Dry Cider January Announced by Cider Association

The American Cider Association is launching a month long campaign called Dry Cider January to promote their members’ ciders containing 0 grams of sugar. They will list the ciders on their website and will be promoting them through the association’s social media channels with the hashtags #dryciderjanuary and #pickdrycider. 

The list will be updated regularly and can be found here.

“The brain has a hard time distinguishing fruity from sweet. Many ciders with absolutely no sugar in them can still be fruit-forward,” explained the association’s executive director, Michelle McGrath. “You’ll find there are a multitude of dry ciders available when you start seeking them,” she added. 

Alcohol is created when yeast converts sugar into alcohol through fermentation. A cider that contains no residual sugar has been fermented to absolute dryness. Sometimes cidermakers will blend a completely dry cider with fresh juice for acid/sugar balance, but other times they leave the cider entirely dry. These dry ciders are what the association is listing on their website for the campaign.

“It’s fairly common for cidermakers to list a dryness scale on their packaging nowadays. Although the definition of ‘dry’ may vary, a 0g sugar cider will generally be marked as such on the back label. ‘Bone dry’ is another term some companies may use to distinguish their 0 grams RS ciders from their dry ciders with only 1 or 2g,” McGrath shared. Some dry ciders, like Brut from Virtue Cider, include nutrition labels that indicate 0g sugar. 

The list of ciders on the association’s website demonstrates the flavors and styles possible not only in the cider category, but in ciders with 0g sugar.  From single varietal ciders showcasing specific apple varieties and served in a 750ml bottle to ciders aged on rose and hibiscus petals and served in a 12 oz can, the range is impressive. They are adding to the list daily throughout January. Follow along on their Instagram account @pickcider to learn more about the featured products. 

The American Cider Association is developing additional campaigns for 2020 to showcase their members and highlight the diversity of flavor and style in the category. 

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Active members of the American Cider Association may submit their 0g sugar ciders to be featured here. Consumers can participate with the hashtags #dryciderjanuary and #pickdrycider. 

The Gravensteins of Sonoma County

“What can I get for you?” I ask the next customer at the bar. “I don’t know. Do you have any cider made with Gravenstein apples?”, comes the reply. “All the ciders on our menu have some Gravenstein in them. What sort of cider do you like?”

That’s a typical beginning conversation at the Craft Cider Tent of the Gravenstein Apple Fair, an annual fundraising event benefiting the local agricultural non-profit Sonoma County Farm Trails. Most of our customers are not regular cider drinkers, and have generally just tried one or another of the large nationally distributed brands. Confronted with a menu of 18 local ciders, from almost as many producers, they are understandably a bit flummoxed. We talk about what they typically drink, do a little sampling, and eventually find something they love.

When most people hear “Sonoma County, CA” they think wine, but apples have been a part of the commercial landscape there since northern Europeans arrived in the mid-19th century. Chief among them was, and is, the Gravenstein, an apple whose 18th century origins (said to be Italy, Denmark, or Germany) are shrouded in mystery. It’s an apple that expresses itself marvelously in the area’s loamy soils, warm, dry days, and cool summer nights. Nineteenth century pomologists had it right when they described the Gravenstein as having “that refreshing admixture of sweet and acid which characterize our most esteemed apples” and declaring it good for cider. 

Cider makers in the area take full advantage of everything the Gravenstein has to offer making ciders that cover all possible flavor and texture bases – wild and tart native-ferments (Old World Winery and Coturri Winery); dry and fruit forward (Sawhorse Cider and Horse & Plow Winery); clean and crisp (Goat Rock and Ethic Ciders); semi-dry single varietals (California Cider Company and Golden State Cider), and complex blends (tannic from Tilted Shed Ciderworks, aromatic from Dutton Estates). The 10-fold increase in local cider companies over the last seven years has been a boon to local farmers, too, allowing them to resist the economic pressure to grub up their orchards in favor of wine grapes. 

While the range of flavor possibilities seems almost endless, what these ciders all have in common is their use of local fruit, typically dry-farmed and organic, harvested and pressed in season. They also rarely make it outside of Northern California, and most can only be found within Sonoma County itself and the handful of counties that surround it. To experience all this place has to offer, you have to go there. 

The American Cider Association is making it easy for the attendees of CiderCon 2020 in nearby Oakland to do just that with a pre-conference orchard and tasting tour. For cider lovers, it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

American Cider Association Note: Registration for CiderCon 2020 and associated tours will open soon! Darlene Hayes will be the guide for the Sonoma Country tour.

Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Two Broads Ciderworks

Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar featuring cider from Two Broads Ciderworks on December 8 from 4-6pm Pacific. This will be your last chance to participate in a live sensory analysis webinar prior to the Certified Pommelier™ exam at CiderCon® 2023, so sign up now!

This webinar is also available to rewatch and practice as a prerecorded event.

Order cider to participate along with the webinar here. Please make sure the ciders can be shipped to your state before registering for this event.

CiderCon® Scholarships Continue for 2023 Conference

Yonder Cider, Beer Kulture and the American Cider Association have partnered to continue CiderCon® scholarship opportunities this year. These scholarships are designed to bring new BIPOC individuals into the cider industry. The scholarship includes: registration to CiderCon®; travel and lodging; Certified Cider Professional Level 1 bundle (including the exam); two Certified Cider Professional Sensory Webinars; and the registration fee for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam. Applications can be found here and the deadline to apply is December 10, 2022. Recipients will be contacted to schedule a brief interview and winners of the scholarship will be notified on December 21, 2022. CiderCon® 2023 takes place January 31 – February 3, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Cider Share at CiderCon® 2023

Join us for our beloved welcoming reception, Cider Share, at CiderCon® 2023! The Cider Share reception will take place Wednesday, February 1 from 5:00 to 8:00pm.

Haven’t been to a Cider Share before? Here’s what to expect:

50 (yes 50!) cideries from around the country and the world will be serving their ciders for attendees to enjoy. Learn about the ciders from the cidermakers and their staff, meet fellow cidermakers from your region, mingle with other CiderCon® attendees to connect with old friends or make new ones! Cider Share will be limited to 400 people this year so make sure to add Cider Share during the registration process! Tickets are $20.

Want to serve your cider at Cider Share? Here’s how:

Featured cideries will be chosen using a lottery along with considerations of geography and style. If you would like to be considered as a featured cidery at Cider Share 2023, please select that choice during the CiderCon® registration process. The lottery drawing will be held in early December and those selected will be notified via email with further details.

Two Weekend Events on VA Cider Trail

Apples abound this weekend at exciting harvest events taking place at two stops on the Virginia Cider Trail. If you’re looking for a fun family weekend event, there’s no need to look any further than these two appealing harvest festivals. Read on to learn where to go, when to be there, and what will be happening!

22nd Annual Apple Harvest Festival with Albemarle Ciderworks

Date & Time: November 5 starting at 10am

Join Albemarle Ciderworrks for one of the most anticipated festivals of autumn, the Apple Harvest Festival hosted by the CoveGarden Ruritans and Albemarle CiderWorks!

Find farmers’ market vendors, meet local artisans, and craftsmen demonstrating their skills. Enjoy Brunswick stew and apple butter or grab some to go. Dig your teeth into a variety of apples and taste an array of Albemarle CiderWorks’ fine sparkling ciders. Dance the afternoon away with live music from local bands, and take a hayride around the mountain.

Apple Harvest Festival and Makers Market at Sage Bird Ciderworks

Date & Time: November 5 starting at 11am

Join Sage Bird Ciderworks to celebrate their favorite things: apples and fall!

Cider pressing, heirloom and cider apple tasting with Glaize Orchards, a cider release, mulled cider and cider donuts, food trucks, local makers and crafters, and live music will light up the festivities all day Saturday.

ACA Welcomes Wine Industry Professional Sunny Gandara as CiderCon® 2023 Keynote Speaker

The American Cider Association welcomes wine industry professional Sunny Gandara, DipWSET, CWE as the featured keynote speaker for CiderCon® 2023. Sunny is the former Global Wine Director for the Mathew Kenney Restaurant Group and the founder and owner of The Plant Curious Table, a digital dual-purpose education and wine consulting company. Sunny has nearly 20 years of experience in the food and wine industry with a focus on plant-based foods. Her expertise is connecting with “plant curious” clientele over her wine knowledge. She is a Certified Wine Educator and Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators and a holder of the WSET Diploma. She is a professionally trained chef through the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) in New York and a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador.

According to the Plant Based Foods Association, “one-third of Americans are actively reducing their meat and dairy consumption. While a small number of Americans identify as vegetarian or vegan, flexitarians represent the largest growth opportunity for plant-based foods.” 60% of Gen-Z wants to eat more plant-based foods and 79% eat plant-based 1-2 times a week. This is where Sunny’s “plant curious” lens can help open new markets up for cider.

 As the keynote speaker, Sunny will explore vegan market growth and trends, who plant-based consumers are, why cider is perfect for this growing group, and how to market to these consumers.

CiderCon® 2023 will take place in Chicago from January 31 to February 3, 2023, at the beautiful Hilton Chicago. Early registration closes November 9. Learn more about all our fantastic speakers at www.ciderassocation.org.

Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Ploughman’s Cider

Looking to up your sensory analysis skills? Studying for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam at CiderCon® 2023? Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar featuring cider from Ploughman’s Cider on November 17 from 4-6pm Pacific. Cost to attend the workshop is $15 for ACA members and $30 for non-members.

This webinar will also be available to rewatch and practice as a prerecorded event.

Ploughman’s has generously created a limited time Sensory Analysis Bundle for this webinar. You can purchase the cider bundle here.

Virginia Cider Trail Fall Events

Fall has officially arrived and apple harvest season is in full swing across Virginia! To celebrate, cidermakers across the state are hosting harvest festivals, pressing parties and cider release events.  They would like to invite you to join in their celebrations of the cidermaking season with orchard parties and more. Check out the list below to find a fun event in your neck of the woods or one further afield if you’re looking for a fall weekend getaway!

We hope you’ll take the time to visit one or more of these fantastic fall events and learn more about Virginia apples and the ciders made from them. And don’t forget to check in on your Virginia Cider Trail Passport for a chance to earn prizes!