The Better Beer Society’s name pretty much sums up its mission: to help make craft beer better.
The main way they accomplish this task is through education, working directly with retailers to ensure everyone on staff is well-versed in beer styles, history, service, and food pairings (for retailers), and branding, marketing, operational and sales strategies, and event planning (for breweries). The BBS also offers Better Beer Society University, a semester-long, once-a-week course open to anyone interested in knowing more about all aspects of the beer industry.
Today, the BBS announced via press release that they’re upping their education game even more with what they’re calling the BBS Certification Program (BBSCP). Developed by Robin Shellman, BBS Founder and Certified Cicerone, under the management of BBS Education Director Michael Agnew, the BBSCP is a first-of-its-kind initiative and involves on-site training for Minnesota bars, restaurants, and taprooms.
The program employs Certified Cicerones as instructors and is designed to “equip front-of-the-house staff with the knowledge they need in achieving best practices for selling, serving, and handling beer.” More than just a one-time class, the BBSCP involves intensive staff training as well as a series of inspections throughout the year. Areas of focus include beer storage, sales, and service; beer styles and culture; beer tastings and flavors; brewing ingredients and processes; and pairing beer with food. All of this goes to ensure that a certified establishment is indeed “offering a more complete experience for beer enthusiasts.”
As craft beer grows in popularity and prevalence, this type of program is exactly the kind of education needed to keep restaurants up to date and servers in the know for the benefit of beer-loving customers. Currently, just three Twin Cities restaurants—Happy Gnome, Republic, and Bryant Lake Bowl—are BBS Certified. Hopefully that number will soon be much higher.
In addition to the BBSCP release, the Society also announced that, effective immediately, they’ll be offering complimentary draft-system consultations to any bar, restaurant, and taproom in the Twin Cities metro; they’re calling it Brewer Approved.
“This is an education issue as much as it is a sanitation issue,” the release says. “We have created a program designed to improve upon the current draft quality standards here in Minnesota, working with and educating retailers on how best to improve their systems and practices.”
According to the BBS, Minnesota is currently considered to be one of the worst markets in the country for draft-line cleanliness due to the state’s minimal regulations for cleaning. In an effort to reverse this unfortunate trend, BBS offers expert draft maintenance and full-service line cleaning to any location that requests it. This will improve current draft-quality standards as well as educate retailers on how to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and be absolutely certain that they’re serving guests clean, funk-free pints. In other words, everyone wins.