Siebel & Cicerone


Founded in Chicago in 1872 as the Zymotechnic Institute, Siebel has trained generations of brewers across the globe. Today, it maintains a quite active schedule covering all aspects of beer production and quality control—many in concert with the respected Doemens Academy in Munich. I’ve been creating and teaching classes there since 2004, with a special focus on beer styles and recipe formulations as well as beer and food pairing. A class with similar content created for distributors and other non-brewing professionals became the basis for my best-selling book, Tasting Beer.

After nearly opening a brewery together in the 1990s, my friend Ray Daniels, who founded Cicerone, and I have taken different paths to educate people on our favorite subject. Myself, with writing, teaching and as a partner in two breweries; he mainly by creating a respected program that tests and certifies the knowledge level of beer professionals, much as Sommelier programs do. I can’t claim to be integral to Cicerone, but we’ve traded notes on a shared knowledge base since the beginning, and I still do some training directly for them and participate in the master-level exams. Many of the people who take my classes at Siebel do so in preparation for their Cicerone exams.

Dr. John Ewald Siebel founded the Zymotechnic Institute in 1868. In 1872 when the company moved into new quarters its name was changed to the Siebel Institute of Technology. in 2020, Siebel moved to its current “built to purpose” facility at 322 South Green Street in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop/Greektown area.

The Cicerone Certification Program offers independent assessment and certification so that industry professionals—as well as consumers—can be sure of the knowledge and skills possessed by current and prospective beer servers.