The world now has a new word for a ‘beer sommelier’. If someone is a ‘sommelier’ we all know they are a wine expert. So of course beer sommeliers feel a little like second class citizens having to clarify themselves as a ‘beer sommelier’. But there is a new beer expertise program that calls their graduates Cicerones. I like the name.
Cicero was a great Italian orator. Julias Caesar said this about him, “it is more important to have greatly extended the frontiers of the Roman spirit (ingenium) than the frontiers of the Roman empire”.
A cicerone, in the traditional sense is a guide.
If you want to become a beer cicerone you must take a specific course. Not just any avid beer drinker can be a Cicerone. Having borrowed a synonym for ‘guide’ was no accident. You must be able to guide people through the world of beer to be a Cicerone.