The American Cider Association (ACA) is excited to announce the appointment of Miranda Bradeen as its new Membership and Engagement Coordinator. In this role, Miranda will be responsible for member outreach, engagement, and retention efforts, as well as supporting the ACA’s mission to promote cider in the United States.
Miranda has a long-standing history in the beverage and hospitality industry, with a passion for making people feel seen and heard. She is a sommelier by trade and has spent most of her career working with wine. However, after walking the Camino de Santiago del Norte through Spain in 2021, she fell in love with all things cider. Since then, she has been actively pursuing ways to learn about cider’s history, culture, growing regions and farming practices, cultivars, production methods, and people surrounding all of the above.
Miranda is excited to be a catalyst for growth within the industry and is eager to bring her expertise to the ACA. She is committed to supporting the organization’s members and ensuring they receive the best possible experience.
Currently, Miranda lives in Spokane, WA, with her husband, Scott, son Henry, and daughter, Dromi.
The ACA is thrilled to have Miranda on board and looks forward to the new ideas and fresh perspectives she will bring to the organization. Her extensive experience and passion for the beverage industry are sure to enhance the ACA’s efforts in promoting and growing the cider industry.
You can learn more about Miranda and the rest of the ACA staff on our webpage.
TAKE THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM AT CIDERCON® 2024!
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 at CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon. The exam will take place Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
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.)
WHAT IS THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM?
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.
WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED POMMELIER™?
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.
HOW MUCH DOES THE TEST COST?
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 email@example.com.
- 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.
As the leaves begin to change and the air grows crisp, there’s nothing quite like sipping on a delicious cider to fully embrace the autumn season. And what better way to indulge in this quintessential fall beverage than by attending a cider festival? Whether you’re a seasoned cider connoisseur or a casual fan looking to expand your palate, there are plenty of local and regional cider festivals happening across the United States. From the East Coast to the West Coast, get ready to raise a glass and celebrate cider at these must-attend events!
Cider Summit Seattle
September 8-9, 2023
Join the fun at Lake Union Park @ MOHAI for the region’s largest hard cider tasting event, featuring 150 selections from nearly 50 producers. Among the selections will be local, regional and international favorites, mead, cider cocktails, fruit spirits and maybe even a few surprises! This is an outdoor event – rain or shine!
Maryland Cider Festival
September 9, 2023
Mark your calendars for the inaugural Maryland Cider Festival, happening on Saturday, September 9th from 11 am to 4 pm at Two Story Chimney Ciderworks in Gaithersburg, MD. The festival will feature ten local cideries showcasing their best hard ciders, from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, modern to heritage, and everything in between. You’ll get to sample a variety of flavors and styles, and learn more about the cider-making process from the experts.
Pour the Core NY
September 23, 2023
Yaphank, New York
Pour the Core: A Hard Cider Festival is coming to Southaven County Park in Yaphank on Saturday, September 23rd, for another fantastic fall day filled with ciders from local, national and international cidermakers, plus a donut eating contest, food trucks, and more!
Whidbey Island Cider Festival
September 30, 2023
Check out the Whidbey Island Cider Festival. They strive to build community while highlighting the locally crafted ciders, meads, spirits and beers of their beautiful island. Come and see what Whidbey Island has to offer in locally crafted ciders, brews, spirits and mead!
Cider Week New York
October 6-15, 2023
Throughout New York State
Glynwood launched the inaugural Cider Week in 2010 as an outcome of a travel exchange between French and American cider producers. Distinctive products like hard cider evoke a local food culture and sense of place that is closely tied to agriculture in addition to garnering more profit for farmers. Recognizing these opportunities while addressing the still-real obstacles faced by our farming community, Glynwood’s goal was to foster a cider market in the Hudson Valley as the linchpin in a chain of positive social, environmental, economic and community benefits. After over 10 years of successful growth, Cider Weeks in New York are now a production of the New York Cider Association, and continue to cultivate an appreciation for New York’s orchard-based cider by showcasing NY cider’s diversity, food-friendliness, and excellent quality in cider production.
October 21, 2023
Asheville, North Carolina
Carolina CiderFest will feature ample tastings of hard cider, mead, apple wine, and seltzers along with artisanal food, live music, and workshops, all in the heart of Downtown Asheville. The al-fresco event will be held during the peak of fall colors and the height of the area’s busiest tourism season on Saturday, October 21, 2023 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the new, improved, and expanded venue, McCormick Field, home to Asheville’s own Tourists Baseball team.
October 21, 2023
The region’s premier cider sampling event, Minnesota CiderFest, will feature unlimited samples from the region’s best cideries. Join them for cider, food trucks, and music outdoors at Minneapolis Cider Company. Enjoy unlimited samples of unique ciders from your favorite local and regional cideries.
Philly Cider Week
October 21-29, 2023
Since its inception in 2018, Philly Cider Week has connected cider enthusiasts across industries in Philadelphia through thoughtful programming. Cider sales thrive when they have their own section on a menu and our annual week of events allows establishments to experience the viability of featuring ciders more prominently year round and encourages new relationships between small businesses. At its core, PCW’s mission is to educate and raise the awareness of cider as an agricultural beverage.
Franklin County CiderDays
November 3-5, 2023
Franklin County, Massachusetts
The folks at Franklin County CiderDays are beginning the process to reinvigorate the apple and hard cider festival you know and love! Plans are afoot to present a full slate of activities on the first weekend of November for the 29th incarnation of this beloved event – November 3 – 5, 2023. Stay tuned for more details.
Virginia Cider Week
November 10-19, 2023
Virginia Cider Week started in 2012 when the Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate passed House Joint Resolution 105 to designate the full week before Thanksgiving as Cider Week in Virginia. Since then, cideries across the Commonwealth have celebrated Virginia Cider Week through festivals, tastings, pairing dinners, workshops, and open houses at venues throughout the state. Virginia Cider Week is a great time to celebrate the growth and variety of the Virginia cider industry.
Oregon Cider Week
January 13-21, 2023
Oregon Cider Week Special Edition is happening in conjunction with CiderCon® 2024, hosted in Portland, Oregon. The Northwest cider community will welcome visiting conference attendees, media, buyers and cider fans at a wide variety of not-to-be-missed events. Save the date(s) and stay tuned!
Don’t see your festival on here? Let us know!
We’re happy to announce that the American Cider Association will once again host a research poster session during CiderCon® 2024. If you have a research project you’d like to share with CiderCon® attendees, please complete this form to allow our panel to select the featured posters. Submissions are due November 1, and applicants will be notified of acceptance by December 1. Successful applicants will receive one complimentary registration to CiderCon®.
CiderCon® 2024 will be held at the Oregon Convention Center from January 17-19 and successful applicants will be expected to present their research to attendees during a specified time. Posters can also be featured digitally via our conference app.
Please reach out to Ellen with any questions and feel free to share this form with other researchers.
It’s time once again to share what we’ve heard from extension agents and orchardists around the country about this year’s apple crop outlook. Initial reports are from May-July of 2023.
Renae Moran, University of Maine
May 24: Temperatures were above normal going into winter, but no damage has been seen to occur from the midwinter low of -17 to -25 °F in early February. Reports from northern Maine are not yet available.
A warm spell in April caused an early start to the growing season, so green tip occurred about two weeks earlier than anticipated in southern Maine. Cool temperature followed this initial early start. Consequently, bloom occurred only one week earlier than anticipated. May 18, temperatures dropped to the lethal point during bloom and ranged from 24 to 30 °F depending on location within the state and orchard elevation. Higher elevations had better flower survival than lower spots. Western Maine had greater flower mortality, 90 to 100%, than eastern orchards, 10 to 20%.
Pollination conditions were fair, but the cool temperatures are expected to favor fruit set.
No major issues with disease or pests have occurred by this time of petal fall.
Sherif M. Sherif – Virginia Tech
June 1: The apple crop in Virginia for 2023 exhibited unique characteristics compared to previous years. One notable aspect was the early bloom, occurring approximately 10 days earlier than in 2022 and representing the earliest bloom in the past six years. This early development was likely influenced by the unusually warm winter experienced in the region. However, the early bloom was met with a series of frost events that had severe consequences for fruit trees across the state, including apples, peaches, cherries, apricots, and plums. The frost events occurred in March and April, with temperatures as low as 18°F recorded in some locations, including Winchester, VA. The damage caused by these freezing temperatures was significant, particularly affecting the apple cultivars that were transitioning from half-inch green to tight clusters. Observations collected after the first freeze on March 20th indicated severe damage to both king and side blooms, with an alarming 87% flower damage in king blooms and 60% damage in side blooms for popular varieties like Pink Lady and Gala.
Despite the detrimental effects of the frost events, the overall apple fruit crops for most cultivars in Virginia were not significantly impacted. In fact, fruit thinning applications were necessary in many parts of the state to optimize crop loads. However, the warm winter also resulted in sporadic blooming, extending over a prolonged period for certain cultivars that are not typically known for such blooming patterns, e.g. Gala. The sporadic blooming led to a unique situation where apple trees carried two distinct crops, differing in size by almost 9mm. This posed challenges for thinning decisions, particularly during the usual thinning window of 6-18mm.
Despite the challenges posed by the frost events and the complexities in thinning decisions, it is anticipated that a full crop of apples will be achieved in most parts of Virginia. However, the quality of the fruit may be compromised in certain regions due to the frost damage (see picture attached for frost rings on apple fruits) and ineffective thinning practices. Nevertheless, operations that successfully implemented appropriate thinning strategies and employed hand thinning techniques are expected to yield above-average fruit size, particularly for cultivars like Gala, Pink Lady, and other small-sized varieties.
In conclusion, the 2023 apple crop season in Virginia was characterized by an early bloom, severe frost events, and sporadic blooming patterns. Despite the damage caused by frost, most apple cultivars are expected to produce a full crop, although fruit quality issues may arise in some areas. The challenges associated with thinning decisions due to the varying fruit sizes further added complexity to the season. However, growers who made effective thinning decisions and implemented appropriate techniques are likely to achieve above-average fruit size for specific cultivars, contributing to a successful apple crop in Virginia.
Nikki Rothwell – Michigan State University
June 22: The apple crop in Michigan is looking pretty good. We had good pollination weather, and although the winter was mild, we didn’t have any spring frost/freeze events that impacted the crop. We had good thinning weather, maybe a touch hot, but most growers had good thinning efficacy. We have been hot and dry, so growers without irrigation may struggle with fruit size. However, the weather is supposed to be cooler and have more moisture next week, so we have a long way to go to measure size. We had some cider varieties that had fire blight, more than I have seen in the past. Growers are pruning out the strikes and applying copper to keep the spread to a minimum.
Overall, growers are optimistic about apples in Michigan. We have the potential to have very high quality, and fungal disease pressure has been low because of the hot and dry weather. We are keeping an eye out for summer rots with the warm temperatures but have not seen any hint of those diseases thus far.
Jake Mann – Five Mile Orchards, California
June 27: The 2022 harvest was our biggest yet… great yield overall, and the addition of a new-to-us ranch with lots of McIntosh, Fuji, and Spitzenberg sent more fruit (and juice) to cideries throughout California. Our picking crew was fantastic, moving through the blocks quickly, while the weather remained agreeable through the fall. We seeded more acres in cover crop this year… the bell beans / vetch / peas germinated and were ready to take off when spring warmed up.
But before that… the rainfall this winter was massive. Maybe 150% of what used to be “normal” before all the drought years. We wore rubber boots for the Wassail party (not so common out here) You’ve likely seen the reports of devastation caused by flooding in nearby Pajero (a major farmworker housing community) here in Watsonville. Some corners of our orchards flooded, but fortunately drained quickly, hopefully avoiding long term damage to the trees (looks good so far). In between the storms, we accumulated plenty of chilling hours. All signs were pointing to a good year.
The bloom was promising in some blocks, a bit light in others. Bees were working during blossom time despite cooler temps, but as the petals fell and fruitlets started to stick, it became apparent we’re entering one of the lowest production years we’ve seen in a decade. Red Delicious (not something we use for our cider accounts) are very sparse (harvest strategy will have to be creative as our regular contract picking setup won’t pan out with the current density). McIntosh set is light but starting to size up. Pippins, Mutsu, and Fuji set is decent. Aphid has done a real number on the Granny Smith, unfortunately, and the cool temps seemed to keep lady bugs away in that crucial first week of activity. Starting to see new leaf growth beyond the aphid damage which is a relief. On a better note, the dry-farm Gravenstein orchard we take care of has the best set in the 4 years we’ve been working with it. (Good news for fans of Grav ciders).
We’ll be dialing back the irrigation efforts / hours this summer due to the accumulated rainfall. Hoping our mild, foggy weather keeps things mellow though the next couple months. Ripening is looking 2+ weeks later than normal.
Seth Brawner – WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (NWREC)
April/May: This year in western Washington, spring weather was atypical – April was uncharacteristically cool and wet, while May was uncharacteristically warm and dry. Uncommonly, temperatures stayed almost completely below 60 °F until the end of April, when a heat event caused increasing temperatures (even briefly into the 70s °F) between April 27th and May 3rd. Yet overall, April was very cool. Olympia and Seattle experienced the coolest and second coolest Aprils, respectively, in the last 80 years. These low April temperatures seemed to have delayed bud development and, consequently, the date of full bloom. Hence, much of the orchard (planted with 65+ varieties) reached full bloom a little later this year, closer to mid-May rather than early May such as in the past. This will subsequently delay the time of harvest this Fall.
After an uncommonly cool April, the heat event in the beginning of May was followed by another period of cool temperatures that lasted until mid-May. These cool temperatures helped to prolong the blooming period. However, a higher heat event (high 80s °F) in mid-May and subsequent high temperatures in the latter half of May quickly reduced the effective bloom period. This May ended up being the second warmest May the Seattle area has experienced in the last 80 years. The abnormally cool, and then warm, temperatures this Spring have influenced and adjusted the full bloom date and bloom length this year. Due to the delay in bloom and subsequent high heat event which effectively ended the bloom period, these weather patterns may have a slight negative effect on pollination, fruit set, and final yields.
June: Now that we are almost into July, we can more clearly see what our crop outlook will be like this fall. While there is much variation within the orchard, this is generally the “off” year in the tree’s biennial cycle. Therefore, fruit set is relatively low compared to last season. Additionally, this year we saw the presence of tent caterpillars throughout the orchard; these pests were not present in the orchard last season. Some cultivars, those that are strongly biennial, have no fruit this season. The following list includes cultivars in which all 6 trees in the orchard had no fruit this season, or so few fruit as to be inconsequential: ‘Amere de Berthcourt’, ‘Brown Thorn’, ‘Brown’s Apple’, ‘Blanc Mollet’, ‘Breakwell Seedling’, ‘Bulmer’s Norman’, ‘Domaines’, ‘Ellis Bitter’, ‘Medaille D’Or’, ‘Mettais’, ‘Smith’s Cider’, ‘Sweet Coppin, and ‘Vilberie’. Popular cider cultivars such as ‘Golden Russet’, ‘Harrison’, ‘Hewes Virginia Crab’, ‘Kingston Black’, ‘Porter’s Perfection’, ‘Ashmead’s Kernal’, ‘Roxbury Russet’, and ‘Frequin Rouge’ all have a full apple crop load this season which needed to be thinned out. Although temperature and precipitation conditions this spring were not ideal, it seems that the apple crop load in our orchard was not severely affected. Looking forward to a great harvest this fall!
Greg Peck (Cornell University) and Scott Ramsey (New York Cider Association)
July 17: For cider apple growers in New York, 2023 was set up to be a banner year. Many orchards that had been planted over the past 10 years were finally expected to be in full production. Although the early parts of the 2022-2023 winter had above average temperatures, a relatively cold April held back bloom enough so that most regions in the state had fairly average full bloom dates. After Spongy moths, fire blight, and biennial bearing all coincided to reduce yields for many growers in 2021 and 2022, there was a tremendous bloom on cider apple trees in 2023.
Unfortunately, cold temperatures returned with a vengeance on 18 May. Most regions of the state experienced temperatures below freezing, with some locations getting into the mid-20’s. Trees in bloom or with small fruitlets experienced a range of damage from outright crop failure to varying levels of fruit loss and fruit peel damage. The damage was state-wide, but site specific. Orchards in close proximity to large bodies of water, such as Lake Ontario, one of the Finger Lakes, or the Hudson River, reported the least amount of damage. The 18 May event really drives home the importance of site selection in developing a sustainable cider apple orchard.
You can learn more about the frost/freeze event by visiting: https://data.nysipm.org/weather-events/20230518/map.html. This resource developed by Dan Olmstead who is the Project Lead for the Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA), which is the regional mesonet system.
In response to the freeze events the New York Cider Association and Cornell co-hosted a listening session and are currently pursuing support for the cider industry through state and federal programs. Although it’s too early to fully get a sense of the varieties that fared better in the frost/freeze event, it does appear that some of the later blooming cider apples that had yet to bloom will have at least a partial crop.
To date, there hasn’t been a statewide survey for the apple industry at-large, much less for cider apple growers, there will still be many apples available for cider production. In fact, fresh-market apples that are unsellable through mainstream markets because of peel blemishes can still be used for cider production.
After the 18 May event, much of the state experienced dry conditions through the end of June, and then frequent precipitation occurred for the last few weeks. In mid-July, parts of the state experienced a “once in a thousand years” rain event that caused widespread damage to crops and infrastructure. It is too early to comment on the effects this will have on apple production, particularly in the Hudson River Valley where 8 inches of rain was reported in just six hours.
Additionally, smoke from fires in Quebec, British Columbia, and elsewhere have caused repeated air quality issues in New York. Although there might be some reduction in photosynthesis from the smoke, there should be minimal impact on apple productivity or fruit quality. However, the smoke is a significant health hazard for farm workers.
Despite the hardship that these weather and largely climate change driven events have on individual farms and cider producers, there are many producers in the state that have reported having minimal damage. In particular, growers close to Lake Ontario, one of Finger Lakes, or the Hudson River Valley have so far been spared significant crop damage. Even though crop yields and cider production will be down this year, we are hopeful that 2023 will produce some excellent New York ciders.
Megan Muehlbauer – Rutgers University
July 31: The 2023 growing season has been very variable across New Jersey. A late season frost caused extensive damage to the apple crop in the Northern half of the state. However, many growers unaffected by the frost are anticipating a bumper crop.
The season kicked off with very little rain, and by mid summer the state had a number of heavy rain events.
Thus far diseases have been minimal or well controlled.
Far West Cider is excited to collaborate with the American Cider Association to host an in person Certified Cider Professional workshop on the afternoon of August 14!
Do you sell cider or work in a tasting room or retail shop? Are you a chef, sommelier, cicerone, buyer or cidermaker? Do you just love cider and want to be able to spread the word with some serious cider knowledge to back it up? Then this workshop is perfect for you! This is a great opportunity to gather with fellow California cider folks to develop your cider knowledge so you can keep on promoting the amazing California ciders you know and love or to learn about them if you’re new to cider! Not to mention, you’ll have the chance to walk away with a Certified Cider Professional Level One designation!
Attendees will enjoy a two hour workshop and tasting session with American Cider Association Education Operations Manager and Certified Pommelier™ Jennie Dorsey. After the workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to take the online test at Far West Cider (bring your own computer). The test can also be taken online at a later date if so desired.
Did we mention that after the workshop, you’ll be able to purchase Far West Cider to take home or to enjoy with fellow attendees in the tasting room?!
Cost to attend is $65 per person and includes the test fee (this is a $30 savings from individual bundle purchases AND includes a cider tasting).
*A note about arriving at Far West Cider: Use the above address in Google Maps and just follow the navigation, if it feels like you’ve headed the wrong way you’re right on track. Riggers Loft is located at the end of the long winding road. Look for a building marked “SHEET METAL / PAINTING” and a red banner marked “WINE TASTING HERE.” Far West is right inside!
South Hill Cider is excited to collaborate with the American Cider Association to host a training workshop in person for the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification at their cidery on August 21, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern. Participants will have the opportunity to take the test online immediately after the training or take the test at a later date.
This is a great opportunity for the NY cider community to gather in person to attend the workshop and get CCP Level 1 certified. Anyone who sells cider, works in a tasting room or retail shop, is an owner, chef, sommelier, cicerone, buyer or cidermaker who is interested in cider education and adding a cider certification to their accreditation is welcome and encouraged to join the training session!
Lunch will also be available for purchase at the South Hill Cider tasting room after the training.
- 9:45 AM: Arrival and check-in
- 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Workshop in tent
- 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM: Lunch break (food will be available to purchase)
- 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM: Take the online CCP 1 exam (please bring your own laptop)
- 2:15 PM: Enjoy a glass of cider and the view
Cost per person is $45 which includes the test fee. Tickets are available on EventBrite.
Interested in learning how you can host an in-person training event at your location? Learn more on our CCP Level 1 website.
Ready to get in on the fun this Dry Cider July? Let’s talk about the best ways to find dry cider at the supermarket. With a plethora of options from fruity summer flavors, botanical ciders, and distractingly beautiful labels, it can be hard to determine which ones are dry. Thankfully, there are some telltale signs whether the cider that’s caught your eye is dry or not.
First, let’s talk about the difference between dry vs. sweet cider labels. Ciders in the U.S. are labelled based on their residual sugar, and fit into one of four categories: Sweet, Semi-Sweet, Semi-Dry, or Dry. This month celebrates the driest of the dry. Dry ciders have 0 grams of sugar and what we’ll be focusing on. We’ll also touch on semi-dry ciders if that’s more your speed. It still counts on the ‘gram. So, how to choose? Here are four strategies to determine whether or not a cider is dry.
Cider Name or Subtext
On the face of the cider, the can or bottle should have a name. If the name or subtext includes dry, semi-dry, off-dry or brut, we’re on the dry end of the spectrum. Conversely, if we find sweet or semi-sweet listed, we can eliminate those options.
Brut aside: Brut is a style of cider modeled after the French Brut Champagne. Cideries take different approaches to honor this beverage’s French origin by means of aging the cider on French wine barrels or using champagne yeast. What all Brut ciders have in common is their sparkling nature and zero grams of residual cider.
Another way to tell if the cider in your hand is dry is to spin the can around and look for descriptors provided by the cidery. Many cideries provide a brief description of the cider, highlighting tasting notes and how to best experience it either temperature-wise or with food pairings. Some cideries go above and beyond by providing a sweet-to-dry sliding scale, denoting where this particular cider falls.
If the other two methods haven’t brought you an answer yet, another option is to check the nutritional facts. This method can be unreliable as nutritional facts are not universally required for cider. However, if the nutrition facts are available, check how many grams of sugar are in the can. Generally, if there are 0-3 grams of sugar in a 16 oz can, you are squarely in dry country. If you’re more in a semi-dry mood, look for 4-10 grams of sugar.
Earlier this month in the ACA blog, Tim Godfrey highlighted that a dry cider might not taste dry after all. My favorite examples of this phenomenon are fruit ciders and ciders featuring the McIntosh apple. Fruit ciders bring their own character to the table and the fruitiness can trick our brain into thinking a cider with 0 grams of sugar is a sweet cider. Similarly, McIntosh apples are flamboyant, botanical apples that bring what our brains interpret as sweetness to the drink. These ciders can provide a different kind of dry cider experience.
Zero (or no) Sulfites
This final strategy to determine if you have a dry cider is a tried but not always true method. Look to see if the can lists zero (or no) sulfites. The addition of sulfites is a common method to stop the cider’s fermentation process before the cider is fully dry. If the cider lists that it is sulfite-free, you most likely have yourself a dry cider. Many cideries let their cider go completely dry to negate the need for sulfites. Because sulfites are a method of halting fermentation before a cider is fully dry, their presence likely indicates a sweeter cider. Note that some cideries may choose to add sulfites to their dry cider as a precautionary measure.
Whichever method you choose to follow here, listen to your gut. What sounds good to you? What flavor profile will appeal to your friends at the bottle share? And, if you follow these tips to your next favorite dry cider, let us know on Instagram using #dryciderjuly and #pickdrycider. Cheers!
Want a cheat sheet for dry cider near you? Check out our Dry Cider Finder!
Alexsis Cassady is a cider influencer and Certified Pommelier™ who can be found on Instagram @ciderminded.
Summer is my favorite time of year for cocktails, from lazy beach days to backyard barbecues, or just relaxing under the warm sun, every activity is ripe with cocktail possibilities. It doesn’t hurt that we are surrounded by fresh juicy berries, crisp veggies, and citrus galore. I can think of no better way to enjoy the bounty of the season than to create dry cider cocktails for any palate.
Basic Rules for Cocktails
When it comes to creating your own cocktail recipes, there are a few basic rules that can really up your game.
- The 3 Ingredient Formula: Classic cocktails tend to follow a similar and reproducible 3 “ingredient” formula. Base liquor, ingredients to add sweetness, acidity, or both, and then your extras. The goal of the 3 ingredient formula is to create the perfect trifecta of balance and to be a building block for endless cocktail variations.
- Ice: Should your drink be shaken, stirred, or built? Should your drink be served up or on the rocks? The accepted “rule” is to shake if there is citrus in the cocktail, and to stir if the cocktail is spirit heavy. Built cocktails, also known as mixed drinks tend to be one liquor and one mixer with no added acid or sweet ingredients.
- Ratios: As for ratios, I like to start by considering the “golden rule” or 2:1:1. That is 2 parts spirit to 1 part sweet and 1 part sour. While I do use the word “rule”, I do say that with a grain of salt. These are more guidelines than hard and fast rules and are meant simply as a starting point for your cocktail constructions.
How Dry Cider Fits In
Now that we have our basic cocktail formula down, we can start to piece in cider to our formula. There are a few basic parameters to help in choosing just the right cider.
First, we can break any cider down into its base components: Sweetness/ Acidity/ Tannin
Because we are looking for cocktails using only dry cider, that leaves us with the following 4 categories.
- Dry high acid, high tannin
- Dry low acid, low tannin
- Dry low acid, high tannin
- Dry high acid, low tannin
Along with these categories, be sure to also consider fruitiness or perceived sweetness in the cider.
Next, we can break a cider down even further into basic mouthfeel and flavor categories. This would include whether it is still or sparkling, barrel aged or not. We could even dive as deep as pinpointing its most expressive flavor elements, but to be honest, we don’t even need to go that far to make delicious cider cocktails.
Now we have our basic cocktail rules and we have our basic cider components we can start to construct some delicious cocktails. I started my list by venturing out to the local farmers market. I was struck by the number of delicious fruits, berries and cucumbers and even fresh eggs that caught my eye. This was the inspiration for these true summer cocktails.
White Linen a.k.a Cucumber Gin Fizz
This cocktail is a refreshing crowd pleaser.
- 1.5 oz. gin
- .5 oz. St. Germain
- Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz. simple syrup
- Saline spray (optional)
- Top with a dry floral cider
- Cucumber ribbons for garnish
Muddle cucumber in a shaker, add gin ( I like Hendricks in this application), St. Germain, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Add ice, shake well and double strain
Upstate New York Sour
Elegant and beautiful, this twist on a classic cocktail is sure to please.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- .75 oz. simple syrup
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 1.5 oz. dry tannin forward cider
- Bourbon-soaked cherries for garnish
Add bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white (or vegan foamer) to a shaker and dry shake to incorporate all the ingredients and achieve a nice foamy texture. Add ice and wet shake. Strain into a rocks glass and add a large ice cube. Using the backside of a bar spoon, float 1.5 oz of your favorite dry tannin forward cider.
Summer Cider Sangria
Looking to make a large batch cocktail that you can adjust ingredients based on what you have on hand? This is the perfect cocktail for any summer plans.
- 750ml dry cider
- ½ cup apple or pear brandy
- Apple or pear slices
- Fresh berries
- Fresh citrus
- Citrus round and mint or other fresh savory herbs for garnish
Combine your fresh fruit and cider of choice into a large pitcher and stir to combine. Once satisfied with the fruit infusion, add the brandy and lots of ice. If you prefer your sangria to be a little sweeter, add fresh juice or lemonade.
*Note: you can change up the fruits used to better suit your cider choice. If your cider is low in acid, you could use more citrus. If your cider is higher in tannin, you could use more juicy red fruits to balance.
Not sure which cider to use, check out the American Cider Association’s Dry Cider Finder for a fantastic list of dry ciders throughout the US.
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