Fitger’s Brewhouse and it’s tied houses are beer-focused establishments with an award-winning brewery at their heart. As such, our servers and bartenders must be well versed in beer knowledge and beer-serving techniques. To that aim, the Brewhouse has turned to the Cicerone Certification Program, a multi-level beer-education system.
Fitger’s Brewhouse offers classes to its employees, taught by Brewhouse Bartender Broc Allen and Master Brewer Dave Hoops, that use the Cicerone Program as its guide. Once employees have completed the coursework, they are invited to take the test to become a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. Employees that pass the exam receive a pay raise.
“For the consumer, beer should be a simple pleasure,” says Cicerone Program founder, Ray Daniels. “They should be able to order a beer with no more fuss than they would order dinner and … taste it and think ‘wow, that’s great.’ But for that to happen, the server needs to know about the beers they are offering and serving, and they need to know something about the larger world of beer as well. They need to know the proper ways to serve beer so that what the consumer gets both looks and tastes great.”
“Customer service is critical to our success,” said Marketing Director Brad Nelson. “Being that the brewery is at the heart of all our locations, beer sort of runs in our veins. We wanted a way to make sure our servers and bartenders were prepared to serve craft beer to our guests and the Cicerone Program offered the best vehicle for that.”
To date, there are more than 50,000 Certified Beer Servers nationwide. In Duluth, most of the Certified Beer Servers work for a Fitger’s Brewhouse location, including all managers, bartenders, and many servers.
“Brewers can make great beers,” added Daniels,” but if the consumer doesn’t get that beer, or doesn’t get it in great shape, then the brewery won’t thrive and the consumer may decide to drink a different beverage. We hope to help consumers find and enjoy great beers. We do that by motivating servers and managers in the industry to deliver great beer and to communicate effectively with consumers so that everyone can find and enjoy a beer they love.”