TAKE THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM AT CIDERCON® 2024!
Are you ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry?
If you have already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification and are looking for that next challenge? Now is your chance!
The American Cider Association is pleased to announce a Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be held at CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon. The exam will take place Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232. Deadline to register is December 18, 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?
The 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 an in person hand-written exam in two parts: Theory and Sensory. The theory portion of the exam consists of four types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, and essay, and the sensory portion of the exam is a blind tasting using the ACA’s structured sensory analysis forms.
*CCP Level 1 is a prerequisite for Certified Pommelier. (Haven’t taken your CCP Level 1? Buy the bundle here.)
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. This exam 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 Theory or only the Sensory 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). After the 18 month grace period has lapsed, any portions of the exam not passed may be retaken at a 25% discount.
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 2.200 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. 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.
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 Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at email@example.com.
- What’s the refund policy? We will refund test takers until 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, sensory exam prep materials will be emailed to you. These prep materials include a sensory form instruction video, sample sensory forms, and blank sensory forms. We strongly suggest you purchase the Certified Pommelier™ Study Guide from Amazon. The study guide will cover all information presented in the theory portion of the exam. 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, there are sensory webinars available for purchase here, and new live sensory analysis webinars will be announced on our certification page.
- 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 is pleased to announce the continuation of their Cider Is For Everyone Scholarship program for CiderCon® 2024. This scholarship is designed to bring historically marginalized groups to CiderCon® to increase the accessibility of cider education and jump-start the careers and ownership-pathways of these cider professionals.
The scholarship package includes: registration to CiderCon® 2024 (including travel and lodging) and the entire suite of ACA’s Certified Cider Professional educational programming leading up to sitting for the Certified Pommelier™ exam (Level 1 CCP training and certification exam, two Certified Pommelier™sensory webinars; the Certified Pommelier™ study guide, and the registration fee for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam).
Applications are now being accepted and the deadline to apply is November 27. Those interested in applying can fill out the application form here. Recipients will be contacted to schedule a brief interview and winners of the scholarship will be notified by December 5. CiderCon® 2024 takes place January 16 – January 19, 2024 in Portland, Oregon
This scholarship is part of a broader effort by the ACA to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the cider industry. In 2019 the ACA launched the Antiracism, Equity and Inclusion committee which recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion as an important and necessary part of present and future successes of the cider industry. This committee structures its work around a belief that existing structures of power, privilege and discrimination must be actively questioned and evaluated in order to create equitable opportunities in an environment that embraces and values our differences. They strive to create events, opportunities and organizational policies that embody these values, and to continue evaluating these practices for sustained growth and improvement.
“This scholarship is one of our best tools for fostering a more diverse cider industry” says Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA. “The scholarship needs to work in lock step with our efforts to create a more inclusive industry so that, as we have more diverse CiderCon® attendees, they are surrounded by a welcoming community and equitable environment.”
Meet Our Scholarship Coordinator
Olivia Pener’s passion for food and drink, and the way they bring people together, was ignited as a small child whose large family always gathered over meals in the kitchen. That flame was stoked by her experiences growing up in her family’s restaurant and being surrounded by multicultural foodways in St. Louis, MO. Now, after almost 20 years in the service industry and the nonprofit world, she brings her fervor for people and palates to the American Cider Association as their “Cider is for Everyone” Scholarship Coordinator. A recipient of the scholarship herself, Olivia was welcomed into the world of cider with open arms. She is excited to contribute to the growth and evolution of the cider industry as a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and dynamic environment for all. She lives in Mid-Missouri with her two cats, Felix and Nermal, and her Chihuahua mix, Swiper.
Have questions about the scholarship? Reach out to Olivia with any questions you might have!
ACA Brings Largest Cider Conference in The World to The “City of Roses”
October 4th, 2023 (Portland, OR) – The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that CiderCon® 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. The largest cider conference in the world, CiderCon® 2024 will bring more than 1000 attendees to the city and surrounding areas for tours, tastings, educational workshops, networking opportunities, a trade show and more.
“It’s been eight years since we held CiderCon® here, and we’re thrilled to be back in the City of Roses,” says ACA CEO, Michelle McGrath. “Portlanders drink more cider per capita than any other city, so visiting attendees will feel right at home,” adds McGrath. This year, visiting attendees include Swedish and Norwegian cidermakers who are at the forefront of their own cider renaissance. “There’s a cider revolution going on in the Nordics, so we’re looking forward to sharing their experiences and ciders with attendees.”
The conference coincides with Oregon Cider Week (January 13-21, 2024), a statewide celebration of cider, featuring events for both aficionados and the cider-curious, hosted by the Northwest Cider Association (NWCA).
The two trade non-profits have been working with teams on the ground in the state of Oregon and beyond to create several tour options for CiderCon® attendees and media, including overnight adventures that explore both Oregon and Washington cidermaking regions. Together, the two states produce about 70% of the country’s apples, and are home to 165 cideries, making the area ripe for sourcing talent for the educational sessions.
A full range of workshop sessions will cover cider production, marketing, sales, branding, sensory evaluation, compliance, business strategy, orcharding and more. The ACA will once again partner with the Cider Institute of North America (CINA) to develop the cider production sessions.
“Despite increasing competition in the beverage alcohol space, cider has maintained its status as a mainstay beverage category, with year after year growth in local and regional cider brands across the country,” says McGrath, referring to cider’s growing popularity nationwide. In fact, regional and local cider was up 10.4% for the 52 week period ending on September 9th for chain retail measured by NIQ via 3 Tier Beverages.
The extensive trade show, presented by long standing ACA partner FruitSmart, will feature more than 100 vendors and be held at the Oregon Convention Center, with accommodations and other activities provided at the Hyatt Regency Hotel located just next door.
Tickets to CiderCon® are available now and are $435 for ACA members and $725 for the public, when booked by December 4th. After that date, member registration rates rise to $500 and public tickets go to $800. Ticket price includes the opening general session on Thursday morning, access to educational sessions, networking events, the trade show, and lunch on Thursday and Friday. Bulk pricing is available for groups of 5 or more.
More information about the wide array of events and educational sessions being offered as well as registration can be found on the CiderCon® website, and follow @cidercon on X or @pickcider on Instagram for the latest news. CiderCon® is an ACA event produced with the generous support of our members and ACA’s premier sponsor, FruitSmart.
Get ready to raise a glass and toast to the start of CiderCon® 2024! Join us for our beloved welcoming reception, Cider Share, on Wednesday, January 17 from 5:00 to 7:30pm. Sip on some of the finest ciders while mingling with fellow cider folks from around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned cidermaker or a newbie to the industry, the Cider Share reception is the perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and kick off an unforgettable conference.
At Cider Share, attendees will have the chance to sample ciders from a variety of cidermakers from all over. Not only will you get to enjoy a wide variety of flavors and styles, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the ciders from the cidermakers and their staff. Plus, with 600 people in attendance, Cider Share is a great way to connect with other cidermakers from your region and mingle with fellow CiderCon® attendees.
Tickets for Cider Share are only $20, so be sure to add it to your registration process before it’s too late!
And if you’re a cidermaker yourself, consider applying to pour your ciders at Cider Share. Cideries will be chosen through a lottery system, with considerations given to geography and style. Fill out the application form here. Deadline to apply is October 31 or when space has filled up. Two pourers will be allowed per company. All other company employees must purchase tickets to attend Cider Share.
Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar on Thursday, November 9 from 4:00-6:00 PM Pacific featuring cider from Haykin Family Cider. This webinar will also be available to watch again and practice as a prerecorded event. ACA Members can register for a discounted rate of $15. The discount code for members can be found here.
Cider must be purchased separately. Please be aware that it may take several days to receive your cider order, so we encourage you to purchase your ciders as soon as possible. Also, please verify that cider can be sent to your state before purchasing ciders. Ciders can be purchased from Haykin Family Cider here.
Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email. This email is a placeholder for the event. The evening before the event you will receive an email with a Zoom link to the webinar. Please note this link will be sent to the registered email.