ACA Welcomes Three New Certified Pommeliers

The American Cider Association is proud to announce that three individuals have successfully passed the Certified Pommelier™ examination. The new Certified Pommeliers™ are Anthony Chen–head brewer at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego; Lester Koga–owner of Bare Bottle Brewing in San Francisco; and Jessica Arlich–cider enthusiast from Vancouver, Washington. The rigorous exam, held in San Francisco 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. The ACA congratulates Anthony, Lester and Jessica on certifying their specialized cider knowledge and evaluation skills!

Lester Koga Jessica Arlich Anthony Chen

Lester Koga, Jessica Arlich, Anthony Chen

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 Level 1 certification to help industry professionals develop a fundamental understanding of cider. The Certified Pommelier™ certification (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 ACA has three upcoming exam dates for those interested in pursuing their Certified Pommelier™ designation.

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

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