CiderCon® 2024 Olympic Peninsula Tour

The Olympic Peninsula Tour will take you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Washington State. While enjoying the stunning natural beauty, the rugged mountains, lush rainforests, pristine coastline and orchards, you will visit award winning cideries, an event space, a new cider education facility and spend the night at Fort Worden State Park. Led by Andrew Byers, head cidermaker and co-owner of Finnriver Farm & Cidery, we’ll taste our way across the Peninsula. 

The Locations:

  • Eaglemount Cider’s Palindrome – Eaglemount is located on 12 acres of mixed farm and woodlands known as Arcadia, just outside beautiful Port Townsend in Washington State. We’ll feast together and taste ciders in this historic barn.
  • Alpenfire Cider – Shaped by the maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, Alpenfire Cider creates truly unique ciders from apples grown in their organic orchards.  On the tour, we’ll visit both the cidery and orchard.
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery – Finnriver is an organic farm, orchard and craft cidery located along a salmon stream in the Chimacum Valley on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington— the traditional and contemporary territories of the S’Klallam (Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm̕) and the Chemakum (Aqokúlo or Čə́məq̓əm).
    Craft Brewing & Distilling Center – Part of a community college, the Craft Brewing & Distilling Center (which also teaches cidermaking) exists to build flourishing, connected communities, entrepreneurs, educators, farmers, and cities are convening around growing the craft beer, cider, and spirits movement. Located just outside Olympia, Washington next to the historic Olympia Brewing Company, the tour will stop here to visit the classrooms and labs on our way up to the Peninsula.
  • Fort Worden Historical State Park – Fort Worden State Park and its gorgeous natural setting of Port Townsend is the kind of destination that stays with you forever. Originally designed as a military base to protect Puget Sound, Fort Worden has evolved into an iconic and cherished state park and lifelong learning center.

The tour will depart from the Hyatt Regency – Oregon Convention Center at 12:00 PM on Monday, January 15, 2024 and will return on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 6:00 PM. Dinner on Monday and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday will be provided, as well as accommodations at Fort Worden State Park in historic officers’ rooms, and cider tastings at Eaglemount Cidery, Alpenfire Cider, and Finnriver Farm & Cidery.

Cost: $295

If you’d like to join this tour, be sure to add it on during the registration process. The deadline to be included in this tour is December 11 so we have adequate time to book necessary accommodations.

Introducing Certified Pommelier™ Chapters

We were so excited to share the news of our 12 new Certified Pommeliers™ last week, but that’s not all we have to share; we’re not just about numbers (although they are fun) – we’re also about community, education, and advocacy. That’s why we’re also thrilled to announce the launch of the Certified Pommelier™ Chapters program. 

Picture this: a network of educated cider enthusiasts spreading an understanding of the beverage across the globe. With leaders appointed in all six current ACA regions and Canada, the chapters are set to redefine the regional cider experience.

Meet Your Chapter Leaders:

  • East: CT, MA,ME, PA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT- Paige Flori
  • Midwest: IA,IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI, KY- Sean Niemisto
  • South: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV, MD, DE, DC- Josh Corl
  • Mtn West: AZ, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, KS, NE, OK, TX- Matthew Ostrander
  • Northwest: OR, WA, ID, MT, AK- Storie Madrid
  • Pacific Coast CA, HI- Brandon Buza
  • Canada- Sara Boyd

How Do We Plan to Redefine the Regional Cider Experience?

  • Community building: Our chapters, meetings and events will be more than just gatherings, they will help ignite a spark in the heart of local cider communities. Imagine sharing stories, clinking glasses, and forging friendships with like minded individuals who appreciate the art of cider. Chapters will play a pivotal role in nurturing these connections creating regional cider centric hubs.
  • Education: Certified Pommelier™ chapters will be the epicenter of knowledge-sharing and skills development. From cider tastings to hands-on workshops, we hope to bring these educational events down to the local level and make them accessible for any cider lover.
  • Advocacy: We’re not just sitting in the wings; we’re raising our glass high and advocating for the value of cider education. Certified Pommelier™ chapters will champion the industry in their respective regions aspiring to advance consumer understanding of the beverage and how it is made.

So, whether you’re a seasoned cider aficionado or just starting to dip your toes into the world of cider there’s a place for you in the Certified Cider Professional education community.

ACA Welcomes 12 New Certified Pommeliers™ After October Exams

The American Cider Association is proud to announce that twelve individuals successfully passed the Certified Pommelier™ examination in October 2023. The new Certified Pommeliers™ are Ann Bliss of Mullers Cider House, Bryan Barry, Christian Rodriguez, and Tom Hansen of Angry Orchard, Katie Black of DSSOLVR, Johnny Rice of Orchard Hill Cider Mill, Don Whitaker of Castle Hill Cider, Henry Johnson of Bold Rock Hard Cider, Chris Jackson of Treasury Cider at Fishkill Farms, Aaron Gore of Fresh Pitch Beverage Consulting, and cider enthusiasts Sabrina Nencetti and David Lindsey.

The rigorous exam, held in both New York and North Carolina last month, tested candidates on their understanding of cider production, history, and sensory evaluation. As a result, these newly Certified Pommeliers™ are now equipped with advanced skills to guide consumers through the wide variety of ciders available and to help elevate the cider industry at the point of sale.

Early on, the American Cider Association recognized the need to promote specialized knowledge about the cider category. Certifications are increasingly being used to set food and beverage professionals apart. However, most certification programs cover cider in a cursory manner or not at all. With cider being a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements often less understood by food and beverage professionals, the establishment of the Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program in 2016 was a strategic maneuver. Today, the CCP program is designed to educate those on the front-line of cider sales, making it the world’s most comprehensive and in-depth cider appreciation program for food and beverage professionals.

The CCP program begins with a Certified Cider Guide (CCG) Level 1 certification to help industry professionals develop a fundamental understanding of cider. The Certified Pommelier™ (CP) Level 2 takes it a step further by encouraging cider professionals to think critically and showcase a higher level of understanding of the elements of cider. The rigorous testing process consists of four types of questions, including short answer, fill in the blank, essay, and blind sensory–which is based on tasting.

The ACA is dedicated to ensuring that all information tested on the exam is made accessible to anyone who desires to learn. To that end, the ACA released a textbook in March of 2023 to help candidates prepare to take the exam with just one comprehensive resource. The textbook is available for purchase through Kindle Direct Publishing. Additionally, the ACA offers sensory analysis practice webinars and a Facebook study group, continuously updated with resources for exam candidates. Interested candidates can find links to all Certified Pommelier™ resources on the ACA’s website.

The next Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be held at CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon on January 17, 2024
Contact the ACA’s Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey if you have questions about the Certified Cider Professional program or are interested in taking either the Level 1 or Certified Pommelier™ exams. You can also learn more at


Check Out the Fun to be Had at the CiderCon® 2024 Trade Show!

The CiderCon® 2024 Trade Show, sponsored by FruitSmart is set to be the best yet! With over 100 vendors already confirmed and more on the way, there will be plenty of chances for you to connect with the companies that have helped your cidery thrive or meet new companies that can help take you to the next level. The CiderCon® Trade Show will be taking place at the Oregon Convention Center on January 18-19, 2024.

But wait, there’s more! Need a pick-me-up? Coffee will be available Thursday and Friday mornings, courtesy of Milne. And when Thursday afternoon rolls around, get ready to cheers with some cider at the Happy Hour sponsored by Hart Print.

But it’s not all about the drinks – there’s plenty of entertainment to go around. Check out the research poster presentations or get competitive with some games of corn hole and ping pong. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, Stern Pinball will have pinball machines available to play.

Now if you’re looking to make a statement, head over to the Ink Bus and get yourself an apple flash tattoo. It’s a fun and unique way to show your love for the fruit that brings us all together.

Don’t forget to stop by the ACA Bookstore to stock up on the latest cider book offerings and to meet our staff and board members. In addition, the TTB staff will be available for one-on-one questions, and folks from CINA will be on hand to provide feedback . With so much to see and do, and more on the way, the CiderCon® Trade Show is not to be missed!

Interested in becoming a CiderCon® vendor? Email our Trade Show Coordinator Ellen for more info!

Now Accepting Nominations for ACA Board of Directors

Do you have a passion for growing the cider industry? Are you looking to find a platform for your ideas, where you will be seen and heard? Would you like to work with a group of like-minded industry leaders to create positive change?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, YOU ARE IN LUCK! The ACA is looking to fill two At Large seats on our Board of Directors. Our annual nomination window is now open, and we want to hear from YOU! Elections will take place electronically during CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon in January. All U.S. member cideries are eligible to vote (1 vote per cidery).

Although it is not required, we strongly encourage candidates to have an ACA volunteer history before running for office.  

Please see below for more specifics on service and how to apply:

  • Positions are open to any active ACA member cidery in the U.S., regardless of size. 
  • Applications are due by December 8, 2023.
  • To qualify for candidacy, you must be a permanent employee of a bonded cidery, producing cider in the U.S. 
  • Incumbents may be running for their seats again.
  • Terms are three years. 
  • Applicants will be reviewed when the submission window has closed
  • Qualified candidates will receive further instructions on developing their platforms and what board service includes. 

Have more questions about board service? Schedule a chat with ACA CEO Michelle McGrath by clicking here.

To submit your nomination by the December 8 deadline fill out the self-nomination form.