Volunteer at CiderCon® 2024!

Fall is here and with the apples being picked all over this fair country, we can’t help but think of all the new ciders that will soon be bubbling away in fermentation vessels! Which also brings to mind the pleasant thought of another CiderCon® in the works! This year CiderCon® will once again be held in Portland, Oregon after an eight year hiatus. We’re already lining up an amazing assortment of tours, trainings, tastings, and educational sessions, not to mention the trade show, that we hope will help cidermakers thrive in 2024 and beyond. That being said, it takes a village to put on CiderCon® and we’re asking for your help. We are looking for volunteers for CiderCon® 2024 in Portland and we would love to have you join us!

Who’s Elegible?

  • Are you a cidery making less than 25,000 gallons? 
  • Are you a cider enthusiast who would like to meet some of your favorite cidermakers? 
  • Are you a cidery in planning interested in learning from fellow cidermakers? 

Then you are elegible! If you have questions about whether or not your eligible, email Woodley.

What’s expected of you as a volunteer? 

It’s simple! 5 hours of your time between Monday, January 15 and Friday, January 19, including serving for at least 2 tastings (if physically able) within those 5 hours. That’s it!

What’s in it for you? 

Tons! Your registration fee for CiderCon® will be waived! All general sessions and workshops will be open to you. While this does exclude paid tours or tastings, you will still be able to sign up and pay for these opportunities when you register for CiderCon®. That means that other than your volunteer shifts, the rest of the time is yours to check out the amazing sessions, tastings, trade show, etc. that make CiderCon® so wonderful to attend!

How do I sign up?

Please sign up on Bloomerang Volunteer if you’re interested in volunteering at CiderCon® 2024! Our Volunteer Coordinator, Woodley Smith, will be in touch with you as soon as more details are firmly in place.

If you have any questions, please contact Woodley Smith.

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 https://ciderassociation.org/certification

New York Cider Week Certified Pommelier Exam

Are you looking for the next big step in your professional development? If you’ve already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification, then the American Cider Association has an exciting opportunity for you! We will be hosting a Certified Pommelier™ Exam on October 11, 2023 at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House in Walden, NY during New York Cider Week.

As a Certified Pommelier™, you’ll be recognized as an expert in the cider industry, with in-depth knowledge of apple varieties, orcharding, and cidermaking techniques. The exam will cover a wide range of topics, from the history of cider to the sensory evaluation of different ciders.

Don’t worry, though – you won’t be going into the exam blind! The ACA has provided plenty of resources to help you prepare, including study guides, online courses, and a Facebook study group. And if you’re an ACA member, you can even get a discount on the exam fee by logging into your account and finding the discount code.

So what are you waiting for? Register now for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam and take your cider knowledge to the next level! The registration deadline is October 1, 2023 so there’s no time to lose! Remember, the exam takes place on October 11, 2023, and registrants are asked to arrive by 7:45 AM. Good luck!

In Person CCP Level 1 at Angry Orchard

Are you ready to take your passion for cider to the next level? Join us at Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House during New York Cider Week for an in-person Certified Cider Professional Level 1 certification workshop! We are thrilled to collaborate with the American Cider Association to bring you this amazing opportunity to become CCP Level 1 certified.

During the workshop, you will learn about the history of cider, the cider making process, and the different styles of cider. This workshop also features a Certified Pommelier™ led tasting experience featuring New York Ciders! After the training, participants can take the test online immediately (BYO computer) or at a later date.

The cost per person for this fantastic experience is $65, which includes the test fee. But that’s not all! Lunch and, of course, more cider will be available for purchase at our tasting room after the training.

We would love to see anyone who sells cider, works in a tasting room or retail shop, owners, chefs, sommeliers, cicerones, buyers and cidermakers who are interested in cider education and adding a cider certification to their accreditation sign up and join us!

Space is limited, so register now and get ready to become a Certified Cider Professional!

Learn more about the ACA certification programs.

Pour Your Cider at Cider Share at CiderCon® 2024

Ever dream of pouring your cider for the entire cider community while chatting with makers from around the world? Here’s your chance!

Applications are now being accepted for those interested in pouring their cider at Cider Share, CiderCon® 2024’s welcoming reception. Cider Share will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 17 at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center. In order to pour at Cider Share the individual cidery must be participating in CiderCon® as a full attendee. Local cideries who are attending can request a temporary pourer pass for their staff. Pouring space is limited so please submit your application for consideration as soon as possible. The deadline to apply is October 31. 

Cideries accepted to pour will be notified and asked for additional details.

Learn more about CiderCon®!

October is National Cider Month

The American Cider Association works to keep our members aware of emerging trends that impact our industry. Today, we’re excited to share that cideries from coast to coast are working together to claim October as National Cider Month! This effort was spearheaded by Schilling Cider in Washington with ambitions for an industry-wide, national campaign that helps cider dominate beverage conversations for the month of October.  They will share the agnostic assets they developed with anyone wanting to participate. 

National Cider Month assets: You can download National Cider Month assets HERE. Read through the brand standards guidelines to ensure proper use of the logos, badges, and marks. Use the National Cider Month occasion along with the logos, badges, and POS assets to help you and your sales folks land additional store placements, displays, on premise placements, events, and ultimately sales! 

The goal of the participating cideries is that by working together to grow National Cider Month, cider can get more focus from retail partners, garner more consumer recognition for the category, and continue to grow the US cider market. This year, National Cider Month has several retail chains participating including Whole Foods nationwide with stack out areas specifically reserved for small local cideries. How can you take advantage of National Cider Month? 

The National Cider Month website is now live. They are inviting participating cideries to submit your October events to the site. If your cidery plans to participate in National Cider Month, they are also collecting logos to be featured in a scrolling marquee on the home page. They invite you to upload your logos HERE. (EPS or SVG file, horizontally-oriented variation if possible, approximately within a 100 pixel width x 50 pixel height frame, the logos will be featured in white).

If you have questions feel free to reach out to hello@nationalcidermonth.com.

The ACA is excited to see this independent effort evolve and grow, and we look forward to celebrating National Cider Month together soon!

Additional Employee Retention Credit Eligibility & Other Tax Planning Opportunities – What Your Cidery and Accountant May Not Have Considered

Hey ACA members! Get your calculators ready and join us for an informative webinar on November 14 at 2:00 PM Pacific!

Many businesses took advantage of COVID-19 relief programs such as PPP and EIDL, but many more are still missing out on funds from the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and have not filed for all quarters in which they are eligible (up to 7 quarters). Eligible employers who paid qualified wages can claim up to $26,000 per employee in refundable tax credits. Another missed opportunity occurs when companies do not effectively utilize tax planning strategies. These strategies include the work opportunity tax credit, research and development credit, planning for long-term sustainability, bonus depreciation, and business expenses. Join Strategic Tax Planning, a licensed CPA firm for a discussion on the common tax planning techniques that could increase your business’s after tax cash flow.

Tina Azarvand

Tina joined Strategic Tax Planning and is a Tax Manager with the firm. While working as a Tax Attorney, Tina became interested in the Employee Retention Credit through the ever-evolving legislation, where she decided to shift her focus to assisting small businesses with ERC while it is available. 

As a Tax Attorney, Tina focused on assisting individuals and businesses facing tax controversies with the IRS and local taxing authorities. In 2022, Tina was selected to the SuperLawyers: Rising Stars list and the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list, both of which are distinctions given to less than 3% of the attorneys in each respective state. Tina was also selected as the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) Young Volunteer of the Year for 2022.

Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Haykin Family Cider

live sensory analysis webinar with Haykin Family Cider

Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar on Thursday, November 9 from 4:00-6:00 PM Pacific featuring cider from Haykin Family Cider. This webinar will also be available to watch again and practice as a prerecorded event. ACA Members can register for a discounted rate of $15. The discount code for members can be found here.

Cider must be purchased separately. Please be aware that it may take several days to receive your cider order, so we encourage you to purchase your ciders as soon as possible. Also, please verify that cider can be sent to your state before purchasing ciders. Ciders can be purchased from Haykin Family Cider here.

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email. This email is a placeholder for the event. The evening before the event you will receive an email with a Zoom link to the webinar. Please note this link will be sent to the registered email.

October Certified Pommelier™ Exam in North Carolina


Are you ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? 

If you have already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification and are looking for that next challenge? Now is your chance! 

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce a Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be held in Asheville, North Carolina! The exam will take place Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at the Bold Rock Taproom, 39 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Read on to learn more about the Certified Pommelier™ Exam and how to prepare, what to expect, and how to register! (P.S. There’s a discount code available for ACA members who want to take the test. You can find that code HERE by logging in to your account.)


The American Cider Association’s 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. One way to fulfill this mission is through the Certified Cider Professional Program–a program aimed at educating the front-line of cider sales (distributors, retailers, bartenders and more!).

The intro-level certification (CCP Level 1) is an online test that can be taken at any time. The more advanced level of certification–the Certified Pommelier™ exam–is an in person hand-written exam in two parts: Theory and Sensory. The theory portion of the exam consists of four types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, and essay,  and the sensory portion of the exam is a blind tasting using the ACA’s structured sensory analysis forms. 

*CCP Level 1 is a prerequisite for Certified Pommelier. (Haven’t taken your CCP Level 1? Buy the bundle here.)

Certified Pommeliers™ must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered in CCP Level 1, but must also be able to think critically and use the basics to demonstrate a higher understanding of the elements of cider. This exam is meant to be challenging. Studying is highly recommended.

The topics covered in the exam are: 

  • Apples, the Orchard & History
  • Cider Making
  • Flavor & Evaluation
  • Cider Families
  • Keeping & Serving
  • Food & Cider
  • Social Responsibility

*If a test-taker passes only the Theory or only the Sensory portion of the exam, they are permitted the opportunity to retake the un-passed portion of the exam at a future date (within 18 months).  After the 18 month grace period has lapsed, any portions of the exam not passed may be retaken at a 25% discount.


Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements that are often misunderstood by food and beverage professionals. Certifications are increasingly used in the professional realm to set oneself apart as an individual with specialized knowledge, though cider is often covered in a cursory manner by most certification programs, if at all. Although there are already more than 2.200 Level 1 Certified Cider Professionals, being recognized as a Certified Pommelier™ will put you in the vanguard of verified advanced cider specialists in this ever growing category.


For ACA members, the exam is $200. There is a discount code that members can access to receive the exam at the membership rate of $200. That discount code can be found here.

For non-members, the exam is $275.  

Price now includes access to a pre-recorded introductory webinar to the updated sensory form and sample sensory forms from key cider regions. The webinar can be accessed at any point to prepare for your exam.


  • Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? YES- You must be 21 or older and you must provide an ID to prove you are who you say you are.
  • Do I need to pass the level 1 CCP exam to take the Certified Pommelier™ test? Yes. Passing the Level 1 CCP exam is a prerequisite. If you have not yet taken the Level 1 exam, you can purchase the Level 1 bundle on demand HERE.  The bundle includes an on-demand webinar, study guide, and access to the online exam.
  • What can I bring into the event? Nothing may be brought into the exam room. Cell phones must be left at the door. Pencils and drinking water will be provided.
  • How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please contact Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org.
  • What’s the refund policy? We will refund test takers until two weeks before the exam.
  • Is there a training workshop? This is not a workshop, but an exam only. Once you register for your exam, sensory exam prep materials will be emailed to you. These prep materials include a sensory form instruction video, sample sensory forms, and blank sensory forms. We strongly suggest you purchase the Certified Pommelier™ Study Guide from Amazon. The study guide will cover all information presented in the theory portion of the exam. There is also a dedicated Facebook Group (that is open for all to join) with prep materials and in depth peer conversations. STUDY! We highly recommend interviewing cidermakers and cider tenders to help prepare. Blind tasting flights are also good prep. In addition, there are sensory webinars available for purchase here, and new live sensory analysis webinars will be announced on our certification page.
  • Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? If you are transferring registration to another person, please email us in advance.
  • Is there a tasting section on the test? Yes. You will be asked to evaluate ciders from multiple cider families.
  • How long does the test take? You are given 2 hours to complete the theory portion of the exam and 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the sensory portion.  There will be a 15 minute break in between exam portions.

Refund and Opt Out Policy

Refunds will be offered up to 2 weeks before the exam.

Any purchaser can opt out of the exam up to 72 hours prior to scheduled time.  If opt out is chosen, another exam date must be chosen within 18 months. No refunds will be given.

Calling All Cideries: Submit Your Content for CiderCon Video!

As the cider industry continues to grow, it’s important that we come together to promote and celebrate our craft. With that in mind and CiderCon® 2024 returning to Portland for the first time in eight years, we’re going all out! To make this event even more special, we’re calling on all cideries to submit photo and video content for potential inclusion in a CiderCon® video. This is an opportunity for cideries to showcase their unique personalities and highlight what makes their brand stand out.

We are looking for content that demonstrates the authenticity and breadth of styles within the industry. This means that we want to see all aspects of cider production, from orchards and harvest to pressing and packaging and tap room facilities. But, what really makes content compelling is the PEOPLE! We want to celebrate the unique culture of cider and how much enjoyment it brings people. Shots and clips that include people are even better for all of these themes.

We want to feature a wide range of cideries, products, and individuals, so don’t hesitate to submit your content. Higher resolution is generally better, but we don’t necessarily need HD/high resolution for something to be a usable clip, and even cellphone photos or videos are great if the content is good. Just make sure that the full resolution file is uploaded and that the video is horizontal. Have questions? Reach out to Woodley!

So, what are you waiting for? Submit your content by October 18 and be a part of an exciting and representative highlight reel to celebrate our awesome industry! You’ll be able to submit your video by dropping it into this Google Drive. You’ll need to have a Google Drive account in order to upload. If you don’t have a Google Drive account, please send your content to Woodley.