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 McGrath
Executive Director


Michelle joined the American Cider Association as executive director in July of 2016. Her rich history includes non-profit management, membership development, supporting farmers and value-added producers, grassroots lobbying, teaching and more. Michelle grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near the famous Apple Hill. Today she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two young sons. Michelle has a master's degree in Ecology from University of California, San Diego and a certificate in sustainable business from Pinchot University. She was recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of 40 tastemakers under 40 in 2018 and as a SevenFifty Daily Innovator in 2019.  Contact Michelle.

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Ellen Husch
Administrator & Trade Show Manager


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!

Contact Ellen.

Kyle White
Kyle White
Accounts Payable

Kyle has been working with the American Cider Association since 2017.  She owns a consulting business that provides administrative, financial, and internal communications support.  She has over 18 years of nonprofit experience, working in a variety of roles.  She currently maintains a portfolio of clients where she does everything from bookkeeping to financial, project, operational and HR management.  Contact Kyle

Woodley Smith
Communications & Volunteer Manager


Woodley fell in love with agriculture growing up on the family farm in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State. Since 2005, Woodley and her family have been making small-scale hard cider on their farm and recently expanded their orchard to include more distinctive cider varieties to make available to local cidermakers. She started working for the American Cider Association in the summer of 2017 as the Volunteer Coordinator for CiderCon® and her role expanded to include managing communications in 2020. She is thrilled to be involved with an organization that not only draws on her professional skills, but engages her personal interests as well. She has a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Food Systems and speaks fluent Spanish. Contact Woodley

Board of Directors

Ben Calvi Headshot for PR

Ben Calvi

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

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. He also sits on the American Cider Association's finance and conference committees.  Contact Paul.


Eleanor Leger

Board President, 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.

Portraits of Talia Haykin produced at C2 Studios in Denver, Colorado on November 11, 2016. Photography by Morgan Hagar.

Talia Haykin

In 2017 Talia, along with her husband Daniel, founded Haykin Family Cider in Colorado. Their cider journey began in 2013 as hobbyists in their living room. As they learned more about the rich history of apples and hard cider in the United States their cider became strongly focused on single varietals and family farms with whom they have personal relationships. In addition to her work with their award-winning cidery, which encompasses all business areas, Talia is a Denver-based writer and social media strategist. She worked with the University of Denver to develop a Social Media Masters program after graduating with her Masters degree. She works with a wide variety of clients doing social media marketing, content curation, and website development. Talia lives in Denver with Daniel, their two small children, and fluffy dog.  Talia represents our Mtn. West region covering the following:  AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, KS, NE, OK, TX.  Contact Talia.
Brooke Glover

Brooke Glover

Board Vice President, 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.

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John Behrens

Board Secretary, John Behrens is the Founder and President of Farmhaus Cider Company located in Hudsonville, Michigan. This Company was founded in 2015 and has gone on to win many national and international accolades and awards. John began his first term as President of the Michigan Cider Association in 2018. Previously, he worked as a Certified Public Accountant for over 10 years at BDO USA and Steelcase. John holds an MBA from Grand Valley State University, in addition to degrees in Accounting and Finance.  John represents the Midwest region for American Cider Association.  States include:   IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI, KY.  Contact John.


Marcus Robert

Board Treasurer, 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.


Nicole Todd

Nicole’s love for cider started with a truck bed full of ‘found’ apples in a nearby orchard. Having a passion for fermenting anything she could get her hands on, she started Santa Cruz Cider Co in 2013 with the help of her husband and her sister. They have built the company from the ground up on a shoestring budget with a hands on approach. Nicole lives on a historic apple orchard in Santa Cruz county with her husband and two dogs. Nicole is the American Cider Association representative for the Pacific Coast Region, including California and Hawaii.  Contact Nicole.

Philippe Bishop

Philippe is a co-owner of Alpenfire Cider, a small, family-run cidery based in the seaport town of Port Townsend, WA. We began planting our orchard in 2003 exclusively for making cider and released our first blends from the 2006 harvest. He primarily handles the sales and education side of things in and out of our region, but with any small company we all wear many hats from blending to pruning and everything in-between. Previously his work included Sales and Operations at a high end craft beer, cider, & sake distributor, plus has sat on the board of the Northwest Cider Association. Currently he lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Shannon and two kids Sierra & Cortland. Elected to the board as an at large member in 2020.  Contact Philippe.


Dave Takush

Dave Takush is the Head Cidermaker and co-owner of 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Dave earned a Master’s Degree in fermentation science at Oregon State University and has almost over a decade of experience in the craft beer, wine and cider industries. His passion for fermentation led him to join two childhood friends in starting 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, Oregon. Now one of the largest craft cider producers in the nation, 2 Towns has over 100 employees and is dedicated to producing quality craft cider from 100% fresh-pressed Pacific NW apples. Dave is a board member of the Cider Institute of North America.  Contact Dave.


Soham Bhatt

Soham Bhatt started Artifact in 2014, with co-founder Jake Mazar, with the desire to create exceptional cider that expresses the northeast as it is today. With this philosophy and a commitment to helping sustain local orchards, especially in western Massachusetts, they started Artifact as a boot-strapped passion project that crisscrossed the state. Today, Artifact is made up of a small and resourceful team, who value hustle and bring new, often outside perspectives to the company and the industry. Soham was elected to the American Cider Association board in 2021 as an At Large Cidery seat. Contact Soham