2021 ACA Board Candidates

As a 501C-6 non-profit membership-based trade association for the US hard cider industry, each year the American Cider Association holds elections for our board of directors. The board members play a critical role in governance and oversight as well as guiding strategic decisions. Our bylaws have established specific seats that include representation for regions and cidery size (gallons produced). Our succession plan rotates which seats are up for election each year to ensure a mixture of new perspective and institutional knowledge. This year there are 3 seats who are up for election—2 are “At Large” and the third is for Large Cidery (>1M g; voted for among ‘Large Cidery’ members only).

Our elections are electronic with a vote by email system. Each cidery gets 1 ballot. Ballots are sent to the Primary Contact email in our database. Members are encouraged to get team input on who your cidery is voting for.

Ballots will go out Wednesday morning and will close Friday morning. Only active ACA members will receive a ballot. As there are two seats available for the At Large Director category, members will have the chance to cast a vote for two candidates.

It is our pleasure to introduce to you the 2021 ACA Board Election Candidates. At Large Candidates: Brooke Glover, James Chuck, Soham Bhatt and Tyler Butcher. Large Cidery Candidate: Ryan Burk. Scroll down to get to know all of these candidates and what they hope to do on the board of the ACA.

>>At-Large Board Candidates

Brooke Glover – Swilled Dog Hard Cider (West Virginia) Watch Brooke’s Candidate Statement and read her words below:

“My name is Brooke Glover, and I am the co-founder of Swilled Dog Hard Cider, a small cidery out of West Virginia. I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Board of the ACA for the past three years, including as Vice-President for the last two, as well as chair of the Marketing Committee and as a member of the Gov’t Affairs Committee. It would be an honor to continue my service to the industry and to our members and I’d like to focus on three things should I be re-elected: 1. Regulatory affairs and lobbying for our industry. We’ve had some significant wins this year in this department and I’d like to continue advocating for our members and keep the momentum to help make regulations fair and logical. 2. Continuing to act as a representative for our smaller cideries. Smaller cideries need to continue to have a voice in the decisions that affect our approach to the industry’s growth. This includes helping to get data that can be used to make business decisions and gain shelf space. 3. Continued growth of the industry. To fulfill the ACA’s mission of having a successful and diverse industry, we need to work together and support each other. Bringing together all cidermakers in this goal needs to continue to be a focus for our organization. Thanks so much! I would love the privilege of continuing to serve you and I appreciate your vote.”

James Chuck – Empire Cider (New York) Watch James’s Candidate Statement and read his words below:

“I know how tough the cider business is. I’m running for an At Large Board position because I want to help you and your company survive COVID and thrive once it’s over. I co-founded the Empire Cider Company in New York State in 2013 to make great ciders from New York apples. We’ve had some successes and failures, won awards and helped others throughout the country do so, too. I’ve served on the Marketing committees of both the ACA and the New York Cider Association, and am a member of the NYCA’s Social Justice Committee. As an At Large member I’d apply my background in hard cider company management, strategy consulting, social entrepreneurship, economic development and digital marketing to: 1) Help us all grow the US cider category by 50% to $2 billion with gains in every region and state; 2) Protect and increase cider shelf-space in off-premise accounts; 3) Support cider’s return to on-premise accounts so that sales and margins post-COVID are better than pre-COVID; and 4) Create tools and templates to help small and medium sized cideries achieve lasting profitability. Additionally, I would support Michelle’s work advocating to ensure an inclusive and successful US cider industry in which you can achieve healthy living-wages and sustainable economic viability in order to continue your passion of cider-making, environmental and land stewardship, and job preservation and creation in your community.

I’m committed to contribution and I’d be grateful for your vote and the opportunity to serve you as an At Large member on the Board of the American Cider Association. Thank you very much.”

Soham Bhatt – Artifact Cider (Massachussetts) Watch Soham’s Candidate Statement and read his words below:

“This past July during an otherwise hilarious monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live! comedian Iliza Shlesinger did a bit on hard seltzer brands. She joked, “the hard seltzer race, too many contenders!…we saw this gold rush with the flavored water game and hard cider game”. [cringe]. While it might be true that hard seltzer is getting saturated, I know for a fact that “the hard cider game” is anything but a gold rush. Having started my cidery with my best friend and our paltry pooled life savings, it was dispiriting to think that the mainstream understanding of this beverage had been reduced to a flash-in-the-pan, forgettable fad drink. Even after untold fits, starts, and the motivation pulverizing life of small business, I’m still optimistic about the promise of cider. I’m optimistic about the diversity of approaches we have in the United States and how we can collaborate with our peers across the globe. I’m excited about everything from exploring terroir in cider to the coolest co-ferment on the block. But I think that on the most fundamental level, it’s still a broadly and tragically misunderstood beverage. So my goal, if honored with the opportunity to serve on the board of the ACA, is a simple and focused one. I’d like to contribute and expand the work currently being done to figure out new and novel ways to educate the trade and our drinkers about cider, our different approaches, the value of diversity in those approaches, and why cider is not a fad. Despite our differences, there are a number of things that all cider producers can agree on and industry materials should reflect it. Perhaps someday as a result of these efforts, Iliza will know the difference between the ‘gold rush’ she referenced and the Gold Rush we care about.”

Tyler Butcher – Kekionga Cider Company (Indiana) Watch Tyler’s Candidate Statment and read his words below:

“Hello all. I am the co-founder of Kekionga Craft Company, which opened in July of 2017. We are a farm winery that is located within a historic apple mill, dating back to the late 1920’s. Cider is our primary focus, as we can and bottle for distribution in the 10-county area of northeast Indiana. I recently joined our company full time to manage all the business operations. I have 10+ years of experience in the accounting and finance industry. I have worked for companies with revenues that range from 12 mil up to 6 billion. Currently, I hold the position of treasurer for the Northeast Indiana Beer Trail. I am hoping that my passion for small business and the alcohol industry, combined with my financial background, would be a great fit for the American Cider Association.”

>> Large Cidery Board Candidate

Ryan Burk – Angry Orchard (New York) Watch Ryan’s Candidate Statement and read his word’s below.

“Hey, American Cider Association! Ryan Burk here from Angry Orchard. I am asking for your vote for my third term on the ACA board. I’m really excited to continue my work on the board, and to contribute at a high level to the cider industry at large. I definitely appreciate being able to be a bridge between CINA, that’s the Cider Institute of North America, and the American Cider Association Board. Education in the cellar is something that I’m personally interested in and invested in, not just for myself but for other cidermakers. Certainly education as relates to the CCP and the Certified Pommelier program, connecting with our friends in the bars, at the wholesaler, etc, provides an opportunity to elevate their own education and become experts in cider. We can continue to develop a shared language about what cider is. All of these things are really interesting to me, and I think are our greatest opportunities as we move forward with our dynamic and growing industry.

I think that I can share a local‑here in New York‑national, and global perspective, with the board, and with the industry, and I’m happy to continue to get that opportunity. Cheers and happy CiderCon!”

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