Talking Gender Equality In The Beer Industry With The First Female Cicerone In NYC

Talking Gender Equality In The Beer Industry With The First Female Cicerone In NYC

As it currently stands, the beer industry is still dominated by men. This isn’t too shocking — men also drink beer way more than women. According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, 54% of men consider beer their go-to alcoholic beverage while only 23% of women would choose beer over wine or cocktails. But the latter number is on the rise and it’s time for brewing’s boys club to throw open the doors.

In recent years, women have made a strong mark in the world of beer, while fighting stereotypes in a male-heavy industry. They’ve taken roles as brewers, tasters, and marketing directors — adding fresh energy into the scene. One of these women is Anne Becerra, the first ever certified female Cicerone in New York City. Becerra’s title makes her the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier and she also maintains a role as Beer Curator and Director at Treadwell Park.

This week, she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her history, the pressure of being the first female Cicerone in NYC, and how women can continue to make an impact in beer.

What is your history with beer?

I’ve always loved all things culinary — food, wine, spirits, you name it. But when I first tasted Belgian beer a whole new world of flavors opened up. The beers were some of the best in the world, and for the most part they cost less than some of the worst wines I was probably drinking at the time.

Trying new beers became a fun hobby, one that I brought with me on a road trip cross country. Whenever we’d get to a new state, or town I’d do my best to get a taste of the local beers, try new things and get to know a little about the breweries. I realized craft beer was about more than just the liquid inside, it was a peek into the culture, people and stories of these places. When I got back to New York I decided to try my hand at a job in beer. I started working at a beer bar in Manhattan and never looked back.

What made you decide to become a Cicerone?

By the time the Cicerone organization came around, I was already working in beer — taking notes, reading everything I could, visiting breweries, etc. But there were a few elements that weren’t part of my day to day that I wanted to learn about too, like the brewing process and draft systems. Signing up for a test, paying for it and committing to it made me buckle down and study subjects that I may have put off otherwise.

How difficult was it to get this certification?

The test itself is no piece of cake, it requires in depth knowledge of a range of subjects, and an ability to explain them both technically and conversationally. But I was genuinely interested in the subject matter, so studying and learning was more exciting than stressful. By the time I signed up for the test I felt comfortable and prepared, and it paid off.