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Certified Specialist of Spirits

Certification Program

The Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) Exam is a rigorous exam, which tests a candidate's spirits knowledge and mastery of key elements within the world of distillation and spirits production.

This certification is widely recognized and regarded by the international wine and spirits industry.

The CSS Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, all the material for which is drawn exclusively from the CSS Study Guide. Candidates are provided with one (1) hour in which to complete the exam. The CSS Study Guide is included with the cost of a CSS Certification Exam sitting, and will be sent to you from the SWE Home Office upon purchase. Accordingly, the CSS certification is meant to be self-study educational program. There are no formal sessions to attend. However, on occasion the Society offers an optional CSS Review, which some candidates find useful.

Exams are offered throughout the year in numerous locations in both the United States and abroad. Please check the Exam & Seminars calendar for a current list of exam dates and locations.  Specific topics tested include: Fermentation & Distillation; Whiskies; Brandies; Vodka; Liqueurs; Gin; Rum; and Tequila.  Once candidates purchase the CSS Exam from the Catalog, they need to register for the exam of their choice on the exam calendar.  Exam registrations are good for one full year from the date of purchase.

As of April 30, 2014, the CSS Exam will be available at Pearson Testing Centers worldwide.  Those candidates that wish to use a testing center will be sent an authorization code after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE Website.  With the authorization code, a CSS Exam may be scheduled through Pearson at the candidate’s preferred time and place. More information on the availability of Pearson Testing Centers will be posted in the near future.

The SWE is happy to offer a new online resource for CSS candidates.  The Online Spirits Academy is a supplemental online course, designed to aide candidates in their studies.  It covers the same topics as the CSS Study Guide, while providing automatically graded quizes and tests, that help an individual understand what they need to study.  Please note, though, that all questions on the CSS Exam are drawn from the CSS Study Guide.

There are no prerequisites required to take the CSS Exam.

Successful candidates who achieve a score of 75% or better are entitled to use the CSS post-nominal as part of their professional signature. They will also receive a certificate (suitable for framing) and a CSS lapel pin.

The Society offers special rates for partnering corporations, private wine schools and accredited culinary schools and colleges/universities. Contact us for more information.