Cicerone® Certification Program Announces Results of First Asian Certified Cicerone Exams

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Four New Certified Cicerones Named From First Exam Given April 28 in Seoul.

The Cicerone® Certification Program today announced results of the first Certified Cicerone® exam held in South Korea. This exam, held April 28, was the first given in Asia by the program, known globally by respecters of craft beer as the certification standard for beer professionals. Twelve candidates took the exam in Seoul; four individuals achieved a passing score.

“All of the candidates did well on the exam and I’m extremely proud of them for taking this challenging examination,” said Ray Daniels, founder and director of the Cicerone program. “I am especially proud of the four individuals who passed and join the ranks of more than 2,300 Certified Cicerones from 19 countries around the world.”

The four who passed are Nathan Rhee, Dane Kang, Jun-Ho Choi, and Dong-Hyuck Choi. Kang currently works at The Booth Brewery, while the others have been studying beer and in some cases homebrewing or working in hospitality in hopes of being involved in the beer industry in the future.

These four join the ranks of three other Koreans who have previously passed the Certified Cicerone exam while traveling or studying overseas. These include Taekyung Kim of Amazing Brewery, Jinyoung Seok of Win Beer Co., and Bongkyun Son of Amazing BBQ. Other Certified Cicerones that also live in Korea and were involved in helping students to prepare for this exam include Troy Zitzelsberger and Jaegi Cho.

Taekyung Kim, who helped proctor the Certified Cicerone exam, stated, “The success of this first Certified Cicerone exam in Asia with four new South Korean Certified Cicerones demonstrates how the young Korean generation is passionate about beer. Increasingly, bars and restaurants are going to find that consumers have more knowledge about diversity and quality of the beer they drink.”

To become a Certified Cicerone, candidates must achieve a score of 80 or higher on a four-hour exam that includes written, tasting, and demonstration portions. As the program has not yet been translated into Korean, the candidates who took the Seoul exam did it entirely in English.

Certified Cicerone candidates must have detailed knowledge of retail beer storage and service issues, excellent knowledge of global beer styles with some familiarity with beer history and historical styles, competence in identifying flawed beers and recognizing appropriate and inappropriate flavors in beer styles, good understanding of beer ingredients, familiarity with the brewing process and its common variations, plus knowledge of beer and food pairing principles.

In North America where the program originated, the usual pass rate for this exam is about 40% per year. This includes individuals who pass after retaking all or part of the exam. Many of the candidates who took this first exam in Asia have an excellent opportunity to pass when the exam is given again in Korea in the coming year.

“We hope to translate the entire program and begin offering it in Korean by the end of 2017,” said Daniels.


Founded in 2007 by brewer, author, and beer educator Ray Daniels, the Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best quality beer at every service occasion. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer are encouraged to acquire knowledge in five areas: 1) Keeping and Serving Beer, 2) Beer Styles, 3) Beer Flavor and Evaluation, 4) Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes, and 5) Pairing Beer with Food.

To this date, more than 70,000 individuals have been certified through the program.

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