By Annette Shailer, editor Beer & Brewer

Australian craft beer industry heavyweights have joined forces to launch the Institute of Beer (IOB), a new initiative that will focus on formal and informal beer education and consultancy.

The team behind IOB includes; managing director Peter Fullbrook who has a background in business education; Neal Cameron who is master brewer at the Australian Brewery and judges at major beer and cider shows; Dave Phillips who runs Dave’s Brewery Tours and has excellent knowledge of the brewing industry and Ian Kingham who was previously in charge of beer and spirits strategy at Woolworths and is also a prominent beer judge.

"So what that brings together is a range of expertise,” Fullbrook told Beer & Brewer.

"The way we’ve positioned the Institute of Beer is that we have three business streams, the first one is education and there are two parts to education.

"One part is customised education so very specifically for the beer market here in Australia. So for instance say a brewery comes to us and says their reps need to be trained to be more effective in the market, they need to know their beers and their competitor beers, we would customise an education program to suit. Cicerone will form part of that. So we have customised education and we also have certification and exams and classic education through Cicerone.

"So that’s the first stream of education, the second stream is education through consultancy. Anything from deciding you’re going to make beer and set-up a brewery right through to the sellers and marketers of a brewery. So in other words, anything from I want to make beer through to I’m now making money selling beer, is the consultancy offering.

"The third area is learning about beer through less formal education, which would be things like beer events and beer evenings.

"So those are the three streams of Institute of Beer; formal education, consultancy and less formal education through events.”

For part of the formal education, IOB has formed an agreement with Cicerone, the most highly-recognised beer training programme in the world, certifying and educating beer professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for consumers.

Based in the US, Cicerone founder Ray Daniels was in Australia last week finalising the agreement with the IOB team and holding the first Certified Cicerone exams in Melbourne and Sydney.

"We have been promoting the programme and running exams in Canada for about three or four years now and the UK for three years,” Daniels told Beer & Brewer.

“Canada is obviously very easy for us to travel to, the UK is not too bad but coming down here is obviously a much bigger commitment. So from the beginning I thought it would be best to have a partner to work with down here.

“These guys were sort of the first to call us and say, ‘hey we would like to do this’. So initially I came down last September to explore that, get to know them and I found a group that I really liked. I think they have the right attitude and approach, good background and experience, and they like what we do and want to work with our programme.

“Since then we’ve had regular dealings and now we’re at the point where we’re ready to move it forward.”

The training programmes will be adapted slightly to suit the Australian beer landscape so that things like beer style examples will be Australian not American.

The IOB training programmes have been divided into three distinct areas from beginner through to expert level:

  1. The Fundamentals of Beer
    – The Fools Guide to Beer – a three-hour evening experience that provides a comprehensive overview of brewing, beer styles and flavours, beer tasting and judging (good and bad beer).
    – Beersavvy™ – an interactive elearning programme that covers the fundamentals of different beer styles and beer serving and leads to an online exam and an internationally recognised level of competence and knowledge. It is also the first part of the Cicerone Certified Beer Servers course.
    – Beersavvy Bootcamp – a four-hour introduction to beer styles and flavours, as well as instruction on serving and storing beer.
  2. Certified Beer Server
    – The Certified Beer Server requires competent knowledge of beer storage and service issues as well as modest knowledge of beer styles and culture and basic familiarity with beer tasting and flavours and basic knowledge about brewing process and ingredients.
  3. Certified Cicerone®
    – The Certified Cicerone® must have detailed knowledge of retail beer storage and service issues, excellent knowledge of modern beers and styles with some familiarity with beer history and historical styles, competence in identifying flawed beers and recognizing appropriate and in-appropriate flavours in modern beer styles, good understanding of the beer ingredients and familiarity with the brewing process and its common variations plus knowledge of beer pairing principles and the ability to recommend reasonable beer pairings for common foods.

For more information on IOB or to inquire about education or consultancy opportunities, call 02 8987 1908 or email

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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