What It Takes to Become a Master Cicerone

Although hundreds of people have attempted to earn the coveted title, there are only 18 in world who can call themselves Master Cicerones. The beer-centric counterpart to a Master Sommelier, a Master Cicerone knows virtually everything there is to know about tasting, preparing, serving, and pairing more than 100 styles of beer from all over the globe. 

The only way to earn the title is a brutal two-day exam that takes place once a year. To survive the 20-hour endurance match takes nerves of steel and a more finely honed palate than chefs in most Michelin-starred kitchens could claim. 

Beers of Joy, a documentary now available on multiple streaming platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Comcast, Spectrum, and Cox, follows the trials and tribulations of two Advanced Cicerones as they prepare to take the Master Cicerone exam. The film also delves into the extraordinary history and culture of beer through the eyes of a celebrated brewer and a chef. 

Enjoy the rest of the article on October at the link.

Joe Vogelbacher details his experience pursuing Master Cicerone in Beers of Joy in the new article from October.

Joe Vogelbacher details his experience pursuing Master Cicerone in Beers of Joy in the new article from October.

Review from SommBeer

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““Beers of Joy” is an enjoyable watch, especially if you’re any level of beer nerd. Each one of the people featured are relatable, interesting, and genuinely likable. This film can and likely will inspire people to start seeking out Ciecerone certifications which is definitely a good thing. It might also open up your mind to try new and different beers so that you can expand your beer experiences.”

Check out the link below for the full review of the film on SommBeer.com!

Review from South Jersey Beer Scene

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We’re thrilled to have met John from South Jersey Beer Scene and share his review of the film:

For those of us that enjoy a little beer culture it is always exciting to see a feature film dedicated to the craft. Over the years, unfortunately, there have not been many to be found. That was why we were excited to be able to review “Beers Of Joy”, a fascinating look at beer culture that’s main premise focuses on Joe Vogelbacher, CEO and Co-Founder of Sugar Creek Brewing, and Ryan Daily, an Anheuser-Busch employee and their quest to pass the Master Cicerone Test, which is notoriously difficult. The other 2 storylines focus on Tonya Cornett, Brewmaster of 10 Barrel Brewing (an Anheuser-Busch InBev owned brewery) on a quest to find the perfect Berliner Weiss Recipe visiting European Cities, and “Home-brew Chef” Sean Paxton who is exploring the history of brewing and food in United States.

Read the full review at the link below!


Joe Vogelbacher on Good Day Charlotte

Calling out to beer lovers in North Carolina, Sugar Creek Brewing Co.’s co-Founder and CEO Joe Vogelbacher made an appearance on Good Day Charlotte to discuss his role in the film, the dynamic of the Cicerone certification, and invite the community out to the Charlotte-area premiere of Beers of Joy June 28th at 7pm (hosted free by Sugar Creek Brewing Co.). Pour with vigor!

The Movie Guys with David Swift

David Swift and his crew set out to film the best documentary about beer ever made. Based on the festival circuit awards, they’re doing pretty good! Swift sits in with Paul Preston to talk about the new-on-VOD, DVD & Blu-Ray Beers of Joy. They talk about the challenges of taking on such an expansive subject for Swift’s directorial debut, what a Cicerone is (it’s like a Sommelier for beer) and there’s a tasting as David shares some good introductory beers with Paul, who’s a rare drinker at best.

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Beers of Joy puts Sugar Creek on National Stage

By Todd Bowman of BeerCharlotte.com

Beers of Joy is a documentary film that follows the story of four unique individuals as each undertakes an audacious pilgrimage, hoping to achieve enlightenment within the world of craft beer.  The film was released across the country on March 1st, 2019, and has already earned a number of critical accolades. Surprisingly, the film has received very little coverage from the Charlotte media, in spite of the Queen City enjoying a major part in the film.  Sugar Creek Brewing, a LoSo brewery specializing in Belgian-style ales, is working hard to remedy this oversight by hosting the first public Charlotte screening on June 28th.

At the center of the film are two men from very different backgrounds, both seeking to climb one of the most elusive summits in the brewing world: the Master Cicerone exam.  The film follows both Joe Vogelbacher, CEO and co-founder of Charlotte-based Sugar Creek Brewing, and Ryan Daley, educator at Anheuser-Busch’s High End business unit, as they prepare to take one of the most difficult written and sensory exams ever created, and one with a failure rate near 99%.  At the time of filming, only 13 individuals bore the title Master Cicerone, roughly one for each year of the program’s existence.

The film also tracks the escapades of two talented individuals on journeys of creation.  Tonya Cornett, the decorated head brewer at 10 Barrel Brewing, sets out on an expedition across Europe, pursuing the secrets behind brewing the world’s finest Berliner Weisse.  And Sean Z. Paxton, better known as the Homebrew Chef, tracks down the historical roots of American cooking and brewing traditions, endeavoring to prepare an authentic 16th century meal using only traditional tools and techniques.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing Beers of Joy with several folks directly involved in the movie’s creation: David Swift of One-Eleven Entertainment, who directed, wrote and produced the film, as well as Joe Vogelbacher and Eric Flanigan, the founders of Sugar Creek Brewing, who both appear in the film.  After spending a few hours both on the phone and in person with these three individuals, I can tell you that their passion is real, their vision is compelling, and their determination to deliver a profound vision of the world of beer is unshakable.  This is the story behind the story.

Click the source link below to view the whole story from Beer Charlotte!

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Coming to the Big Screen in Iowa City, IA June 8th!

$15 for FilmScene members / $20 for non-members

Ticket includes beer tasting from Exile Brewery, Lion Bridge Brewing Co., ReUnion Brewery and Big Grove Brewery!

3:00PM- beer tasting in FilmScene's lobby
4:00PM - Beers of Joy


"Aims to prove, once and for all, that life is best celebrated over a beer." - The Movie of My Life

Beers of Joy us a fascinating, entertaining, and savory journey into our world's favorite magical elixir. Feast upon stunning visuals of medieval monasteries, historic German villages, and breweries from across the world that serve as the backdrop for four people immersing themselves in their passion for beer. An internationally acclaimed brewer and a celebrated chef take separate journeys of discovery through Europe and early American, where two Advance Cicerones atempt to pass the prestigious Master Cicerone exam (beer's equivalent to wine's Master Sommelier), one of the most difficult tests in the world. Historians, scientists, clergy, brewers and - most importantly - the every man and woman add flavor to this love letter to beer.  

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