Business Management

Alumni Testimonial: How to become a beer sommelier?

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Produced by



Alfred Zuberbuehler

Executive Chef at EHL Passugg


Our student Sandra Lopar made her marks in this relatively new but growing profession as a beer sommelier

A beer sommelier, also called a cicerone, is a trained professional, working in the hospitality and alcoholic beverage industry, who specializes in the service and knowledge of beer. The knowledge required for a beer sommelier certification includes an understanding of styles, brewing, ingredients, history of beer and brewing, glassware, beer service, draft systems, beer tasting, and beer pairings.

The Swiss beer market

It is a little-known fact, but Switzerland holds an unusual world record; that of having the most breweries per capita. It is home to more than 1'000 active beer producers, putting it ahead of countries like the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Austria or Canada which have long-standing reputations for brewing the amber liquid.

Diverse beer tastes

The multiplication of regional and micro-breweries in Switzerland is certainly a product of the evolution of tastes. Many consumers prefer to drink less but better by seeking out diverse and locally brewed beers. They are also ready to pay a higher price for a more authentic flavor. As numerous local specialities are appearing more frequently in the market, this offers a fantastic playground for beer sommeliers.

It is in this market, rich in diversity, that Sandra Lopar, a Swiss Professional Degree student at EHL Campus Passugg has embarked in a journey to acquire the skills and know-how to develop in this field while exploring the various career opportunities the hospitality industry has to offer.

Meet Sandra Lopar

My passion and my lifeblood motivate me to never stand still and to always develop myself further. I live my dreams, fight for my goals, and am grateful for the learning fields I am allowed to tread every day. I see myself as a commercial all-rounder who loves to travel, with an affinity for human resources, a soft spot for finance and accounting and a great passion for the lively gastronomy and hotel industry.

"I am passionate about beer, and I am incredibly proud of how strongly the Swiss beer scene has developed. It's a big boom and just great to watch. Beer has become much more than just a drink you have at the end of the working day. It's a lifestyle product, it embodies passion, enjoyment, variety and adventure. It finally enjoys the status it deserves. And I'm totally thrilled to be a beer ambassador and a beer sommelier."

Hospitality studies are a place to explore your passions

Hospitality management studies are composed of diverse topics - a bit like beers! From operational classes like reception, cuisine or service to marketing, accounting and management, it offers students the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects and discover where their passion or interest lies.

Sandra Lopar, like many Swiss Professional Degree students, has been able throughout her exploration journey at EHL Campus Passugg, to confirm her passion for beer and develop a strong interest for Human Resources. Both of which make for a diverse and promising professional and personal life.

"EHL Campus Passugg is a wonderful platform to keep discovering yourself and new passions. We get so many interesting, future-oriented insights and can expand our horizons every semester. I have been able to discover a lot of new things about myself. I have become much more aware of sustainably, "regionality" has taken on a new importance, I'm even more interested in different gastronomy concepts... And privately, I'm living out my joy of baking bread and experimenting with different spice blends from all over the world."

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