Annette May talks to The News-Herald in “Head’s up! She’s the First Female Cicerone”

What a sommelier does for wine—helping guests pair the avors of a meal with the ideal vintage—certied cicerone Annette May of Allen Park does for beer.

May, who works as the beer department manager of Merchant’s Fine Wine in Dearborn, is the first woman to receive the certication developed by beer expert Ray Daniels, director of the Cicerone Certication Program.

The program’s goal is to identify people with great expertise who can guide consumers to enjoyable and high-quality experiences with great beer.

The term “cicerone” refers to a docent or guide and the approachable Allen Park Aussie with an encyclopedic knowledge of craft brewing is happy to show beer drinkers the way to what she calls “the good life.”

“I’m basically teaching people about understanding beer and what it is,” May said.

“I feel lucky that people are taking notice because I’m the first woman, but it’s not about me being the first woman, it’s about the program,” May said.

Each level of expertise spotlights ve areas of concentration that increase in complexity, but at the heart of each is getting beer to the consumer in the best possible condition.

Whatever the choice, the cicerone’s advice is simple: “Embrace beer. Embrace food. Don’t be afraid. And enjoy. Beer is very much still an aordable luxury in these tight times.”


The News-Herald article written by Barbara Wild. Published April 29, 2009.

FULL ARTICLE: First Female Cicerone (pdf, 972 KB)