Volunteer at CiderCon® 2024!

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

Who’s Elegible?

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

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

What’s expected of you as a volunteer? 

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

What’s in it for you? 

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

How do I sign up?

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

If you have any questions, please contact Woodley Smith.

Pour Your Cider at Cider Share at CiderCon® 2024

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

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

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

Learn more about CiderCon®!

Calling All Cideries: Submit Your Content for CiderCon Video!

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

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

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

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

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.)


The American Cider Association’s mission is to grow a diverse and successful U.S. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources and services to our members and by advocating on their behalf. One way to fulfill this mission is through the Certified Cider Professional Program–a program aimed at educating the front-line of cider sales (distributors, retailers, bartenders and more!).

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

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

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

The topics covered in the exam are: 

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

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


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


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

For non-members, the exam is $275.  

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


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

Refund and Opt Out Policy

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

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

Present Your Research at CiderCon® 2024

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.

We’re Looking for Vendors for CiderCon® 2024

Did you know that the largest gathering of cider producers in the world is coming to Portland, Oregon  next January for CiderCon® 2024? In addition to a wide range of educational sessions and events for cider producers, we also host an extensive trade show where our attendees can meet vendors with products and services that can help them thrive. CiderCon® 2024 will be held at the Oregon Convention Center from January 17-19 and the trade show will be right in the middle of it all. We haven’t been back to Portland since 2016, so we’re anticipating a great turn out!

If you haven’t been a vendor at CiderCon® before, now is the time to get involved and showcase your products and services to the rapidly growing cider industry. Our attendees always appreciate the chance to meet new vendors.

Have you already been a vendor at CiderCon®? Then you already know how much our attendees love the trade show and seek it out to connect with you!

Booth prices for CiderCon® 2024 are $3000 for a 10’ x 10’ space – and that includes 3 passes to the conference as well as lunch on Thursday and Friday!

Interested in joining us? Email our Trade Show Coordinator Ellen Husch for more information!

Know a company that you think would be a great fit? Send their contact information to Ellen.

There are also numerous sponsorship opportunities available for vendors. Supporting the American Cider Association is a great way to gain brand visibility at CiderCon® and beyond. There are a myriad of reasons why sponsoring the ACA works in your favor. We shout out our appreciation for our sponsors far and wide at CiderCon®, on our website, on social media and our members hear us. Our Executive Director Michelle McGrath is eager to work with you on creating a custom sponsorship experience that meets your brand’s personality and needs. Email Michelle to schedule a meeting.

ACA Now Accepting Speaking Proposals for CiderCon 2024

CiderCon® is the world’s premier networking and educational event for the professional cidermaking community. CiderCon® 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. We invite presentation proposals from qualified experts who meet the criteria of being able to educate cidermakers, apple growers, cidery owners, retailers, wholesalers, marketers and other cider industry professionals about best practices, new trends, research, and improving processes.

Successful proposals will state clearly:

  • Target Audience – role in industry as well as business model.
  • Skill Level – is material is best for beginner/intermediate/ or advanced attendees.
  • Educational Goal – what skill, tool or new understanding will attendees walk away with?

We are committed to ensuring CiderCon® is a safe and welcoming space for all regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability or sexual preference. We strongly encourage BIPOC, LGTBQIA+, veterans and speakers with disabilities to submit proposals.

Additionally, we invite speakers from outside but related industries to cider. Our industry will be strengthened with fresh perspectives.

Particular topics of interest we seek applicants for through this RFP:

  • Compliance
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Distributor Relationships
  • Chain Retail Sales
  • DtC Sales
  • Market Trends
  • HR
  • Finance
  • Operational Safety
  • Team Leadership
  • Equity & Inclusion

Proposals are due to the CiderCon® committee by June 1, 2023. Approved speakers receive a complimentary pass to CiderCon® 2024 which includes lunch for 2 days.

ACA Seeks Guest Country for CiderCon 2024

CiderCon® is one of the most robust, diverse, thorough and connected professional cider conference in the world. We pride ourselves on being a host to international attendees year after year. The 14th annual CiderCon® will take place in beautiful Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. We expect well over 1,000 people to attend. We are requesting proposals from other countries to send a diverse representation of their regional cidermaking community to be featured guests of honor at CiderCon® 2024. Previously featured countries are Spain, France, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland. Guests from these countries continue to attend future CiderCons because of the quality programming and because CiderCon® is an exchange of ideas, understanding and knowledge that enriches the global cider community. 

Costs: The American Cider Association will waive CiderCon® registration fees, provide up to 5 nights hotel for up to 4 cidermakers, and pay for and help coordinate cider imports for educational sessions. Guest countries are asked to further fund cidermaker expenses (airfare, taxi, per diem). Cidermakers may also fundraise through sponsorships, and we are happy to brainstorm strategies. ACA will also provide professional photos of cidermakers participating in CiderCon®, suitable for PR uses by their home country. 

Proposals will be considered on the following priorities: (A) evidence of guest country financial commitment (B) compelling cider story (C) depth of cidermaking knowledge for proposed speakers (D) diversity of proposed speakers, in cider style, cider opinions, and demographics. We are also prioritizing countries that have not been featured before. 

Countries in close proximity to each other may want to team up if there are less cideries available in their own country. We welcome creative proposals. 

Proposals are due June 1, 2023 at 5 PM Pacific Time. Please contact Michelle@ciderassociation.org if you have any questions. 

2023 Cider Excellence Award Winners Announced

The American Cider Association announced the award winners at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago

The American Cider Association (ACA) was pleased to announce the recipients of their annual Cider Excellence Awards at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago last week. CiderCon® is the ACA’s annual conference and took place in Chicago, Illinois from January 31 – February 3, 2023 this year. The ACA established these annual awards at CiderCon® 2015 to honor individuals, businesses, and organizations from around the country for their achievements in and contributions to the U.S. hard cider industry. The highest honor given each year is the award for Significant Impact on the Cider Industry, and the ACA awarded Ria Windcaller of CiderChat and Sean and Malaika Tyson of CiderSoms these honors this year. In addition, Elizabeth Ryan of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider was awarded the Apple Advocate Award.

“Each year at CiderCon® we gather together as an industry and a community. It’s both an opportunity to learn and to celebrate,” says Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA. “The awards we give out each year reach to all corners of the industry and are an incredible way to highlight the contributions of so many.”

Part of the ACA’s mission for their awards is to celebrate the retailer and wholesaler tiers of the cider industry. Many of the awards go to restaurants, bottle shops and distributors who are doing well in their efforts to promote the diversity of the cider segment. As cider is highly regionalized and heavily dependent on local markets, most of the awards are given by region. 

Each region includes the following states:

  • East: CT, MA, ME, PA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT
  • Midwest: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI, KY
  • Mountain West: AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, KS, NE, OK, TX
  • Pacific Coast: CA, HI
  • Northwest: OR, WA, ID, MT, AK
  • South: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV, MD, DE, DC 

The ACA Cider Excellence Awards fall into seven categories: Best Cider Retailer Award; Best Cider-Focused Establishment Award; Best Cider Distributor Award; Outstanding Pommelier Award; Member Appreciation Award; Significant Impact on the Industry Award; and the Apple Advocate Award. With the exception of the Member Appreciation Award, Significant Impact on the Industry Award, and the Apple Advocate Award– all other awards are given to one individual or organization within each member region.

Learn more about the 2023 Cider Excellence Award winners below.

Photo by Brandon Buza

Significant Impact on the Industry | Ria Windcaller is the producer and cider emcee at Cider Chat, a weekly podcast with over 350 archived episodes with makers, cider enthusiasts, and folks in the cider trade around the world. She founded Totally Cider Tours in 2018, leading both national and international group cider tours yearly. In 2022, she produced CiderDays 2.0, a three-day event held in western Massachusetts complete with tastings, workshops, author talks, a cider pop up, cider tap takeover and a cider dinner focused on celebrating women in cider. She is also an award-winning hobbyist cidermaker and cidermaking instructor.

Photo by Brandon Buza

Significant Impact on the Industry |Malaika and Sean Tyson fell in love with cider in 2006 and soon after began their blog Cider Soms  to introduce wine lovers to cider. Since then, they have become an integral part of the cider community through their dedicated coverage of cider and cidermakers through their blog and social media channels. In addition, they have spearheaded conversations about increasing cider’s diversity and have volunteered countless hours in support of the ACA and the cider industry.

Photo by Brandon Buza

Apple Advocate | Elizabeth Ryan is the producer of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider. She is a renowned fruit grower and cidermaker and has studied cider making in Somerset and Hereford in England. She has a degree in Pomology from Cornell University. She made her first barrel of cider there as a student in 1980. She is one of the founding GrowNYC Greenmarket farmers. She received the Cornucopia award from Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and was a Smithsonian Fellow. She was a keynote speaker at the NY State Governor’s Alcohol Summit where she pushed policy that would support small-scale hard cider production.

A full list of winners follows.

Best Cider Retailer Award (Non-Cidery Off-Premise)

Best Cider-Focused Establishment Award (Non-Cidery)

Best Cider Distributor Award

Outstanding Pommelier Award (Bartender, Retailer or Distributor Representative)

Member Appreciation Award

  • Schilling Hard Cider, Portland, OR
    • Awarded for their support of CiderCon® and invaluable cider networking
  • Yonder Cider, Wenatchee, WA
    • Awarded for their leadership with our equity and inclusion programming
  • South Hill Cider, Ithaca, NY
    • Awarded for their leadership with our educational programming and regional ambassadorship

Significant Impact on the Industry Award

  • Malaika and Sean Tyson, The Cider Soms
    • Awarded for spearheading conversations about improving cider’s diversity, for promoting cider through their blog, and for being tireless volunteers 
  • Ria Windcaller, Cider Chat Podcast
    • For creating a source of learning and a space for storytelling in the cider community with her podcast since 2015

Apple Advocate Award

  • Elizabeth Ryan, Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider
    • For telling the stories of New York apples, for growing apples, for being a pioneer orchardist and cidermaker

Further information, media interviews, award recipient bios and photos available upon request. Please contact Michelle McGrath at michelle@ciderassociation.org.

About the American Cider Association

The American Cider Association is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States.  It gathers and shares information about cider production, regulations and cider apple growing to help members improve their operations, raise awareness and advance cider in the market. The organization was founded in February 2013. Learn more at ciderassociation.org.


Meet Your 2023 Board of Directors

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce the results of this year’s board elections. Congratulations to new board members Sarah Hemly and Breanne Heuss, and welcome back returning board members Dave Takush, Philippe Bishop, Marcus Robert, Talia Haykin, and John Behrens.

The board also re-elected Eleanor Leger as Board President, Brooke Glover as Board Vice President, Dave Takush as Board Secretary, and John Behrens as Board Treasurer.

Visit our About Us page to learn more about all your American Cider Association board of directors. 

Director-At-Large Seat

Dave Takush

2 Towns Ciderhouse

Corvallis, Oregon

Director-At-Large Seat

Philippe Bishop

Alpenfire Cider

Port Townsend, Washington

Northwest Regional Chair

Tieton Cider Works

Yakima, Washington

Pacific Coast Regional Chair

Sarah Hemly

Hemly Cider

Cortland, California

Mountain West Regional Chair

Talia Haykin

Haykin Family Cider

Aurora, Colorado

Midwest Regional Chair

John Behrens

Farmhaus Cider Company

Hudsonville, Michigan

Large Cidery Seat (>1 million gal/yr)

Breanne Heuss

Golden State Cider

Sebastopol, California