Provide advice on beers, spirits and liqueurs


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to evaluate a range of local and imported beers, spirits and liqueurs; provide advice to customers on their selection; and continuously extend personal product knowledge.

The unit applies to hospitality, retail, breweries and wholesale organisations that sell beers, spirits and liqueurs.

It applies to personnel who operate independently or with limited guidance from others and who have substantial specialist knowledge of beers, spirits and liqueurs. This includes beverage sales consultants, bar specialists, sommeliers, and senior bar and food and beverage attendants.

The sale and service of alcohol is subject to the provisions of Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) law in each state and territory of Australia. Skills and knowledge for compliance with this law are covered by the prerequisite unit SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Evaluate beers, spirits and liqueurs.

1.1.Identify and examine the characteristics of a range of both Australian and imported beers, spirits and liqueurs using sensory evaluation techniques.

1.2.Review other information about beers, spirits and liqueurs to complement sensory evaluation process.

1.3.Develop informed opinions about beers, spirits and liqueurs to support work as a beverage specialist.

2. Handle, store and monitor beers, spirits and liqueurs.

2.1.Store and cellar products according to particular requirements for different beers, spirits and liqueurs.

2.2.Monitor product quality and recognise impaired quality based on broad knowledge of beers, spirits and liqueurs.

2.3.Resolve issues with beverage quality through appropriate corrective action.

3. Advise customers on beers, spirits and liqueurs.

3.1.Provide accurate advice about Australian and imported beers, spirits and liqueurs to customers.

3.2.Discuss different styles and features of beers, spirits and liqueurs, taking account of customer level of knowledge.

3.3.Determine business considerations when providing advice and make adjustments accordingly.

3.4.Assist customers in selecting beverages according to taste, price preferences and other specific needs.

4. Extend and update knowledge of beers, spirits and liqueurs.

4.1.Conduct formal and informal research to access current, accurate and relevant information about beers, spirits and liqueurs.

4.2.Identify customer taste trends based on customer contact and workplace interactions.

4.3.Source information on current and emerging beverage service trends and customer preferences.

4.4.Provide informed input about beers, spirits and liqueurs to support organisational activities.

Evidence of Performance

Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

discuss the characteristics of each of the following local and imported beverage products with different customers on three different occasions:

basic spirits

mid and top range spirits

beer of different strengths

beer of different types

traditional and contemporary liqueurs

demonstrate the correct application of each of the following sensory evaluation techniques to evaluate beers, spirits and liqueurs:

smell or nose appraisal

taste appraisal

visual appraisal

provide current, accurate and relevant advice to each of the above customers to meet different taste and price preferences

maintain and continuously extend personal product knowledge to enhance workplace activities.

Evidence of Knowledge

Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

sensory evaluation techniques and their relevance to different types of beers, spirits and liqueurs:

smell or nose appraisal:

techniques for releasing aroma and bouquet

recognising ‘off’ odours

assessing intensity of aromas

describing smell characteristics

assessing age

taste appraisal:

techniques for releasing flavours (sucking in air, swirling over taste buds)

spitting techniques

recognising acidity, sweetness, weight or body, length, and faults

assessing balance of wine features on the palate

visual appraisal:

use of light and background

intensity and type of colour


identifying ‘legs’ or ‘tears’ to assess alcohol content

past, current and emerging trends in beverage service trends in the Australian liquor industry:

contemporary eating and drinking habits

cultural and ethnic influences

major events and festivals

media influence

seasonal and popular influences

overview of international trends in beers, spirits and liqueurs:

production methods for beers, spirits and liqueurs and the way that production affects the final product

key structural components of beers, spirits and liqueurs

characteristics of both Australian and imported beers, spirits and liqueurs:

low alcohol, light, mid strength and full strength beers

different beers:




pale or brown ale







different spirits:








ready to drink items

different liqueurs:


DOM Benedictine


Grand Marnier


Baileys Irish Cream



organisational activities for which knowledge of beers, sprits and liqueurs is required:

conducting product tastings and tours

providing product advice and selling beverages to customers

selecting or assisting with selection of products from suppliers

writing or providing input into:

beverage menus

beverage lists

food and beverage matching menus

factors that affect the quality of different beers, spirits and liqueurs

indicators of impaired quality of beer, spirit and liqueur products:


cork problems

flat products

storage requirements for different beers, spirits and liqueurs:

amount of ultraviolet (UV) light


shelf life

stock rotation



safety and hygiene issues of particular relevance to handling and storage of beers, spirits and liqueurs:

general awareness of potential dangers associated with inert gases used in beverage dispensing systems, and their impact on different workers

signage used for areas of restricted access

overview of types of foods that match successfully with different beers, spirits and liqueurs

formal and informal research methods to extend and update knowledge:

attending trade shows and product tastings

joining associations and industry bodies

reading general and trade media and supplier information

reading reference books

talking to product suppliers, winemakers or brewers

using the internet.

Assessment Conditions

Skills must be demonstrated in an operational beverage sales or service environment. This can be:

an industry workplace

a simulated industry environment.

Assessment must ensure access to:

fixtures and large equipment:

bar service area


reticulated beer dispensing system

storage area for glassware and drinks

small equipment:


nip measures



wide commercial range of:

bottled mixers

bottled and canned beers



basic spirits

organisational specifications:

beverage lists

organisational safety procedures

price lists

product information, product reviews and information on production methods

promotional materials and details of presentation sessions

reference texts on beers, spirits and liqueurs

industry realistic ratios of staff to customers; these can be:

staff and customers in an industry workplace during the assessment process; or

individuals who participate in role plays or simulated activities, set up for the purpose of assessment, in a simulated industry environment operated within a training organisation.

Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations’ requirements for assessors; and:

have worked in industry for at least three years where they have applied the skills and knowledge of this unit of competency.

Foundation Skills

Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

comprehend detailed product information, promotional material and reviews about beers, spirits and liqueurs.

Writing skills to:

summarise notes, and record information in basic documents, information sheets and files.

Oral communication skills to:

discuss and debate different ideas and opinions about products.

Learning skills to:

review own knowledge of beers, spirits and liqueurs and participate in activities that continuously update it.

Planning and organising skills to:

schedule regular checks on the storage of beverage products.

Self-management skills to:

take responsibility for sourcing and updating current and emerging product information.



Competency Field

Food and Beverage