October 7: Certified Cider Guide Workshop at Texas Keeper Cider

Earn your cider certification and enjoy a tasting experience at Texas Keeper Cider on October 7!

The American Cider Association is excited to collaborate with Texas Keeper Cider to host an in person workshop and tasting for the Certified Cider Professional Program, Level 1 Certified Cider Guide. Participants will be able to take the certification test online immediatly after the training or take the test on their own at a later date. Registration to this event will also include a tour of Texas Keeper!

Cost per person is $189 which includes the in person training, tasting experience, and test fee. ACA members can contact Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey for the discount code to receive $50 off their registration.

This is a great opportunity for the Southern cider community to gather in person to attend the workshop and earn their certification.

Food and more cider will be available for purchase at the tasting room after the training.

We would love to see anyone who sells cider, works in a tasting room or retail shop, chefs, sommeliers, cicerones, buyers, cidermakers, and anyone interested in cider in any way. You are all invited to build your cider education and earn your Certified Cider Guide accreditation.

Texas Keeper is on 19 acres so there is ample off-street parking. They are also wheelchair accessible and people with mobility issues can be dropped off close to the door.

Location:

Texas Keeper Cider, 12521 Twin Creek Road, Manchaca, TX 78652

Schedule:

  • 1:00 – 4:00 PM Certified Cider Guide Workshop
  • 4:00 – 5:00 PM Introductory to Sensory Analysis Tasting Training
  • 5:00 – 6:00 PM Take the Online Certification Exam
  • 6:00 – 7:00 PM Optional Networking Hour

American Cider Association Partners With Great American Beer Festival® Competition to Welcome Cider

The American Cider Association (ACA), the national trade organization for the hard cider industry, is thrilled to announce its partnership with the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF®) Competition. This collaboration will see the introduction of cider as a prominent category in the esteemed annual competition, set to take place this October in Denver, Colorado. GABF, organized by the Brewers Association (BA), is the nation’s largest professional beer competition. Its medals are globally acknowledged as an emblem of brewing excellence and among the most sought-after accolades within the brewing community.

The GABF competition started in 1987 and has grown to be one of the largest beer competitions in the world, with over 9,000 individual beers entering each year. In 2023, 9,298 entries spanning 99 beer categories across 175 styles were judged, and 263 breweries were awarded 303 medals.

“The medals are meaningful to the winners due to the competition’s reputation with retailers and wholesalers. This is one of the many reasons that GABF opening its doors to cider is something we’re excited about,” says ACA’s CEO Michelle McGrath. “Although cider is not beer, the two categories have a lot in common–especially routes to market–making collaboration possible and exciting.”

The BA welcomes the ACA partnership by including ACA’s input on styles and judges and extends the BA member competition entry rate to ACA’s cidery-level members. GABF registration opened on June 11, and the ACA cidery-level members can find instructions for submitting their entries in the ACA Resource Hub.

“The Great American Beer Festival competition serves as a platform for the finest beers from across the nation to undergo rigorous scrutiny and vie for the title of ‘Best in Class,’” remarked Chris Williams, competition director for the Great American Beer Festival. “This year, we are pleased to invite the more than 1,300 commercial cider producers to compete for medals in the inaugural cider categories.”

“There is a global ecosystem of cider competitions that provide a range of services to the cider industry, including professional cider education, networking, recognition, and category development,” says McGrath. “We value all the various competitions and are thrilled to welcome GABF into the world of cider competitions.”

The BA sees this as the beginning of developing cider at GABF and hopes to work with the ACA to grow entries and styles in subsequent years.

The consumer-facing festival—the nation’s largest beer festival—also showcases cider and other beverages, and the ACA will be present at the festival this fall.

Learn more about the GABF competition here. ACA members can log into their ACA member accounts starting June 11 and head to the Resource Hub for information on how to get member rate discounts to enter cider in GABF 2024.

October 8: Certified Pommelier Exam at Texas Keeper Cider

Take the Certified Pommelier Exam at Texas Keeper Cider on October 8!

Ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? If you have already passed the Level 1 Certified Cider Guide exam 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 at Texas Keeper Cider, 12521 Twin Creek Rd., Manchaca, TX 78652

The exam will begin promptly at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, October 8.

*Level 1 Certified Cider Guide certification is a prerequisite for taking the Certified Pommelier Exam. (Haven’t taken your Level 1 Certified Cider Guide Exam? Buy the bundle here! ACA Member discounts are available.)

There’s also a discount code available for ACA members for the Certified Pommelier Exam. You can find that code in our Resource Hub.

WHAT IS THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER EXAM? 

The American Cider Association’s mission is to grow a diverse and successful 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 hospitality (distributors, retailers, bartenders and more!) while also welcoming journalists and serious cider enthusiasts. 

The exam for the  introductory level certification, Certified Cider Guide (CCG), is an online test that can be taken at any time. The exam for the more advanced second level of certification, Certified Pommelier, is only available in person. The exam consists of two parts, a written theory exam comprising short answer and essay questions and a blind sensory evaluation of a number of ciders. Passing the introductory level exam is a mandatory prerequisite to sitting for the Level 2 Certified Pommelier exam. 

Certified Pommeliers must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered at the introductory level, but must also be able to think critically and demonstrate a deeper understanding of cider and the cider industry.

The topics covered in the exam are: 

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

The exam is meant to be challenging. The only  information necessary for successfully passing the theory section of the exam is contained in the Certified Pommelier Study Guide available on Amazon. To study for the evaluation section of the exam, candidates should consider attending one of the sensory analysis videos available through the ACA’s website or attend one of the regularly scheduled webinars.  Access to pre-recorded webinars and registration for upcoming live webinars is available directly through our website.

WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED POMMELIER? 

Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage that is less well understood by most consumers. Having the knowledge and skills required to become a Certified Pommelier will equip you to better serve customers, enhance your standing in the beverage community, and give you a unique and valuable professional qualification. Being recognized as a Certified Pommelier will put you in the vanguard of advanced cider specialists in this ever growing category.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TEST COST? 

The registration fee for the exam is $350. Current members of the ACA can register at a discounted price of $250 by using the discount code in our Resource Hub. If a candidate sits for the exam but does not pass either section, or only passes one of the two sections, theory or sensory evaluation, they can resit for the section of the exam that they did not pass at a future date. The fee for retaking the exam is $175 for non-members and $125 for current members of the ACA.

Read Terms & Conditions before registering.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE TO STUDY FOR THE EXAM?

  • The Certified Pommelier Study Guide is available directly through Amazon. It is also available at all of Amazon’s international sites.This is the official study guide for the second level of the American Cider Association’s professional certification program. It contains all of the information needed to study for and pass the examination. No other reference materials are required.
  • There is also a dedicated Facebook Group (that is open for all to join) with prep materials and in-depth peer conversations that many candidates have found useful. 
  • Sensory evaluation is an important part of being a Certified Pommelier which is why we test your ability to accurately analyze the structural components, aromas, and flavors of a variety of ciders. In order to aid in the development of your sensory evaluation skills and understand the approach to testing them,  we have several pre-recorded videos available for purchase. In addition, we host several live sensory analysis webinars each year. You can access the videos and look for scheduled webinars here.

Frequently Asked Questions (Download the Frequently Asked Questions document.)

  • Are there ID or minimum age requirements to sit for the event? YES. You must be of legal drinking age in the country where you sit for the exam, and when checking in at the exam you must provide a photo ID that will both verify your age and identity .
  • Do I need to pass the Certified Cider Guide exam to take the Certified Pommelier exam? Yes.  Passing the introductory exam to become a Certified Cider Guide is a prerequisite. If you have not yet taken this exam, you can purchase a package which includes an instructional video, study guide, and access to an online exam HERE.
  • How many Certified Pommeliers are there currently? You can find the current number of Certified Pommelers here.
  • Is the Certified Pommelier Exam available in my area? Certified Pommelier exams are held periodically throughout the year and in a variety of locations. Please check our current exam schedule to find an exam suitable for you. 
  • What can I bring into the event? You may bring only a water bottle into the exam space. Cell phones, smart watches, computers,  books or papers, and any and all other personal items must be left at a designated storage area in the exam room. Pencils will be provided, and spare paper will be available on request. Spit cups, and water will be provided during the evaluation exam. We encourage you to bring your own water bottle for the theory exam. Please contact the Cider Education Operations Manager, Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org prior to registering for the exam if you wish to request special accommodations.
  • How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please contact Cider Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org.
  • When can I register for the exam?  Exam registration is open until 14 days before the posted exam date. 
  • What happens if I cannot attend my registered exam? Please see Exam Rescheduling, Timelines and Fees in the Terms and Conditions Document for full details.  If you do need to cancel your registration, exam registration fees can be refunded up to 14 days before the exam. Please note that a $25 administration fee applies to any cancellation.
  • Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? Registrations are not transferable, so the name on the I.D. presented when checking in for the exam must match the name on the registration.
  • How long does the test take? You are given 2 hours to complete the theory section of the exam and 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the sensory evaluation section.  There is a 15 minute break in between sections.
  • Is there a tasting section on the test? Yes. You will be asked to evaluate six ciders in two flights, one flight that assesses your ability to distinguish between key structural elements and a second where you are asked to complete a full evaluation of three ciders using the Structured Sensory Analysis format. The possible aromas and flavors document will be supplied for use during the exam.
  • What is the grade needed for passing? 60% of the possible points for sensory evaluation and 70% for theory
  • When will we receive our graded exams? Exams are not returned to candidates, however you will be notified as to whether or not you have passed about 6 weeks from the exam date. If you did not pass a section of the exam, you may request a breakdown of your points by general topic to help you identify areas in which you could improve your score should you wish to retake the exam.

February 5: Certified Pommelier Exam at CiderCon® 2025

Take the Certified Pommelier Exam at CiderCon® 2025 in Chicago, Illinois on February 5!

Ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? If you have already passed the Level 1 Certified Cider Guide exam 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 at CiderCon® 2025 at the Chicago Hilton, 720 Michigan Ave.

The exam will begin promptly at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, February 5.

*Level 1 Certified Cider Guide certification is a prerequisite for taking the Certified Pommelier Exam. (Haven’t taken your Level 1 Certified Cider Guide Exam? Buy the bundle here! ACA Member discounts are available.)

There’s also a discount code available for ACA members for the Certified Pommelier Exam. You can find that code in our Resource Hub.

WHAT IS THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER EXAM? 

The American Cider Association’s mission is to grow a diverse and successful 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 hospitality (distributors, retailers, bartenders and more!) while also welcoming journalists and serious cider enthusiasts. 

The exam for the  introductory level certification, Certified Cider Guide (CCG), is an online test that can be taken at any time. The exam for the more advanced second level of certification, Certified Pommelier, is only available in person. The exam consists of two parts, a written theory exam comprising short answer and essay questions and a blind sensory evaluation of a number of ciders. Passing the introductory level exam is a mandatory prerequisite to sitting for the Level 2 Certified Pommelier exam. 

Certified Pommeliers must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered at the introductory level, but must also be able to think critically and demonstrate a deeper understanding of cider and the cider industry.

The topics covered in the exam are: 

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

The exam is meant to be challenging. The only  information necessary for successfully passing the theory section of the exam is contained in the Certified Pommelier Study Guide available on Amazon. To study for the evaluation section of the exam, candidates should consider attending one of the sensory analysis videos available through the ACA’s website or attend one of the regularly scheduled webinars.  Access to pre-recorded webinars and registration for upcoming live webinars is available directly through our website.

WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED POMMELIER? 

Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage that is less well understood by most consumers. Having the knowledge and skills required to become a Certified Pommelier will equip you to better serve customers, enhance your standing in the beverage community, and give you a unique and valuable professional qualification. Being recognized as a Certified Pommelier will put you in the vanguard of advanced cider specialists in this ever growing category.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TEST COST? 

The registration fee for the exam is $350. Current members of the ACA can register at a discounted price of $250 by using the discount code in our Resource Hub. If a candidate sits for the exam but does not pass either section, or only passes one of the two sections, theory or sensory evaluation, they can resit for the section of the exam that they did not pass at a future date. The fee for retaking the exam is $175 for non-members and $125 for current members of the ACA.

Read Terms & Conditions before registering.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE TO STUDY FOR THE EXAM?

  • The Certified Pommelier Study Guide is available directly through Amazon. It is also available at all of Amazon’s international sites.This is the official study guide for the second level of the American Cider Association’s professional certification program. It contains all of the information needed to study for and pass the examination. No other reference materials are required.
  • There is also a dedicated Facebook Group (that is open for all to join) with prep materials and in-depth peer conversations that many candidates have found useful. 
  • Sensory evaluation is an important part of being a Certified Pommelier which is why we test your ability to accurately analyze the structural components, aromas, and flavors of a variety of ciders. In order to aid in the development of your sensory evaluation skills and understand the approach to testing them,  we have several pre-recorded videos available for purchase. In addition, we host several live sensory analysis webinars each year. You can access the videos and look for scheduled webinars here.

Frequently Asked Questions (Download the Frequently Asked Questions document.)

  • Are there ID or minimum age requirements to sit for the event? YES. You must be of legal drinking age in the country where you sit for the exam, and when checking in at the exam you must provide a photo ID that will both verify your age and identity .
  • Do I need to pass the Certified Cider Guide exam to take the Certified Pommelier exam? Yes.  Passing the introductory exam to become a Certified Cider Guide is a prerequisite. If you have not yet taken this exam, you can purchase a package which includes an instructional video, study guide, and access to an online exam HERE.
  • How many Certified Pommeliers are there currently? You can find the current number of Certified Pommelers here.
  • Is the Certified Pommelier Exam available in my area? Certified Pommelier exams are held periodically throughout the year and in a variety of locations. Please check our current exam schedule to find an exam suitable for you. 
  • What can I bring into the event? You may bring only a water bottle into the exam space. Cell phones, smart watches, computers,  books or papers, and any and all other personal items must be left at a designated storage area in the exam room. Pencils will be provided, and spare paper will be available on request. Spit cups, and water will be provided during the evaluation exam. We encourage you to bring your own water bottle for the theory exam. Please contact the Cider Education Operations Manager, Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org prior to registering for the exam if you wish to request special accommodations.
  • How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please contact Cider Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org.
  • When can I register for the exam?  Exam registration is open until 14 days before the posted exam date. 
  • What happens if I cannot attend my registered exam? Please see Exam Rescheduling, Timelines and Fees in the Terms and Conditions Document for full details.  If you do need to cancel your registration, exam registration fees can be refunded up to 14 days before the exam. Please note that a $25 administration fee applies to any cancellation.
  • Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? Registrations are not transferable, so the name on the I.D. presented when checking in for the exam must match the name on the registration.
  • How long does the test take? You are given 2 hours to complete the theory section of the exam and 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the sensory evaluation section.  There is a 15 minute break in between sections.
  • Is there a tasting section on the test? Yes. You will be asked to evaluate six ciders in two flights, one flight that assesses your ability to distinguish between key structural elements and a second where you are asked to complete a full evaluation of three ciders using the Structured Sensory Analysis format. The possible aromas and flavors document will be supplied for use during the exam.
  • What is the grade needed for passing? 60% of the possible points for sensory evaluation and 70% for theory
  • When will we receive our graded exams? Exams are not returned to candidates, however you will be notified as to whether or not you have passed about 6 weeks from the exam date. If you did not pass a section of the exam, you may request a breakdown of your points by general topic to help you identify areas in which you could improve your score should you wish to retake the exam.

Press Release: ACA Welcomes Six New European Certified Pommeliers

The American Cider Association is pleased to welcome six new European Certified Pommeliers after completion of the first certification exam offered outside of the United States. The new Certified Pommeliers are some of the key members of the European cider community, and their embrace of the Certified Cider Professional program is another step forward in the realization of the ACA’s vision for the industry through increasing the understanding and appreciation of cider and perry. 

The new Certified Pommliers hale from countries across the continent including the UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Lithuania. They are Adam Wells, who was on the shortlist for 2024 Fortnum and Mason’s Drink Writer of the Year for his work at Cider Review, Marco Manfrini, president of the Associazione Pommelier e Assaggiatori di Sidro,  influential cider writer (Cider Explorer) Natalia Wszelaki, historian, writer and maker at Kertelreiter Cider & Perry Barry Masterson, cidermaker at Sodo Sidrinė Donatas Genys, and wine and cider scientist and consultant Yann Gilles.

Donatas Genys

Yann Gilles

Marco Manfrini

Barry Masterson

Adam Wells

Natalia Wszelaki

“The response to the exam was amazing,” shares the ACA’s CEO Michelle McGrath, “and to have such a distinguished group now part of the growing global CCP community is a testament to the CCP program’s role in supporting the growth of cider within the larger beverage category. It is a rigorous exam, and you could tell that all who sat for it had taken their studies seriously though they are all already playing significant roles in the cider industry. We are so grateful to Christine Isensee-Kiseau, Michael Stöckl, and the whole Cider World Frankfurt team for partnering with the ACA to make this exam happen and hope we can do it again next year.”

Education and certification programs such as those run by Cicerone, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and the Court of Master Sommeliers, have done much to increase the understanding of the beverages they cover and enhance the professional standing of the individuals that complete them. With its CCP program, the ACA is poised to do the same for cider, raising the drink’s profile within the larger hospitality community as cider’s share of the global beverage market continues its steady growth. Continuing education is an important part of staying relevant in a rapidly changing hospitality environment.

For more information about the CCP program contact Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org or visit the ACA website at www.ciderassociation.org. For information about CCP classes in Europe, contact European CCP representative Gabe Cook at gabe@ciderassociation.org.

###

Member Rate Increase and New Member Levels Notification

We love cider! At ACA we are deeply committed to supporting the industry and our members so that the US cider community can be strong today and continue thriving for years to come. 

So it goes without saying, we also love our members. That’s one reason why we haven’t increased our membership dues for more than 7 years. We know your resources are limited, and for this reason, we take our fee structure and your benefits very seriously. But the time has come to adjust our membership rates slightly, so we can continue growing our education and advocacy programming. We are also adding some new membership levels to better meet demand.

PAYING DUES EARLY

If you would like to pay your next annual dues early, we will be happy to honor the current rate before the increases take place on July 1. Please contact our membership and engagement coordinator Miranda for more information. 

VOTING LEVEL MEMBERS

Active US Cideries (Organizational Membership Type)

The American Cider Association’s bylaws define voting level members as any commercial producer of cider and/or perry with production in the United States of America with a valid, current Federal winery license issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)–a requirement for all commercial cider producers in the United States. 

Voting level member dues will increase on July 1, 2024. The range in increase will depend on your membership level. These increases will help the ACA to continue delivering relevant and impactful programs to support your business’s bottom line, make your life easier with access to helpful resources and expertise, and cultivate a healthy US cider industry and community.

These memberships are an example of an Organizational Membership Type, where all employees are eligible and included in the membership for no additional cost. 

US Commercial Cidery Membership LevelsPrior DuesNew DuesRate Increase
Annual production of 1-5,000 gal/year$175$1856%
Annual production of 5,001-25,000 gal/year$350$3706%
Annual production of 25,001-100,000 gal/year $500$55010%
Annual production of 100,001-500,000 gal/year $1,000$1,15015%
Annual production of 500,001-1,000,000 egal/year $2,000$2,30015%
Annual production of > 1,000,000 gal/year $3,000$3,45015%

ALLIED MEMBERS

Allied members are not voting level members per ACA’s bylaws.

Cideries-in-planning (Organizational Membership Type)

Before a cidery begins commercial production, they may join as allied members to get access to the helpful resources available to ACA members.  

  • The dues for US-based Cidery-In-Planning members will increase 6% to $185 annually. 
  • The new Cidery-In-Planning member type for International Members will be $196 annually.

Enthusiasts (Individual Membership Type)

We are excited to add a second enthusiast type membership specifically for bartenders, sommeliers, beverage directors, chefs and other food, beverage and hospitality professionals. 

  • The Hospitality membership type will be $75 per person annually. 
  • The home cidermaker/enthusiast membership will remain $75 per person annually.

Retailers, Bars, Restaurants and Wholesalers (Organizational Membership Type)

Retailers, bars, restaurants or wholesalers who sign up as allied members can include all their employees in their membership with no added fee. 

  • Independent Retailers, Bars, Restaurants and Wholesalers: $250 per company annually
  • Corporate and Chain Retailers, Bars, Restaurants: $385 per company annually

Allied Trade (Organization Membership Type)

The ACA is lucky to have the support of vendors, suppliers, service providers and partner organizations who believe in our programming to support the cider industry. (Please note that Allied Trade member benefits apply to an organization’s employees, not members, volunteers, subsidiaries or clients.)

  • Allied Trade Memberships: $375 per company per year

Orchards (Organizational Membership Type)

We are adding two different types of farm memberships for fruit growers based on farm revenue. For now these memberships use the USDA farm designations to differentiate. We are developing specific benefits for our grower members, and are looking into how to designate our members that are both growers and cider producers. Stay tuned!

  • Family Farms (<$500,000 gross annual sales): $195 per farm annually
  • Commercial Farms (>$500,000 gross annual sales) $375 per farm annually

International Cider Producer Members (Organizational Membership Type)

We are privileged to have international cideries participate in ACA programming year round. We’re refining our international cidery level member fees as follows:

Int’l Commercial Cidery Membership LevelsDues
Annual production of 1-5,000 gal/year$ 196
Annual production of 5,001-25,000 gal/year$ 383 
Annual production of 25,001-100,000 gal/year $ 567 
Annual production of 100,001-500,000 gal/year $ 1,155 
Annual production of 500,001-1,000,000 gal/year $ 2,300 
Annual production of > 1,000,000 gal/year $ 3,500 

THANK YOU, MEMBERS! 

We’re looking forward to continuing working with you and for you! Together we can grow and nurture a robust and diverse cider industry. We appreciate your support. We can’t do it without you!

Press Release: ACA Reaches 100 Certified Pommeliers Following New York Exam

The American Cider Association is thrilled to announce that 100 individuals have now attained the prestigious Certified Pommelier designation following the exam held at ACA member cidery Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack, New York on April 18. This benchmark is meaningful for the Certified Pommelier program because the exam is rigorous with robust theory and sensory evaluation sections . The new Certified Pommeliers are Hannah Keggins, Cidermaker at Westwind Orchard, Alicia Pelkey, Cidermaker at Red Apple Farm, and Charlee Oddo, Cider Expert at Ancona’s Wines & Liquor.

Hannah Keggins

Alicia Pelkey

Charlee Oddo

“We are beyond excited to celebrate that we now have 100 Certified Pommeliers. To see the dedication of so many in the beverage community equip themselves with advanced skills to guide consumers through the wide variety of ciders available is truly inspiring,” comments ACA CEO Michelle McGrath.

Early on, the American Cider Association recognized the need to promote specialized knowledge about the cider category. Most food and beverage 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 not known by culinary and hospitality professionals, the establishment of the Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program in 2016 was a strategic maneuver to educate professional audiences.

Today, the CCP program is educating 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 worldwide.

“We know that consumers respond to engaged servers, and that confident recommendations go a long way in influencing their purchase decision. Our theory of change is that cider enthusiasm is contagious–CCP is how we keep the flame growing,” adds McGrath. 

Certified Cider Professional Program Benchmarks as of May 21, 2024:

  • Number of Level 1 Certified Cider Guides: 2,602 
  • Number of States with Certified Cider Guides: 49 including DC
  • Number of Countries with Certified Cider Guides: 20
  • Number of Level 2 Certified Pommeliers: 100
  • Certified Pommeliers Around the World: United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the UK

More about the Certified Cider Professional Program and Upcoming Opportunities

The CCP program begins with a Certified Cider Guide (CCG) Level 1 certification to help industry professionals develop a fundamental understanding of cider. The Certified Pommelier (CP) 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 second edition of the textbook was released in March of 2024 to present a more global view of the cider industry as well as including new sections covering important emerging sectors such as low and no-alcohol products.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 website.

For those interested in attaining their Certified Pommelier designation, there are several upcoming exams to choose from:

In addition, there is a live sensory analysis webinar scheduled for June 27 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM Pacific featuring Brooklyn Cider House. Those interested in attending can find all the details on the ACA website. Taking advantage of sensory analysis webinars is highly encouraged for those interested in taking the Certified Pommelier exam. 

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 Certified Cider Guide or Level 2 Certified Pommelier exams. You can also learn more at https://ciderassociation.org/certification

###

May 30: Navigating Trends: Insights Into Wine & Spirits for Cidermakers

Join us for an exclusive webinar hosted by 3 Tier Beverages consultants Julia Lechleiter and Mary Mills, in collaboration with the American Cider Association. We will explore Wine and Spirit trends and the possible intersection with Cider. 

As the BevAlc industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial for Cider producers to stay informed to be able to adapt to shifting consumer preferences. In this insightful session, industry experts will explore key trends, innovations, and consumer behaviors that are shaping the Wine and Spirits landscape provided through NIQ Scan and Consumer Panel Data. 

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the cider industry, this webinar offers a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and stay ahead of the curve. 

About the Speakers:

Mary Mills

Mary Mills joined 3 Tier Beverages in 2022 from NielsenIQ, where she spent 14 years across client management, business development, and innovation insights. She has experience working with various clients in the food, beverage, and consumer goods industries, with 9 years focused on alcohol specifically. She holds a Marketing degree from The Ohio State University and is an avid Buckeye fan. She resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Andy and two children, Luke and Ava.

Julia Lechleiter

Julia Lechleiter started out her career at 84.51 on their Insights team where she supported emerging CPG brands in leveraging Kroger household data to guide customer-focused assortment, promotion, innovation and digital strategies. After supporting clients on numerous new item presentations and being exposed to the power of BASES innovation research, she joined NIQ on the BASES BevAl team. While she learned to love the BevAl industry, she missed working in a data platform to support clients run various analyses, specifically those related to retailer relations which led her to 3 Tier. Julia graduated from Miami University with a degree in Marketing, and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have a 1-year old son, John, and two cocker spaniels, Bailey and Phil.

June 17: Sensory Analysis Workshop at Bivouac Ciderworks

Interested in learning how to taste cider like a pro? The American Cider Association is proud to announce that we will be teaming up with Bivouac Cider to host a cider sensory workshop. Join us Monday, June 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Adventure Lodge, 3980 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 for an in person workshop.

Over the course of 2 hours, an expert Certified Pommelier will lead you on a guided tasting through two ciders and a food pairing. This hands on workshop will teach you the professional tips and tricks for understanding the elements of local and national ciders. Come sip, swirl, and savor delicious ciders! Perfect for cider lovers at any level

Cost: $40

Agenda:

  • 5:30 PM: Doors open
  • 6:00 PM: Cider sensory analysis workshop begins.
  • 8:00 PM: Networking

Must be 21 or over to attend.

Are you an ACA member? Click here to access the member exclusive discount code in our Resource Hub.

June 27: Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Brooklyn Cider House

You’re invited to a Live Sensory Analysis webinar on Thursday, June 27th, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM Pacific!

Join our Certified Pommelier panel as they guide you through an immersive sensory experience featuring cider from Brooklyn Cider House in New York.

During this live practice session, you’ll learn how to analyze and appreciate cider like a pro and prep for your Certified Pommelier exam.

Not able to make it to the live event? No worries! The webinar will be recorded and available for you rewatch at any time with your initial purchase.

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 Brooklyn Cider House by clicking here. Use code “CP2024” at checkout to receive $2 off the bundle price.

Cost for the webinar is $30 for non-members and $20 for ACA members. Are you an ACA member? You can find your discount code in the Resource Hub.

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.