The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that CiderCon® 2023 will take place in Chicago, Illinois from January 31 – February 3, 2023. With tours, tastings, educational workshops, demos and more, CiderCon®’s Chicago homecoming is set to be an educational celebration of all things cider. Registration opened on September 29, 2022.
After a four year hiatus, the return of CiderCon® to Chicago has been much anticipated and the ACA has been working with folks on the ground in the Windy City to make the homecoming spectacular. This includes four exciting tour options: a look at Chicago’s history through the lens of taverns, a tour of the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago’s historical south side, a tour visiting three unique Chicago-based cideries, and a cider and architecture tour featuring the stunning works of world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
A full range of educational sessions will cover topics of cider production, marketing, sales, branding, sensory evaluation, compliance, business strategy, orcharding and more. Speakers include Claude Jolicoeur (author of Cider Planet), Yann Gilles (cider and wine consultant from France), Lester Jones (Chief Economist from NBWA), Julie Rhodes (Not Your Hobby Marketing), Mary Mills (3 Tier Beverage), Dr. J Nikol Jackson-Beckham (Brewer’s Association and Crafted for All), Elizabeth Ryan (Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider), Bryan Roth (Good Beer Hunting), Liz Garibay (Chicago Brewseum), Elizabeth Garofalo (Red Tomato Food Hub) and many more, plus new presenters joining every day.
“We have so many amazing sessions already lined up and others in the works, “ said ACA Executive Director, Michelle McGrath. “We’re emphasizing cider quality, terroir and retail strategy this year. It’s been rewarding to think about the impact of CiderCon® on the industry, and to rise to the challenge of deepening that. CiderCon® is very special and we’re committed to improving it every year.”
The extensive trade show, presented by longstanding ACA partner FruitSmart, will feature many beloved vendors excited for the return of CiderCon® to Chicago and welcome several first time vendors eager to join the cider community and meet conference attendees.
Tickets to CiderCon® are just $425 for for ACA members if booked by October 22. After October 22, member registration rates become $475. Public tickets are $725 for early registration and $775 after October 22.
More information about the wide array of events and educational sessions being offered and registration can be found on the CiderCon® website and you can follow @cidercon on Twitter for the latest news. CiderCon® is an ACA event produced with the generous support of our members and ACA’s premier sponsor, FruitSmart.
The American Cider Association has been working with organizations across the United States to urge Congress to support the USPS Shipping Equity Act (H.R. 3287/S. 1663).
The U.S. Postal Service is not allowed to ship cider, beer, wine, or distilled spirits, because of a leftover, outdated ban put into effect during the Prohibition era. The result? Restricting options for producers and customers alike, affecting many U.S. cideries where e-commerce is essential for business. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would give parity to the Postal Service, allowing it to ship licensed alcohol for commerce just like FedEex or UPS. Additionaly, the USPS Shipping Equity Act gives rural producers access to another option for shipping alcoholic beverages.
Recently organizations across the country, including the ACA, signed on to a letter sent to members of Congress encouraging them to support the USPS Shipping Equity Act.
The American Cider Association announced on September 15, 2022 that they awarded eight new beverage professionals with the esteemed title of Certified Pommelier™. The new cohort passed the required exam on August 18 at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House in Walden, New York. The new Certified Pommeliers™ are from New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Russia. From New York are Elissa Booth, Joe Gaynor, and Matt Wynkoop of Angry Orchard; Paige Flori of Boutique Wines, Spirits and Cider; Meredith Collins of the blog Along Came A Cider,; and currently residing in New York–cider enthusiast Marina Borsalina from Russia. From Virginia is Joshua Corl of Back Bay’s Farmhouse Brewery, and from North Carolina is cider enthusiast Adam Snyder.
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.
“At the center of what we do at Angry Orchard is innovation, and education is at its core. We were 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.”
The American Cider Association established its Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program in 2016 to educate those on the front-line of cider sales. The program began with a Level 1 certification to help those in the industry develop a fundamental understanding of cider. Recently, the ACA was pleased to celebrate 2000 Certified Cider Professionals.
The Certified Pommelier™ certification was developed to move beyond a fundamental understanding and to encourage cider professionals to think critically while demonstrating a higher understanding of the elements of cider. The rigorous test consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting).
“The Certified Pommelier™ exam is designed to be challenging, ” says Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the ACA. “However, accessibility remains important. We’re rolling out more and more study aids in 2022, with a book on the horizon.”
The next Certified Pommelier™ exam is planned for February 1, 2023 at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. You can learn more and register for the exam at CiderCon® 2023 on the ACA website.
The ACA asks that you contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey if you have questions about the program or are interested in taking either the Level 1 Certified Cider Professional test or the Certified Pommelier™ exam. You can also learn more at https://ciderassociation.org/certification.