My Road to Cicerone®: Bryan Carver of DME Brewing Solutions
Bryan Carver is a Certified Cicerone® from Prince Edward Island, Canada--the area's first and only Certified Cicerone to date! Here he shares his experience studying for the exam and how passing it has helped him in his beer industry career.
- Where do you work and what do you do there?
I work in the technical services department at DME Brewing Solutions assisting clients across the globe with technical support or with equipment needs for improving their brewing operations.
- How did you first hear of the Cicerone Certification Program?
I was working in a brewpub when I first heard of the Cicerone Certification Program’s launch. I thought it was a great idea to have a platform for recognized beer education and evaluation. I felt that it was important to be able to communicate about beer effectively.
- Why did you choose to pursue Certified Cicerone while already working in the beer industry?
Improving my ability to communicate with a large group of international brewers was my main goal for pursuing Certified Cicerone status.
- What was your study support network like? Did you receive support from a study group, your employer, or study solo?
For the most part I studied solo. I had my wife, Amy, quiz me on topics I felt I was weak on from time to time.
- Describe your study process. How did you prepare for the exam?
Having previously worked as a brewer, I already owned a decent selection of brewing and beer literature. Working from the programs syllabus, I broke the material up into groups and found the information I needed. Over the course of a few months, I dog-eared pages and prepared cue cards to develop a condensed body of information to review and reference in the weeks leading up to the exam.
- Explain how earning your certification has helped your career.
It has been a great confidence booster. I feel more at ease when talking beer with people, whether on the phone from my office, in the brew house or at the bar. It is a great time to beer a beer drinker and people love to learn more.
- What are your greatest strengths now that you’re a Certified Cicerone?
My confidence and ability to communicate clearly with people about beer. I live in Canada’s Maritime provinces, where we have a very vibrant community of small breweries, but also a lot of consumers with old ‘big beer’ purchasing habits. It is great to be able to help someone try beers that would be outside of their comfort zone and have them appreciate the variety of nuances beer can deliver. Turning people on to the great beers that our local brewers are producing never loses its appeal. Being able to educate them and set expectations for what they are going to taste, really puts their drinking experience into context and allows them to venture outside of their current scope.
- Were there any areas of study that you became particularly interested in while preparing for the Certified Cicerone exam?
Before the exam, I always brushed aside the bulk of German styles, which was incredibly narrow-minded looking back! Having studied the styles and thought about them in a geographical context, I discovered how diverse and intricate each beer was. I definitely need to visit Germany and do an extensive tour - I would even settle for just one afternoon in Cologne!
- In your opinion, how valuable is it for those looking to boost their career to earn Cicerone certification?
For someone looking to take their career in the beer industry to the next level, I think the Cicerone certification is a must have. It shows their level of knowledge and commitment to the industry. It makes them a better ambassador for quality beer; something there is never a shortage of.
- What advice do you have for Certified Beer Servers who are looking into taking the Certified Cicerone exam?
Make beer part of your day to day life. Go to your local breweries, talk to the brewers. If they have time, buy them a pint and chat about beer. Hopefully the brewery has a tasting panel, see if you can sit in. Get to know your local home brewers. Join a beer club - start one if you have to! Read the syllabus and use the reference material.
Ready to get started? Learn more about the Certified Cicerone exam here!