Imdieke, Pratt Acquire Cicerone Certification Program

Two Master Cicerones with deep experience in the beer industry — Dan Imdieke and Jason Pratt — have purchased the Cicerone Certification Program from its founder, Ray Daniels.

Daniels formally launched the Cicerone Certification Program in January 2008. Its mission has been to improve the quality of beer service for consumers by educating and certifying beer professionals. For more than 16 years, the program has reached servers and other beer professionals in more than 90 countries to become the de facto standard in professional beer certification in the United States and elsewhere.

“For several years now, I have been looking for a suitable group to take over ownership of the Cicerone Certification Program,” said program founder Ray Daniels. “These two Master Cicerones are well known to me and to the program as the result of having worked with us in a number of capacities over the years.

“Based on their experience both in the industry and with Cicerone, I feel very confident entrusting the future of the program to them.”

The program’s offerings include online exams, training programs, and other remote learning resources in seven languages. When circumstances permit, they also conduct in-person, interactive classes that prepare participants for exams. To date, more than 150,000 individuals worldwide have completed at least one level of certification in the program.

Pratt’s career in beer spans 17-plus years across the technical and commercial sides of the industry. He started as a yeast and fermentation scientist for MolsonCoors and then transitioned to leading the company’s beer education efforts where he saw the impact of beer knowledge on all 3 tiers of the beer industry. After passing the Master Cicerone exam in 2015, he was recognized on the Crain’s beer education efforts where he saw the impact of beer knowledge on all three tiers of the beer industry.

Pratt then transitioned to the marketing team where he was Director of Beverage Innovation for North America developed several successful brands that launched domestically and internationally. Following his career at MolsonCoors, he worked for an alcohol eCommerce startup as the Chief Partnership Officer. He currently lives in Naperville, Illinois.

According to Pratt, taking over the program is more than a job; it’s personal.

“The Cicerone program has meant so much to us over the years and has opened so many doors in the industry, so getting a chance to usher it into the next chapter is truly a dream come true. We’re looking forward to ensuring that Cicerone maintains its position as the gold standard beer certification program,” he said.

Imdieke’s passion for beer began with nine years at Yard House, where he managed bar operations and training at the national level and opened 20 new restaurant locations. He was also the corporate beer buyer for Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room, where he helped reinvigorate the brand and developed an award-winning beer program. On his journey to Master Cicerone, he then led the beer education team at MolsonCoors after Pratt, where he conducted training sessions with some of the largest beer retailers and distributors in the U.S. Imdieke was also Director of Operations at the Blue Moon Brewery in Denver where he led a team of 100 employees, hosted beer events for media and key retailers, and contributed to the R&D pipeline for new national brands. He is based in Carlsbad, California.

For Imdieke, it allows he and Pratt to focus on the part of the industry they’re most passionate about.

“Training and education have always been my favorite part of the roles I’ve had and just seeing people’s eyes light up when you help spark that passion for beer,” he said. “We have both been lucky enough to work in jobs where we’ve used Cicerone knowledge daily and seen its value in real scenarios. We’re excited to continue to pass that on to others and make it as relevant as possible.”

Under the leadership of Pratt and Imdieke, the Cicerone program will continue to be based in Chicago. Early plans for the next chapter of the program include focusing on the practical application of beer education, creating more ways to engage with Cicerone, and more proactively featuring people active in the Cicerone community.

“We truly believe that beer education is vital to the health of the industry, and we’re committed to showcasing how beer knowledge can elevate the category and help sell more beer. It provides a better consumer experience, increases employee engagement, and levels the playing field for people looking to break into beer careers,” Pratt said.

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