Monthly Archives: December 2013

More Q & A

12.  How should I be preparing for the exam?  Do I need to prepare for your course?

If you seriously intending to write the Certified Cicerone® exam, there are several reading materials you had better be VERY familiar with:

2008 BJCP Guide

Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher

Anything written by Michael Jackson


For instance, if you can’t tell me what this guy in the photo is doing, you better hit the books.

As far as preparing for my course, the more knowledge you have, the more you will learn.  I have found that people whom already have an excellent base reading get the most out of the course.  They are ultimately, the ones whom also fair better on the exam.

13.  $650 is some serious cash.  Why so much?

If you work it out, it’s $30 a course, which includes all your beer, reading materials, snacks, cheese and food pairings, guest speakers and a bunch of other fun stuff.  It’s actually a pretty good deal. 

14.  Can you fail the Certified Cicerone® Exam?

Certainly.  You need at least 70% on the tasting, and 80% on the written.  If you fail one but pass the other, you only have to retake the one portion you failed.

15.  What guarantee do I have that I’ll pass this exam when I take your course?

I’m afraid I can’t guarantee you anything. Of the 14 people I’ve trained, all have passed the tasting portion of the exam, and 6 are Certified Cicerone’s® now.  The ones who failed the written all failed by less than 5%, and all admitted to me they could have studied more.

16.  The world of beer is constantly changing.  Is your information up to date?

Yes sir.  I’m constantly updating course material and notes, and keep a fairly steady pulse on the beer industry.

17.  I have a business that sells/produces beer.  Can you help me?

Sure.  I offer discounts on group rates, and can put together a custom program to suit your needs.  If it’s training your staff of 80, or selecting which beers to put on your draught selection, I can be of service.


A few questions and answers

1.  Who is this guy?

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Peter Campagna, and I’m a Certified Cicerone®.  I teach a course here in Toronto designed to train people about all the facets of beer, from tasting, to style knowledge, draught systems and everything in between.  My course is also set up to put you in an excellent position to pass the Certified Cicerone® exam.

2.  What’s a Cicerone®?

A Cicerone® is a person whom is well versed and knowledge in beer, beer service and brewing.  It is a recognized title which cannot be achieved without passing a difficult written and tasting exam.  For more information check:

3. So you’re affiliated with Cicerone® in Chicago, Illinois.

No.  I have no affiliation or business dealings with Cicerone®, Chicago.  I’m a private entity, using the BJCP Guide, Cicerone Syllabus and other source materials to put together a course that will educate you and prepare to pass the Cicerone® Exam, would you choose to write it.

4.  How long did it take you to become a Cicerone®?

Just shy of two years.  When I first realized I wanted to do this, I quit my full time job as an Executive Chef, and voluntarily cleaned draught lines in the mornings.  In the evenings I would study and brew beer at home, to teach myself the brewing process.  I did this for one full year, until I had to return to the workforce to earn a living.  I wrote my first Exam in July of 2012 in Montreal, which I passed the written portion, but not the tasting.  I re-took the tasting portion, and became a Certified Cicerone in Janruary, 2013.

5.  Why do you teach this course?

There are many reasons I do this, but first and foremost is that Toronto, if not all of Canada, needs professionals in the beer industry that can offer a level of customer service for beer that matches wine and spirits.  This is slowly starting to happen, and I want to see it through.  I have also compiled over three years of study, which would be shameful, if not completely stupid to let go to waste.  As I grow, I learn new things.  I like to encourage growth in everything and everyone.

6.  Do you make lots of money teaching people about beer?

That would be cool, but no.  I’m in this for the beer and the people.

7.  Where is all this held?

Beer Academy, 75 Victoria St.

Toronto, Ontario

I am not affiliated with the Beer Academy either, although several of there employees have taken my course.

8.  How many classes and how long does this take?

It’s 20 classes of instruction, which includes a trial exam and two tasting practice exams.  I try to line this up just before an exam is announce in the city, or close by.  In this case right now, I’m looking to do two days a week (6:30 – 9:30), probably on a Tuesday and Thursday, until April 20th.  I try to be flex able with dates to accommodate students.

9.  What does all this cost?

It’s $650 (Canadian currency) all in.  That means you show up, and need to provide for nothing.  Note: this does not include the fee for writing the Certified Cicerone exam.  If I can get over 8 students, the cost starts to drop significantly, and I have more money to put into the course experience.  The max number I will take is 12 students at once.

10.  Whom else in Canada does this?

Chester Carey, also a Certified Cicerone®, runs two courses in Vancouver, which offer similar education.  We are not affiliated in any way with each other.  If someone else in Canada does this, I’d sure like to know whom it is.

11.  What kind of beer can I expect to be drinking in this course?

We taste every style in the BJCP Guide,which is approximated 76 different styles of beer.  We also double up sometime on certain styles.  For an idea of what that looks like, check this out:–vQg

I’ll continue this Q & A with another blog addition.  Questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged.