Certified and Bonafide

David | Blog | August, 01 2012 | No Comment

The 29th annual American Cheese Society conference takes place this weekend in Raleigh, N.C. As in year’s past, it began on Wednesday with the early rounds of cheese judging—more than 1,700 will be evaluated this year. What’s new this year is that a number of folks who work in the American artisan cheese industry were also sitting for the first-ever exam of the Certified Cheese Professional program developed by ACS over the last several years.

For those of our readers who are more familiar with craft beer than with artisan cheese, this certification program may have a familiar ring. Four years ago, the Certified Cicerone Program was launched to help set and maintain standards for the care and serving of craft beer.

The Cicerone program now counts more than 16,000 certified beer servers, more than 470 Cicerones, and four Master Cicerones among its ranks. Putting my own one-time affiliation with that program aside, I can say as a serious enthusiast and consumer of craft beer that the Cicerone program has played a significant role in the evolution of craft beer in the U.S.  I don’t think it is mere coincidence that beer selection, beer care, glassware choices, draft system care and attention to other serving and selling details have improved across the spectrum of retail establishments that currently sell and serve craft beer in the United States.  Retailers and wholesalers alike make up the bulk of the craft beer professionals who have entered the Cicerone program (and done the self-study/and or training needed to successfully complete the exam).  Having helped grade the exams at one time, I am pretty certain that those who complete any level of the program end up toting around more knowledge and fewer myths and clichés as they work in the supply chain.

Having been familiar with the Cheese Society for around 15 years, I have the impression that its program has the potential to deliver similar results for artisan cheese.

The average beer consumer now has a much more appropriate understanding of beer than 10 years ago, and that makes it easier for brewers to continue to innovate and make and sell great beers instead of trying to explain what they are doing to each new customer.

Artisan cheese could benefit from heading a bit more in that direction too.

Well, the 29th ACS conference should be a fine affair. And if (like me, sadly), you were not able to make it to Raleigh, perhaps you will get out to Denver in the fall for the 31st Great American Beer Festival.  Whatever your interest in craft beer and/or artisan cheese, you should in the future, find that you are benefiting from an increase level of professionalism.

If you like this post please share it with others
Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Twitter

© Copyright Reserved Cheese And Cheers 2010. | Site Admin | Log out
Design by: Yoshz