone exam, becoming one of three individuals to achieve this pinnacle certification of beer expertise. The Master Cicerone exam was offered in the Chicago area in October of this year, occurring over two days and consisting of ten hours of essay questions, two hours of tasting and sensory panels, and two hours of oral examination.

The Cicerone Certification Program certifies expertise in beer styles, tasting, ingredients, service, and food pairing. To date, the program has certified 3 Master Cicerones, 172 Certified Cicerones, and over 2,000 Certified Beer Servers. Because anyone can call himself or herself a “beer sommelier” regardless of knowledge or experience, the Cicerone Certification Program objectively certifies beer expertise through independent testing of knowledge and tasting ability, focusing on five areas of expertise: 1) Beer Storage, Sales and Service, 2) Beer Styles and Culture, 3) Beer Tasting and Flavors, 4) Brewing Ingredients and Processes and 5) Pairing Beer with Food.

Rich Higgins at the Social Kitchen Brewery
Rich Higgins in his Social Kitchen brewery.

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  • Drew

    Congrats to Rich! I’ve been to Social Kitchen a few times now and have had great experiences. Their L’Enfant Terrible is delicious!