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Bottoms Up! Yard House Boosts Beer Expertise

October 12, 2018

by Darden Restaurants

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Bottoms Up! Yard House Boosts Beer Expertise

Paul Sheehan (left) and David Favreau of the Yard House restaurant in Orlando, FL, are now Certified Beer Servers after passing the first level of Cicerone® training.

Photo Credit: Darden Restaurants

Bottoms Up! Yard House Boosts Beer Expertise

October 12, 2018

by Darden Restaurants

General Topics:
Brand Categories:
If you don’t know your Belgian Pilsner from your IPA, have no fear. Yard House, already a leader in introducing guests to the craft beers most suited to them, is increasing its ale expertise.
 
In July, the brand began to offer voluntary training to managers, bartenders and server/trainers in the Cicerone® Certification Program, craft beer’s version of a sommelier program. Founded 10 years ago by brewer and beer expert Ray Daniels, the four-level program has become the industry standard for identifying people with significant knowledge and professional skill in beer sales and service.
 
Already, 100 Yard House team members have completed the training, passed the test and become Certified Beer Servers (the first level in the Cicerone program), with 140 more working toward becoming certified. Assistant General Manager Paul Sheehan and Server David Favreau of the Yard House restaurant in Orlando, FL, recently became certified. “It was an exceptional benefit that Yard House provided the ability to complete the first step of Cicerone testing,” Paul said. “It’s important to certify as part of mastering the craft of beer because it’s a big part of what we provide our guests.”
David said he thought the course covered important material, especially about the different styles of beer and their geographical regions. “I think it was a very small step in the beer world, but I wanted this certification to expand my beer knowledge and earn the recognition.”
 
Ashley Budnick, a trainer based at the Yard House in Denver, CO, enjoyed learning about the impact history has had on styles of beer. “It was a great opportunity for my personal growth and an opportunity to gain more professional knowledge,” she said.
 
Yard House Beverage Manager Michael Echeveste said Yard House was wise to invest in its team members this way. “We want to provide them with this world-class training so that Yard House can remain the altar of beer and provide an experience unlike anywhere else. It’s important that when a guest walks into one of our restaurants, they receive the type of beer expertise they would expect for wine in a white-tablecloth, fine-dining establishment.”
 
Michael knows of what he speaks — he, too, is a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone program, working toward the next level, Certified Cicerone®. The four levels progress to the most complex and demanding, Master Cicerone®, of which there are only 16 in the world. 
 
The Certified Beer Server program, which is provided at no cost to team members and has to be completed online outside the restaurant, contains three parts:
A BeerSavvy course that takes 5 to 8 hours 
A 30-minute timed test with 60 multiple-choice questions
Certification for all who score 80 percent or higher 
 
Ray, the Cicerone program’s director, has more than 25 years of experience brewing, judging, studying and writing about beer. He created the exams and grades them with the help of his staff of 11 in Chicago.
 
“The scope of Yard House’s effort represents a huge contribution to beer quality for consumers,” Ray said. “Expanding the knowledge that bartenders and servers can draw on to provide fantastic beer service enhances beer enjoyment for everyone — and it raises the bar across the industry. We are really excited to help make that happen.”

Said Michael: “We have always positioned ourselves as beer experts. Our partnership in the Cicerone program verifies that position.”
 
Find out for yourself during Oktoberfest, which Yard House is celebrating now through Oct. 28 with German-inspired food, limited-time beers and souvenir beer steins.
 
Answer To Practice Question: Banana.