01 Mar 2014

No Small Beer

Re: Beto Sicupira (OPM 9); Marcel Telles (OPM 10); Ray Daniels (MBA 1983)
by Daniel Morrell


The biggest thing in the beer business these days is the little guy. Research firm Technomics reported that the craft beer and premium import market rose almost 15 percent in 2012, with an "upward trajectory" that continued in 2013. And beer makers are looking to meet the needs of the growing market: The Brewers Association trade group reported a 20 percent jump in breweries in the United States last year, up to 2,514 from 2,092 in 2012. Even the mainstream megabrewers have taken notice, with everyone from MillerCoors to Anheuser-Busch InBev—whose board includes Jorge Paulo Lemann, Beto Sicupira (OPM 9, 1984), and Marcel Telles (OPM 10, 1985)—acquiring or rolling out new craft beer divisions in the past few years to keep up with consumers' changing palates. Here's a look at some of the HBS alumni leading the craft beer revolution and—with the help of beer expert Ray Daniels (MBA 1983)—a cheese pairing of their wares.  —Dan Morrell

Taste Tester

Ray Daniels's Cicerone Certification Program is aiming to build a new generation of beer experts. "Beer is far more fragile than most people realize, and too often it is ruined by improper storage, handling, or service," says Daniels, who started the program in 2008. "We teach and test the right way to do things—and also cover beer history, culture, and a solid understanding of flavor." So far, more than 30,000 people have achieved first-level Certified Beer Server status through the program, and 1,000 have earned Certified Cicerone status. Only a handful of connoisseurs, however, has passed the two-day exam to "pull themselves up to the top rung of Master Cicerone," says Daniels.


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