Additional Resources for CSS Candidates


While the CSS is basically a self-study course and you can certainly buy the test, read the book by yourself and then take the exam, SWE provides a range of educational activities and resources for CSS Candidates. Some of these are listed below:

The Insider’s Guide to the CSS Exam: Offered once a month, this hour-long SWEbinar will cover all aspects of the CSS, including what the test covers, how difficult the test is, what type of questions to expect, the resources available to students, and how long SWE recommends for study before sitting the exam. This session is led by Jane A. Nickles, CSS, CWE (SWE’s Director of Education). The webinar is free-of-charge and available to the public.  Click here to find our complete SWEbinar schedule, which includes the Insider’s Guide to the CSS Exam.

Online Prep Classes: SWE offers guided, 10-module online CSS Prep classes.  These classes are available free-of-charge to Professional Members of SWE who have a valid CSS Exam attendance credit. These classes include weekly Study Guide and workbook assignments, opportunities for further learning, a complete suite of flashcards, weekly check-out quizzes, an end-of-course sample practice CSS exam, and weekly “live, online” webinars. Click here for more information on the CSS prep classes.

The CSS Workbook: A workbook to accompany the 2016 Certified Specialist of Spirits Study Guide is now available. The workbook contains over 1,700 exercises and sample multiple-choice questions intended to promote understanding, retention, and engagement with the material. Workbooks may be purchased on the SWE “Catalog and Store” webpage.


Testing Centers: CSS testing is available throughout the world, by appointment, at Pearson Vue Professional Centers. Within a few days of purchase of the CSS Exam credit, you will receive an email with an authorization code from Pearson Vue Testing Centers. The authorization code will allow you to make an appointment and sit the exam at a Pearson Vue Professional Center at the time and place of your choosing. Authorization codes are good for one year. Click here for more information about SWE testing at Pearson Vue Centers.

Spirits Maps: The maps and diagrams included in the CSS Study Guide are available for download on our blog. Candidates are encouraged to print out full-page copies of the maps and mark them up to their hearts’ content as a method of active study. These maps may also be used to study digitally on either a desktop or a mobile device. Click here to find these materials.

eBook: Our CSS Study Guide is available and an eBook, and is available on both Amazon and iTunes. The cost is $19.95. While a softback copy of the Study Guide is included with the price of the CSS Exam, many people appreciate the convenience of having an eBook as well.

The Online Spirits Academy: Available to professional members of SWE via the SWE website, the Online Spirits Academy is an on-demand learning platform covering spirit production, sensory evaluation of spirits, and modules for every major spirit category. Each module of the Online Spirits Academy includes pre-tests, post-tests, study aids and exercises. The Academy also features a full-length “practice” CSS exam. 


SWEbinars: We offer monthly “SWEbinars,” free-of-charge and open to the public. These sessions, scheduled at several different days and times throughout the month, are based on the CSS Study Guide and associated topics (we also offer sessions for those studying the CSW and CWE). Recent sessions have included “The Gin is In;” “The Romance of Scotch Whisky,” and “Tequila, Mezcal, and More” Click here for more information on SWEbinars and the current schedule.

SWE’s Wine and Spirits Quiz App: Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, SWE offers a free Wine and Spirits Quiz app. The app includes 1,000 wine and spirits knowledge questions arranged into ten categories and ten difficulty levels. Test yourself, or challenge your friends! You may download the app from either iTunes or Googleplay. Click here to learn more about the app.

If you have any questions about the CSS Exam or any of SWE’s other programs, please contact SWE’s Director of Education at:


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