Stave & Thief Society Bourbon Certification is a premier training and education program established to promote and uphold bourbon’s unique and distinguished culture through hospitality channels by preparing establishments and individuals to deliver on the promise of the authentic bourbon experience.
The team at Distilled Spirits Epicenter designed the Stave & Thief Society Program. Founded in 2012, the Epicenter is an artisan distillery and education center purpose-built to support the distilling and spirits industry through hands-on training and education. Our faculty consists of over 50 industry experts, from the master distillers of the world’s most successful brands to the owners and operators of the leading craft distilleries. Several of our faculty members, along with management representatives from the hospitality industry, served as our advisory panel to help develop this training program.
This is the first Bourbon Certification program to be recognized by the bourbon industry. It was developed by professional distilling and spirits educators advised by a panel of experts in the bourbon and hospitality industries to provide a premium, standardized bourbon education that is accessible and holds real value. Member establishments will have exclusive access to bourbon industry experts, private sensory training, and Society networking events.
Highlights, Context, and What Applies Today
Classifications, Standards of Identity
Grain Selection to Aging and Mingling
Mashbills, Proof, Age, Congeners
Kentucky Distillers' Bourbons & Locations
Pairing & Recommendations
Consumer Assessment & Flavor Profiles
This level provides self-guided training for frontline hospitality workers of member establishments such as servers, bartenders, concierge and retail. Learning outcomes are designed to enable the participant to discuss bourbon confidently and accurately in a conversational manner, as well as assess the consumer’s preferences and make recommendations based on the consumer’s taste. Certified Stewards must pass an online exam as well as a sensory evaluation facilitated by the establishment’s Executive Bourbon Steward. This certification level is not offered for individual membership.Learn More
This level of certification provides classroom training, hands-on bourbon distilling, and advanced sensory training for owners, managers, program directors, and team leaders, as well as advanced enthusiasts. Learning outcomes are designed to give the Executive Bourbon Steward a real working knowledge of bourbon and bourbon production so that he or she can successfully train and support a staff of Certified Bourbon Stewards and advance the bourbon experience the establishment offers. This certification level is offered for individual membership, as well.Learn More
The Master level certification is an exclusive in-depth study for individuals who want to achieve the highest standard of bourbon scholarship. Participants in the MBS program are assigned a bourbon industry advisor who will guide and mentor them through the program. Participants must present before the Stave & Thief Society Panel to achieve Master status. This program will begin accepting candidate applications in late 2015.Learn More