CGA has taken a deeper look at consumers’ recent behavior when it comes to On Premise beverage purchases. They shared these highlights of their recent research:
- On Premise visitation remains relatively static
- 33% are spending more per visit to a bar or restaurant vs. 18% spending less than they were three months ago – price increases have driven the increased spend
- Two in five expect to have to cut back on their future On Premise visits due to cost of living increases
It’s clear that inflation and lingering impacts of the pandemic are having an effect, but the good news is that 9% of bar and restaurant consumers reported cider as their beverage of choice in the last 3 months. Learn more with these reports from our partners at CGA.
Cider can be a misunderstood beverage and with its increasing popularity in the United States the American Cider Association felt it was vital to create an education based program that would help those who work on the front line of cider sales speak in a knowledgeable manner about the ciders they’re selling, serving, and supporting. Thus, in 2016 the American Cider Association founded the Certified Cider Professional program (CCP) to educate those in retail and trade about cider. The success of the program is in the numbers. In just six years, 2000 people have become Certified Cider Professionals.
“We couldn’t be more delighted that 2000 have chosen to become Certified Cider Professionals,” says ACA Executive Director Michelle McGrath, “Reaching tastemakers and influencers is part of our broader strategy to increase cider sales and we look forward to watching the ranks of Certified Cider Professionals continue to grow.”
The ACA has continued to improve the CCP program since its inception and now offers a bundle package for those interested in becoming Certified Cider Professionals. The bundle includes a full study guide, an on-demand webinar, and access to the online 60 question exam. There are bulk discounts available for those wishing to get their staff certified and discounted pricing available to ACA members.
In addition, the ACA has developed a second tier Certified Pommelier™ designation. Certified Pommeliers™ must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered in CCP Level 1, but must also be able to think critically and use the basics to demonstrate a higher understanding of the elements of cider. In order to become a Certified Pommelier™ candidates must sit for an in person exam that consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). So far, 38 people have passed the rigorous exam and you can get to know them on the Certified Pommelier™ page.
To learn more about the Certified Cider Professional program you can head to the Certification page of the ACA website. For more information about the program, bulk discounts, and member discounts contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey.
The American Cider Association is please to share that we have six synced audio presentations from CiderCon® 2022 held in February in Richmond, Virginia to share with members. If you missed the presentations or were unable to attend CiderCon® this year, now is your chance to do a little catch-up.
These synced presentations can be found in our Membership Portal, as well as presentation notes from many of the sessions held at CiderCon® 2022. You must be a member to access this information and you will be prompted to login to view the presentations.
TAKE THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM AT CIDERCON® 2023!
Are you ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? Already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification and looking for that next challenge? Now’s your chance! The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that the next Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois! The exam will take place February 1, 2023 starting at 8:30am at CiderCon® 2023. Read on to learn more about the Certified Pommelier™ Exam and how to prepare, what to expect, and how to register! (P.S. There’s a discount code available for ACA members who want to take the test. You can find that code HERE by logging in to your account.)
WHAT IS THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM?
American Cider Association’s mission is to grow a diverse and successful U.S. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources and services to our members and by advocating on their behalf. One way to fulfill this mission is through the Certified Cider Professional Program–a program aimed at educating the front-line of cider sales (distributors, retailers, bartenders and more!).
The intro-level certification (CCP Level 1) is an online test that can be taken at any time. The more advanced level of certification–the Certified Pommelier™ exam–is a sit-down hand-written exam: part short answer, part essay questions, and part sensory and taste evaluation questions. *CCP Level 1 is a prerequisite for Certified Pommelier.
Certified Pommeliers™ must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered in CCP Level 1, but must also be able to think critically and use the basics to demonstrate a higher understanding of the elements of cider. The exam consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting).
The test is meant to be challenging. Studying is highly recommended.
The topics covered in the exam are:
- Apples, the Orchard & History
- Cider Making
- Flavor & Evaluation
- Cider Families
- Keeping & Serving
- Food & Cider
- Social Responsibility
*If a test-taker passes only the written or only the tasting portion of the exam, they are permitted the opportunity to retake the un-passed portion of the exam at a future date (within 18 months).
WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED POMMELIER™?
Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements that are often misunderstood by food and beverage professionals. Certifications are increasingly used in the professional realm to set oneself apart as an individual with specialized knowledge, though cider is often covered in a cursory manner by most certification programs, if at all. Although there are already more than 1,700 Level 1 Certified Cider Professionals, being recognized as a Certified Pommelier™ will put you in the vanguard of verified advanced cider specialists in this ever growing category.
HOW MUCH DOES THE TEST COST?
For ACA members, the exam is $200 per attempt. There is a discount code that members can access to receive the exam at the membership rate of $200. That discount code can be found here. For non-members, the exam is $275. Should it be needed, test takers can retake future written or tasting portions of the exam at a separate sitting with a 25% discount. Price now includes access to a pre-recorded introductory webinar to the updated sensory form and sample sensory forms from key cider regions. The webinar can be accessed at any point to prepare for your exam.
- Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? YES- You must be 21 or older and you must provide an ID to prove you are who you say you are.
- Do I need to pass the level 1 CCP exam to take the Certified Pommelier™ test? Yes. Passing the Level 1 CCP exam is a prerequisite. If you have not yet taken the Level 1 exam, you can purchase the Level 1 bundle on demand HERE. The bundle includes an on-demand webinar, study guide, and access to the online exam.
- What can I bring into the event? Nothing may be brought into the exam room. Cell phones must be left at the door. Pencils and drinking water will be provided.
- How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please contact CCP contributor and proctor Jennie Dorsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What’s the refund policy? We will refund test takers up two weeks before the exam.
- Is there a training workshop? This is not a workshop, but an exam only. Once you register for your exam, study materials including webinars and study guides will be emailed to you. There is also a dedicated Facebook Group (that is open for all to join) with prep materials and in depth peer conversations. STUDY! We highly recommend interviewing cidermakers and cider tenders to help prepare. Blind tasting flights are also good prep. In addition, two new upcoming sensory webinars will be released in fall of 2022 and available for purchase.
- Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? If you are transferring registration to another person, please email us in advance.
- Is there a tasting section on the test? Yes. You will be asked to evaluate ciders from multiple cider families.
- How long does the test take? You are given 2 hours to complete the theory portion of the exam and 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the sensory portion. There will be a 15 minute break in between exam portions.
Refund and Opt Out Policy
Refunds will be offered up to 2 weeks before the exam.
Any purchaser can opt out of the exam up to 72 hours prior to scheduled time. If opt out is chosen, another exam date must be chosen within 18 months. No refunds will be given.
The American Cider Association (ACA) will be holding their third Certified Pommelier™ exam of 2022 in Walden, New York on August 18 at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House. Cider’s popularity has dramatically increased in the last several years, but that doesn’t mean the food and beverage community understands this exciting beverage category. That’s why the ACA created a way for food and alcohol industry professionals to, not only gain knowledge and expertise, but also to prove their cider knowledge through our Certified Cider Professional program (CCP).
“At the center of what we do at Angry Orchard is innovation, and education is at its core. We’re thrilled to host a Certified Pommelier™ Exam on the east coast and give more industry members the opportunity to advance their education,” says Will Loughlin, Certified Pommelier™ and Assistant Cidermaker at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House. “We see the Pommelier™ Certification as an excellent tool to highlight exceptional individuals, as well as the cider industry as a whole. We’re thrilled to see interest in the exam growing and gaining more standing alongside wine and beer programs.”
There are two levels of certification available in the CCP program. Level 1 CCP is designed for people who would benefit from a deeper but still introductory level of cider knowledge. The ACA has created a bundle that includes an on-demand webinar, study guide, and two online test attempts. The more advanced Certified Pommelier™ test covers more in depth cider knowledge, including sensory evaluation. Successful completion of Level 1 CCP is required to sit for the in-person Certified Pommelier™ exam.
“We really want people to learn about cider and see what a nuanced and exciting beverage it is. That’s why we’ve created study guides, reading lists, webinars, and a Facebook group to help people study for the Certified Pommelier™ exam. It is rigorous, but we want to set people up to succeed,” states Jennie Dorsey, ACA Cider Education Outreach Manager.