In August 2009, a year and a half into his venture known as Cicerone, Ray Daniels looked at the calendar and wondered whom he would be working for in 2010. The program that trains professionals on the proper ways to handle, serve and present beer and to educate about it had been slow to take off, and Daniels knew he’d have to take on an additional job to make ends meet. Then the program took off like a shot, and Daniels hasn’t had to work for anyone else, but instead has been able to hire a robust staff to help run the business.
Now with 40,000 certified beer servers (the entry level of Cicerone) around the world and a growing number of Certified and Master Cicerones (the higher levels), Daniels is leading troops into the field to help bar owners and customers understand the dynamic flavors of lagers and ales and raising the profile of the industry.
Raised on U.S. Army posts around the country before settling in Chicago, Daniels has worked many jobs in the beer industry, including writing books like Designing Great Beers, running the Real Ale Festival, heading several divisions for the Brewers Association and serving as a mentor to countless individuals interested in beer.
As anyone who has studied for the Cicerone tests will tell you, Daniels is serious about education. This isn’t a cupcake class, and that’s the point—beer is fun, but it’s also important and a business. Dean Daniels rang the bell, and now school is in session.
This profile appears in the November 2014 issue of All About Beer Magazine. Click here for a free trial of our next issue.