Beer sommelier

A beer sommelier


Beer sommeliers understand and advise on styles, brewing and best pairing of beers with foods in locations such as restaurants, breweries and shops. They know all about their ingredients, the history of the beers, glassware and draught systems. They prepare beer tastings, consult companies and customers, evaluate beer products and write about this subject.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to beer sommelier:

beer selection advisor
beer advisor

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a beer sommelier.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Beer sommelier is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Beer sommelier career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to beer sommelier.

coffee taster
wine sommelier
wine fermenter
cider fermentation operator
bulk filler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of beer sommelier. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of beer sommelier with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

green coffee coordinator
green coffee buyer
malt house supervisor
food production planner
dairy processing technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of beer sommelier.

  • Biotechnology: The technology that uses, modifies or harnesses biological systems, organisms and cellular components to develop new technologies and products for specific uses.
  • Beer downstream processing: The process of beer post-fermentation, including maturation and filtration.
  • Variety of beers: Variety of beers and their fermentation, ingredients and processes used during their production.
  • Fermentation processes of beverages: Fermentation processes related to the conversion of sugar to alcohol, gases and acids.
  • Brewhouse processes: The processes and techniques through which raw materials are converted into fermentable substrate for beer manufacturing.
  • Ingredients for beer production: Basic ingredients of beer, which consist of water, a starch source such as malted barley, brewer’s yeast to produce the fermentation and a flavouring such as hops.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of beer sommelier.

  • Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
  • Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Analyse trends in the food and beverage industries: Investigate trends in foodstuffs related to consumers preferences. Examine key markets based on both product type and geography as well as technological improvements in the industry.
  • Consult on beer presentation: Consult on the presentation of beers, labelling, and the image of the beer according to the taste and the perception of the client.
  • Describe the flavour of different beers: Describe the taste and aroma, or flavour of different beers using the adequate lingo and relying on experience to classify beers.
  • Pair beer with food: Pairs beer with dishes in order to match the right tastes.
  • Advise on beer production: Advise beer companies, small brewers and managers within the beer industry to improve the quality of the product or of the production process.
  • Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
  • Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
  • Apply extensive study of beer styles from around the world: Study and analyse beer styles from different countries and consult companies and people in the industry. 

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of beer sommelier. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Types of barley: The different types of barley; their characteristics, and quality.
  • Malting process: The malting process consists of soaking cereal grains, usually barley, and then halting further germination by kilning.
  • Modern brewing systems: The most updated systems and best available techniques in the brewing industry.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of beer sommelier. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Impart training on general quality management supervision: Provide training to production employees, in groups or individually, on standard operating procedures, product specifications, visual quality inspection criteria, production controls, formulas and food safety procedures.
  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Maintain relationship with customers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with customers in order to ensure satisfaction and fidelity by providing accurate and friendly advice and support, by delivering quality products and services and by supplying after-sales information and service.
  • Find new types of food & beverages: Be eager and interested in exploring the economic market to find new or less familiar types of food & beverages.
  • Apply foreign language for international trade: Communicate in foreign languages to facilitate international trade operations such as the importation of food and beverages.
  • Perform public relations: Perform public relations (PR) by managing the spread of information between an individual or an organisation and the public.
  • Maintain food specifications: Preserve, review, and evaluate existing food specifications such as recipes.
  • Train staff in beer knowledge: Develop beer lists, and provide beer service and training to the other restaurant staff.
  • Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
  • Measure precise food processing operations: Carry out accurately measured assignments with suitable tools and equipment in the process of producing food and beverages.
  • Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.

ISCO group and title

5131 – Waiters

  1. Beer sommelier – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Shelby L. Bell – CC BY 2.0
Last updated on November 9, 2022

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