The USACM is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. Our 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.
Michelle is the former Executive Director of Gorge Grown Food Network, a non-profit with a mission to build a thriving local food system for the two-state, five-county region known as the Columbia River Gorge. During her time with GGFN, Michelle worked closely with hundreds of consumers, orchardists, ranchers, farmers, chefs and value-added producers to seek shared solutions to barriers impeding market success and to encourage farmer collaboration throughout the region.
She oversaw the completion of a regional value-added needs
assessment, expanded training resources for fledgling value-added producers and coordinated educational producer conferences and workshops. After leaving GGFN, McGrath worked for the Oregon Environmental Council as the Grassroots Engagement & Membership Director.
McGrath holds a Master of Science degree from University of California, San Diego, and a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University. Prior to GGFN, McGrath was a research biologist intrigued by the complexity of sustainable seafood.
She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Ellen has been with the USACM since 2014. She provides administrative services as well as planning CiderCon and the annual Trade Show.
Prior to this, she worked in radio promotions and television news.
Ellen is a mom of five daughters and is proud to call Colorado her home, where she enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking, reading and of course, cider!
Board of Directors
Board Treasurer, Ben Esser Calvi is the Director of Cider Making for Vermont Hard Cider Co. in Middlebury, Vermont.
Previously, he made cider at Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, VT, and wines at Esser Vineyards and Quintessa in the Napa Valley, for Burklin-Wolf in Germany, and at the Robert Mondavi Institute in Davis, CA. Ben lives on a tiny apple orchard in nearby Cornwall with his wife, Sophie, and two children, Arthur and Delfina. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2016.
Paul Vander Heide
Board President, Paul Vander Heide started Vander Mill in 2006, along with Paul’s brother, Stu. The vision wasn’t elaborate: a small-town cider mill where people can feel at home. After countless hours of dedication to learning the craft of pressing, fermenting and blending, their vision still has the small-town charm, but their reach now goes across 5 states and is still growing. He is involved with the Michigan Cider Association and joined the USACM board of directors as in 2016.
Vice-President, Trevor Baker is a coastal North Carolina native and currently lives and works in Asheville, North Carolina. He is the co-founder and general manager for Noble Cider. Noble Cider was Western North Carolina's first hard cider company, established in 2012. He's been a CiderCon regular and USACM member since 2013. He joined the board of directors in 2015.
The Board Secretary is Eric Foster. In 2011, Eric and co-founder, Phil, produced the first batch of Stem Cider (now known as Real Dry) in Eric’s home cidery. You can listen to Eric’s Cider Chat episode to learn more about his cider philosophy. When he’s not at Stem, he’s enjoying family time, fly fishing, or out skiing the backcountry. Eric lives in Lafayette with his wife, Colleen, and their sons, Quinn and Connor. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2017.
Dan owns and operates Hicks Orchard and Slyboro Ciderhouse in Granville, New York. He is on the board of the New York Cider Association. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2014.
Together with his wife Nikki, Dan is the owner and cider maker of Tandem Cider in Northern Michigan. The intention at Tandem Ciders is to produce ciders that reflect the beauty of the apple. You can listen to Dan’s CiderChat episode to learn more about his cider philosophy. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2017.
Marcus joined Tieton Cider Works in 2010 as the cider operations manager, orchard manager and cider maker. He is a fourth generation farmer in the Yakima Valley of Southern Washington. He is a former board member of the Northwest Cider Association. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2017.
Brooke is a West Virginia native. She and her husband opened Swilled Dog Hard Cider there in 2016. The apple culture of West Virginia is part of her passionate devotion to cider. She has experience working closely with West Virginia’s congressional representatives and has a background in business. Brooke intends to use her experience as a new and small cider maker to inform her contributions to the board of directors.
Ryan Burk is the head cider maker at Angry Orchard. A native to Williamson, New York, he now lives near Angry Orchard’s Walden, New York facility. Ryan is free to create innovative ciders at this facility. You can listen to Ryan’s Cider Chat episode to learn more about his cider philosophy. He is on the board of the New York Cider Association. He joined the USACM board of directors in 2015.
Brian got his start in cider in beautiful New Zealand. In 2010, he co-founded Bold Rock Cider Company in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. They dedicated their sourcing to local farms, and sold 48,000 cases in their first year. Today, they have distribution in 10 states and multiple tap room facilities. Brian joined the USACM board in 2017.
Sam oversees the ANXO cider brand as well as two brick-and-mortar establishments in Washington, D.C., including the award-winning restaurant ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar. While Fitz and ANXO recognize there is no right way to go about making cider, he and his company hope to be a voice for traditional cider making and the orchardists, producers and restaurateurs that embrace it.