Three Upcoming ACA Webinars

The American Cider Association is pleased to share that we have several upcoming webinars in the next month and we hope you’ll join us at one or all of them. Read on to learn more about these webinars and to find links to register!

March 22 – 11:00 AM Pacific: 3 Tier Beverages Dashboard Orientation for ACA Members

3 Tier Beverages, in partnership with NielsenIQ, is proud to be the official data supplier of the American Cider Association. Part of this partnership brings ACA members quarterly dashboards with key market data and insights to help you drive your business forward. This webinar will walk ACA members through these dashboards so you can make the most of this unique offering. This webinar is for active ACA members only. Join now or renew your membership by clicking here.

March 24 – 9:30 AM Pacific: Coffee Chat with Vinoshipper: 2022 Cider Trends for Online Sales

Vinoshipper Senior Analyst Taylor Harrison will lead us through a look back at their data from 2022 and also provide a quick snap shot of what they’re seeing at the beginning of 2023 with regards to sales, packaging, and demographics! Want to check out some of the data before Taylor’s presentation? You can download it here. This webinar is open to all.

April 18 – 11:00 AM Pacific: ACA Annual Membership Meeting

The American Cider Association is pleased to invite our members to join us for the Annual Membership Meeting. We will review last year’s accomplishments, examine our strategic plan, and share what’s in the works for the year ahead. We look forward seeing all of you virtually and hearing your ideas for how we can promote the US cider industry. You must be an Active ACA Member to participate in the Annual Membership Meeting. You can join or renew your membership here.

ACA Welcomes 20 New Certified Pommeliers™ Following CiderCon® 2023

The American Cider Association is thrilled to announce that twenty people have newly earned the title of Certified Pommelier™ as a result of the exam held at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois last month. It is the largest passing cohort of any Certified Pommelier™ exam to date. 

The new Certified Pommeliers™ are: Ann Marie Thornton of James Creek Cider House (NC), Anthony Lopez of Casa de Oro Cider (CA), Brian Wing, James Kerr & Khris Johnson of Green Bench Brewing (FL), Cam Workman of Schilling Cider (WA), Casey Simpson of Artifact Cider Project (MA), Danny Dispo of Hydraulic Hearth (NY), David Lugo of the Clyde Theatre (IN), Deirdre Birmingham of The Cider Farm (WI), Geoff Happel (NC), Ian Niblock (VA), Karl Hartdegen (NC) & Max Finnance (CT) of Bold Rock Hard Cider, Janelle Balsillie of Carolinia Cider Company and Heeman’s Cidery and Meadery (ON), Joseph Nosse of Frontier Ciderworks (OH), Sarah Pozgay of Twin Cities Somms (MN), Walker Smith of Goldeneye Cider (WA), cidermaker Eric Gasser (CA), and cider enthusiast Brandon Buza (CA). You can learn more about our Certified Pommeliers™ on the ACA website.

Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements that are often less understood 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. This led the American Cider Association to establish its Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program to educate those on the front-line of cider sales. Today it is the world’s most comprehensive and in-depth cider certification program for beverage professionals. 

The Certified Cider Professional program began with a Level 1 certification to help those in the industry develop a fundamental understanding of cider. 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). Test questions fall into seven categories: Apples, the Orchard & History, Cidermaking, Evaluation, Families & Flavor, Keeping & Serving, Food & Cider and Social Responsibility.

“To see twenty people pass the Certified Pommelier™ exam in one sitting is remarkable for many reasons,” says Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA. “People are valuing the Certified Pommelier™ designation and putting in the hard work of preparing for the exam. It’s exciting to watch ACA’s cider appreciation program grow and succeed.”

While the Certified Pommelier™ exam is designed to be challenging, the ACA is dedicated to making sure all the information tested on is accessible to those desiring to learn. To that end, the ACA recently announced the release of their new textbook to help candidates prepare to take the exam. Those interested in preparing for the exam can purchase the new textbook through Kindle Direct Publishing. In addition, sensory analysis practice webinars and a Facebook study group are continually being updated with resources for candidates studying for the exam. Links to all CCP resources can be found on the ACA’s website

“We have seen a huge advantage for candidates that utilize the study aides we make available,” states Jennie Dorsey, ACA’s Cider Education Outreach Manager. “We’ve also witnessed new professional connections form through ACA prep-webinars and informal study groups. It’s exciting to see networking as one of the CCP program’s many positive impacts on the cider community.”

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. 

The next Certified Pommelier™ exam will be scheduled for the Bay Area of California in September, and more tests dates will be announced shortly. You can also learn more at


Celebrating Women’s History in the Cider Industry

Happy International Women’s Day! 

What is this day for? International Women’s Day is a day to bring awareness to the lack of gender equity on our planet. Where does the U.S. fall in gender equity progress? The gender gap in pay is one measure of dynamic inequalities–just last year, U.S. “women earned 82% of what men earned, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers.” (Pew Research) Researchers also found that this number hasn’t changed much in 20 years. 

As a cider industry, we can take steps to ensure we are part of progress on gender equity. Here are a few ways your cidery can lead the way on gender equity in hiring and HR:

  • Post all jobs with a pay rate. 
  • Avoid using gendered pronouns in job descriptions. 
  • Evaluate your pay scales for equality–are people earning the same wage for similar positions?
  • Use established skill-based assessments to promote. 
  • Invest in making sure your company and your establishment are taking proactive steps to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination. 
  • Increase women and non-binary representation in leadership and decision-making teams. 

In what ways are you promoting gender equity at your cidery? 

Did you miss Dr. J’s presentation at CiderCon® on Retaining Great Talent? Her tips are useful for recruiting and retaining a talented gender-diverse workforce. Check out her slides here.

Celebrate Women’s Voices

The cider industry has an extremely talented community of women doing incredible work. We’re celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing some of their stories with you. And to double the celebration–all these stories were written by women beverage journalists and storytellers! Enjoy this collection of recent publications by women, about women, and for cider!*

Ria Windcaller of Cider Chat enjoys cheese and cider in France. Photo by Tristan Wright

Cider Chat Podcast by Ria Windcaller –ACA 2023 Significant Impact Winner

The Cider Jawns pouring their first commercial cider at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago. Photo by Brandon Buza
Tegan Biun is a cidermaker at Lost Boy Cider in Alexandria, Virginia.
Sean and Malaika Tyson of Cider Soms sampling cider at CiderCon® 2023. Malaika is a frequent contributor to Cider Culture. Photo by Brandon Buza
Darlene Hayes is a cider expert and author who helped the ACA create its Certified Cider Professional Program.

CiderCraft Magazine

And Some Women-Created Stories About Apples That We Love:

Talia Haykin runs Haykin Family Cider in Colorado and is a member of the ACA Board of Directors.

*Friendly reminder cider members–make sure you have Michelle McGrath on your press list. We want to elevate your press!

Claude Jolicoeur Book Signing Events

The American Cider Association is pleased to share that they will be hosting three book signing events in the Northwest with esteemed global cider ambassador and celebrated drinks author Claude Jolicoeur. Come to one of the events to learn more about cider and perry making traditions from around the world, take home a signed copy of his delighful book Cider Planet, and enjoy a refreshing cider. Books and cider will be available for sale at all events. Cider and books––what pairs better than that?

Book signing events will be held at the following:

Let us know you’ll be joining on Facebook!

Can’t make any of these three events? Claude will be presenting at the Northwest Cider Symposium in Tacoma, WA on March 14, 2023 and signing books as well. You must have registered for the Symposium in order to attend.

Open That Cider Bottle 2023 Prize Winners

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are so ecstatic with the turnout for year two of our #openthatciderbottle celebration! Almost 100 posts from around the United States and from Canada, France, Japan, Spain and the UK! There were so many amazing posts and amazing cider bottle stories told that it made it really hard to choose just one winner for each category. But it had to be done, so without further ado the winners are…

Most likely to make you 🤣: @cidermakeric

Consulting with the cellar dog to see what to taste for Open That Cider Bottle? It’s hard to quit smiling when you see this adorable pic!

Most likely to 🤯: @fencelinecider

A gift of cider made in 1993? Made by a family that’s been making cider since the late 1800s? How could our minds not be blown?!

Most likely to warm your ❤️: @heartland_ciderworks

It may look chilly outside in this pic, but it warms our hearts to hear about a cidermaker popping the top on their first commercially made cider and making their dreams come true! Good luck!

Most likely to make you 💲 a 🍾: @littleapplecidery

This was one of the first things to show up on our feed for #openthatciderbottle and we just couldn’t help watching this reel again and again and wishing we had a bottle to sip on too!

And last but not least…the randomly drawn winner of the wine (we mean cider) suitcase is…


And she created a pretty awesome story about this Kingston Black trio from Finnriver too!

New Benefits and Webinar with 3 Tier Beverages

The American Cider Association is dedicated to providing our members with valuable data they need to pitch retailers, investors and distributors. We are thrilled to announce an expansion of our data benefits through our new partnership with 3 Tier Beverages. The new dashboards will give the user more control over how you view the Nielsen data, offer you options for more comparisons, and provide insights on more regional markets—we’re excited to share that the dashboards will now include data for 50 markets! We’re finalizing the customization of the dashboards with 3 Tier, but they will be available to all ACA members very soon. This is just one area we are expanding our data benefits, and we hope you join the webinar to learn more about the 3 Tier custom dashboards for ACA members. Learn more about the webinar below.

3 Tier Beverages, in partnership with NielsenIQ, is proud to be the official data supplier of the American Cider Association. Part of this partnership brings ACA members quarterly dashboards with key market data and insights to help you drive your business forward. This webinar will walk ACA members through these dashboards so you can make the most of this unique offering. This webinar is for active ACA members only.

About Our Speakers

Mary Mills joined 3 Tier Beverages in 2022 from NielsenIQ, where she spent 14 years across client management, business development, and innovation insights. She has experience working with various clients in the food, beverage, and consumer goods industries, with 9 years focused on alcohol specifically. She holds a Marketing degree from The Ohio State University and is an avid Buckeye fan. She resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Andy and two children, Luke (4 years old) and Ava (2 years old).

Joe Sepka began his career in the CPG industry a little over a decade ago with PepsiCo as a contract pricing analyst for raw ingredients. Over the next few years, he grew into a variety of data-intensive roles. In 2018 however Joe was ready for a change and made the decision to leave PepsiCo for a new role at Revolution Brewing managing the data department. This was where he discovered he had a particular passion and love for the Bev-Alc side of the CPG industry. In 2020, Joe made the decision to leave Revolution to help launch 3 Tier Beverages. Each day he leverages my passion for data to assist their clients to find new opportunities in their respective Bev-Alc spaces, and help “level the playing field” when competing for space against the big guys.

In addition to being data-obsessed, Joe enjoys hikes, playing chess, recording music, and above all spending time with his wife Rosy, son Arthur, and (sometimes) grumpy but loveable dog Albus.

ACA Now Accepting Speaking Proposals for CiderCon 2024

CiderCon® is the world’s premier networking and educational event for the professional cidermaking community. CiderCon® 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. We invite presentation proposals from qualified experts who meet the criteria of being able to educate cidermakers, apple growers, cidery owners, retailers, wholesalers, marketers and other cider industry professionals about best practices, new trends, research, and improving processes.

Successful proposals will state clearly:

  • Target Audience – role in industry as well as business model.
  • Skill Level – is material is best for beginner/intermediate/ or advanced attendees.
  • Educational Goal – what skill, tool or new understanding will attendees walk away with?

We are committed to ensuring CiderCon® is a safe and welcoming space for all regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability or sexual preference. We strongly encourage BIPOC, LGTBQIA+, veterans and speakers with disabilities to submit proposals.

Additionally, we invite speakers from outside but related industries to cider. Our industry will be strengthened with fresh perspectives.

Particular topics of interest we seek applicants for through this RFP:

  • Compliance
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Distributor Relationships
  • Chain Retail Sales
  • DtC Sales
  • Market Trends
  • HR
  • Finance
  • Operational Safety
  • Team Leadership
  • Equity & Inclusion

Proposals are due to the CiderCon® committee by June 1, 2023. Approved speakers receive a complimentary pass to CiderCon® 2024 which includes lunch for 2 days.

ACA Seeks Guest Country for CiderCon 2024

CiderCon® is one of the most robust, diverse, thorough and connected professional cider conference in the world. We pride ourselves on being a host to international attendees year after year. The 14th annual CiderCon® will take place in beautiful Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. We expect well over 1,000 people to attend. We are requesting proposals from other countries to send a diverse representation of their regional cidermaking community to be featured guests of honor at CiderCon® 2024. Previously featured countries are Spain, France, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland. Guests from these countries continue to attend future CiderCons because of the quality programming and because CiderCon® is an exchange of ideas, understanding and knowledge that enriches the global cider community. 

Costs: The American Cider Association will waive CiderCon® registration fees, provide up to 5 nights hotel for up to 4 cidermakers, and pay for and help coordinate cider imports for educational sessions. Guest countries are asked to further fund cidermaker expenses (airfare, taxi, per diem). Cidermakers may also fundraise through sponsorships, and we are happy to brainstorm strategies. ACA will also provide professional photos of cidermakers participating in CiderCon®, suitable for PR uses by their home country. 

Proposals will be considered on the following priorities: (A) evidence of guest country financial commitment (B) compelling cider story (C) depth of cidermaking knowledge for proposed speakers (D) diversity of proposed speakers, in cider style, cider opinions, and demographics. We are also prioritizing countries that have not been featured before. 

Countries in close proximity to each other may want to team up if there are less cideries available in their own country. We welcome creative proposals. 

Proposals are due June 1, 2023 at 5 PM Pacific Time. Please contact if you have any questions. 

March 24 Coffee Chat with Vinoshipper

Join us March 24 at 9:30am for a Coffee Chat webinar with Vinoshipper!

Vinoshipper Senior Analyst Taylor Harrison will lead us through a look back at their data from 2022 and also provide a quick snap shot of what they’re seeing at the beginning of 2023 with regards to sales, packaging, and demographics!

Want to check out some of the data before Taylor’s presentation. You can download it here.

About Our Speaker

Taylor joined the alcohol industry directly out of college as in intern with Constellation Brands. Shortly after, he was awarded the ability to play lacrosse for Team England, so he moved to England, where he began working as a fine wine market analyst for the London International Vintners Exchange (Liv-Ex). During his summers, he would take time off to do vintage work at a winery in Surrey. Taylor joined Vinoshipper, from London, in 2021 and started up the data analytics program, offering insight into the craft alcohol industry. He continues to develop the division with the goal of helping producers make the most of their data and understand what is happening in the market.