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5th February 2012

Beer Academy Sommeliers Abroad

The second tranche of accredited Beer Sommeliers has been announced by the Beer Academy.  The latest recipients of the prestigious Beer Academy Sommelier title hail from the North of England, Scotland, Norway and the USA.  (See notes for editors for biographies of the latest Beer Academy Sommeliers)


The Beer Academy’s Chief Examiner, Dr George Philliskirk said “Brewers have always learned about new ingredients and beer styles from other nationalities.  This international dimension was really driven home to me by the enormous geographical spread of the latest sommeliers. Each candidate brought an entirely different perspective and highlighted how the thirst for beer knowledge goes far beyond the UK.  Their diverse traditions will enormously enhance the growing bank of knowledge that lies with the Beer Academy Sommeliers. ”


Beer Academy Director, Simon Jackson said “The creation of Beer Academy Sommeliers has created a real buzz around beer. Over the past couple of months, our Sommeliers have been interviewed by magazines, presented at beer dinners, written in newspapers, blogged for the BBC and featured on the radio.  It’s been a fantastic shop window for beer.  And the Beer Academy has seen a rush of interest in its qualifications as people see how the Sommeliers are using their beer knowledge to add a distinctive edge to their own businesses.”





For further information contact


Paul Hegarty

+44 (0)7808 096250


Notes for Editors.

Beer Sommelier Biographies

After a career in radio and 15 years in the record business, Ric Brown decided to pursue a newly found passion, craft beer. He set up the successful beer programme at Atlanta neighbourhood restaurant Muss & Turners. This included tastings, education and beer dinners. From many visits to the UK, he developed a passion for the pubs and real ale that the country is famous for. Moving to Edinburgh in 2007, Ric embarked on a marketing management programme at Napier University, earning a degree in 2011. Along the way he worked in some of the best real ale pubs, gaining experience in sourcing, selling, cellaring and pairing real ale with food and whisky.   Ric now lives in London and works for the Pubs of Distinction group, owners of the Dean Swift and Old Red Cow. His duties include designing and delivering beer events and other non-traditional revenue streams. Developing marketing concepts and product sourcing are also on his busy daily schedule.


Craig Steven chose business over brewing when he went to university. Fortunately in 1997 he got his foot back in the door by joining the Caledonian Brewing Company; initially as Telesales Development Manager and now Operations Manager. The latter role covers almost a bit of everything.  However the one where he has played a central role is in using his knowledge and passion to manage the Caledonian Guest beer portfolio. In the last 3 years he has increased their annual range from 12 to over 20 beers. With an excellent brewing team working in fantastic Victorian brew house, Caledonian  have developed a significant number of new beers, classical Scottish and English styles, inspired European interpretations, fruit and seasonal styles. Also looking after wholesale customers and route to market has allowed Craig to get great feedback on how these beers perform and see how market trends are developing.   Caledonian has developed beer festivals and beer menus, on style, tasting and food matching.  Craig has given many pub presentations and tastings over the last 12 months;   from just 2 miles from his house in Edinburgh to as far away as Denver.
Eric Mills is the son of a publican and grandson of a multisite tenant on his mother’s side. Always having an interest in beer, brewing and brewery history whilst  enjoying the odd beer, he worked in pubs and off licenses initially for pocket money and later part time and then full time. When his father retired, he followed a career as a building surveyor whilst still doing some part time work in the industry.  After a succession of career moves and changes he returned to the industry full time in1991 and has managed and tenanted pubs for various brewers and pubcos while dabbling in brewing, the most notable pub being the very successful B & T Brewery Wellington Arms in Bedford. He currently manages a Robinsons Pub for Mitchells of Lancaster.


Amund Arnesen’s passion for flavour and aroma goes back to his childhood. It was a treat every time he got to try something new and interesting.   At the age of seventeen, he got started in the restaurant business as a busboy and worked his way up to become a bartender. After initially focusing on drink mixology, his attention shifted to spirits specialising in Single Malt Whisky.  He enjoyed a few years as a Whisky Manager at one of Norway’s top Whisky bars, Dr. Jekylls. Then beer caught his eye and he had the fortune of having a managing role in the opening of Håndverkerstuene, one of the great beer and food restaurants in Norway, part of the young but growing Norwegian craft beer scene. Now based in Oslo as a restaurant consultant, Amund is able to enjoy his passion for good food and drink both at and outside work


Beer Sommelier Qualification Requirements.

People who wish to become Beer Academy Accredited Beer Sommeliers must have passed the following:

  1. The Beer Academy Advanced Course
  2. Beer Academy ‘How to judge beer ‘ Course
  3. The British Institute of Inn keeping (BII)  Award in Beer Cellar Quality (ABCQ) (for people working in the on trade only)

The applicant must also provide a Portfolio of Evidence demonstrating their practical competence in:

  • Use of beer menus or other similar schemes at retail level
  • Use of beer and food pairings
  • The use of beer range in retailing
  • Evidence of high beer retailing and image standards through POS, branded glassware, cellar hygiene standards and other relevant evidence

Applicants will be assessed in a viva voce with a Beer Academy examiner. The examination fee is £150 +VAT.  To apply, contact

The Beer Academy

The Beer Academy is an educational body that was founded by a small group of beer enthusiasts in 2003 to help people understand, appreciate and enjoy beer sensibly.

To date over 10,000 people have attended Beer Academy courses and tasting events such as the BBC Good Food Show, the Great British Beer Festival and the British Museum as well as in pubs and bars up and down the country.

The Academy offers a range of courses and qualifications ranging from a 90 minute tutored introduction to beer through to the two day Advanced Course for serious beer connoisseurs.  Full details of all Beer Academy Courses and events can be found    or follow us on Twitter @TheBeerAcademy