Ray Daniels is the founder and director of the Cicerone Certification Program—the standard for beer sommeliers—and a member of the Senior Faculty of the Siebel Institute of Technology, America’s oldest brewing school. He is a veteran beer educator and promoter that has traveled to more than 30 different countries in search of great beer.
Daniels learned to homebrew in 1989, initiating his transformation from beer drinker to beer expert. He soon demonstrated his brewing aptitude, winning awards at the National Homebrew Competition and twice earning the title of Midwest Homebrewer of the Year. Soon he was writing and speaking about beer for a wide range of audiences from Ohio to Osaka and putting his managerial talents to work organizing competitions, tastings and festivals designed to introduce consumers to the flavors of great beer.
Ray is the author, editor or publisher of more than two dozen books on beer and brewing. Examples include his own Designing Great Beers (Brewers Publications, 1998), a classic of U.S. brewing literature; and the deliciously presented Best of American Beer and Food (Brewers Publications, 1997), which he published while serving as director of Brewers Publications. Other titles have covered specialties like smoked beer and farmhouse ales; monastic brewing and the art of English pub tending.
In 1998, Ray was named Beer Writer of the Year by the North American Guild of Beer Writers. Ray became certified as a beer judge in 1992 and has since accumulated thousands of beers worth of judging experience. He was first invited to judge professionally at the 1996 Great American Beer Festival and soon after at the World Beer Cup. In addition to judging and organizing competitions, he has trained consumers, servers and brewers in beer appreciation.