About American Cider Association

The American Cider Association 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 Headshot
Michelle McGrath
Executive Director

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 Husch
American Cider Association Administrator

Ellen has been with the American Cider Association 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

Ben Calvi Headshot for PR

Ben Calvi

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 American Cider Association board of directors in 2016.  Contact Ben.

Paul Blue Polo

Paul Vander Heide

Board President, Paul Vander Heide and his wife, Amanda started Vander Mill in 2006. Vander Mill operates out of two facilities - a primary production facility and taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a secondary production facility and taproom in Spring Lake, Michigan. Vander Mill distributes cider in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Paul established the Michigan Cider Association (MCA) in 2015, and is currently this organization's President.  Paul has been a member of the American Cider Association (American Cider Association) since its inception and was recently elected President in 2018. He also sits on the American Cider Association's finance and conference committees.  Contact Paul.


Eleanor Leger

Eleanor Leger is the Founder of Eden Specialty Ciders of Vermont.
Eden was established in 2007, and is a leading producer of ice ciders and heritage ciders. Eleanor has served on the Board of the American Cider Association, as a member of the Vermont Working Landscape Enterprise Board, and was a founder of the Vermont Cider Makers Association. In addition to leading the team at Eden, Eleanor writes about the economics of small cider production at  She represent's American Cider Association's East region: CT, MA, ME, PA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT.  Contact Eleanor.


Eric Foster

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 American Cider Association board of directors in 2017.  Eric represents our Mtn. West region covering the following:  AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, KS, NE, OK, TX.  Contact Eric.

Brooke Glover

Brooke Glover

Brooke is one of the owners of Swilled Dog Hard Cider, a family-owned company based out of Franklin, West Virginia. Brooke serves as the Sales and Marketing Director for Swilled Dog and loves cider-making and teaching people about cider. Her passions include dogs, family and friends, making an impact, learning, adventures, and tater tots. Prior to being one of the founders of Swilled Dog, Brooke worked in the technology and banking industries. She is also an ACSM certified personal trainer.  Contact Brooke.

Dan Young

Dan Young

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 American Cider Association board of directors in 2017.  Dan represents the Midwest region for American Cider Association.  States include:   IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI, KY.  Contact Dan.


Marcus Robert

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 American Cider Association board of directors in 2017.  Marcus is the representative for our Northwest Region:  OR, WA, ID, MT, AK, HI.  Contact Marcus.


David Thornton

David and his wife Ann Marie started an orchard of Southern heirloom apple varieties on their farm in central North Carolina hoping that they might discover the cider of the South. Ten years later, they have two award-winning cider brands: James Creek Cider House for heritage ciders that reflect the characteristics and terroir of their heirloom apples, and Stargazer Cider for more modern blends.  David aspires to bring Southern cidermakers together with growers to see this beverage take its place beside evolving Southern cuisine. He and his wife also maintain a commitment to sustainable agriculture and the preservation of family farms and dark skies in our rural south.  David is the representative for our South region:  AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV, MD, DE, DC.  Contact David. 



Ryan Burk

Ryan is a native New Yorker and a lifelong student of fermentation and agriculture. As Head Cidermaker, he oversees production, new product development and orcharding at Angry Orchard's 60 acre farm in The Hudson Valley. Prior to joining the Angry Orchard team, Ryan racked up years of professional cider making experience in Michigan, with a particular focus on barrel aging and natural fermentation. Ryan serves as a board member to the American Cider Association (American Cider Association) and the Cider Institute of North America (CINA) and has been recognized by USApple's "Young Apple Leaders," Wine Enthusiast's "40 under 40" as well as Imbibe Magazine's "Imbibe 75" for his leadership, collaboration and innovation in the cider industry.  Contact Ryan.


Brian Shanks

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 American Cider Association board in 2017.  Contact Brian.

Sam Fitz

Sam Fitz

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.  Contact Sam.