ACA Celebrates 2000 Certified Cider Professionals

Cider can be a misunderstood beverage and with its increasing popularity in the United States the American Cider Association felt it was vital to create an education based program that would help those who work on the front line of cider sales speak in a knowledgeable manner about the ciders they’re selling, serving, and supporting. Thus, in 2016 the American Cider Association founded the Certified Cider Professional program (CCP) to educate those in retail and trade about cider. The success of the program is in the numbers. In just six years, 2000 people have become Certified Cider Professionals.

“We couldn’t be more delighted that 2000 have chosen to become Certified Cider Professionals,” says ACA Executive Director Michelle McGrath, “Reaching tastemakers and influencers is part of our broader strategy to increase cider sales and we look forward to watching the ranks of Certified Cider Professionals continue to grow.”

The ACA has continued to improve the CCP program since its inception and now offers a bundle package for those interested in becoming Certified Cider Professionals. The bundle includes a full study guide, an on-demand webinar, and access to the online 60 question exam. There are bulk discounts available for those wishing to get their staff certified and discounted pricing available to ACA members.

In addition, the ACA has developed a second tier Certified Pommelier™ designation. 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. In order to become a Certified Pommelier™ candidates must sit for an in person exam that consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). So far, 38 people have passed the rigorous exam and you can get to know them on the Certified Pommelier™ page.

To learn more about the Certified Cider Professional program you can head to the Certification page of the ACA website. For more information about the program, bulk discounts, and member discounts contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey.

CiderCon® 2022 Select Synced Audio Presentations Available to Members

The American Cider Association is please to share that we have six synced audio presentations from CiderCon® 2022 held in February in Richmond, Virginia to share with members. If you missed the presentations or were unable to attend CiderCon® this year, now is your chance to do a little catch-up.

These synced presentations can be found in our Membership Portal, as well as presentation notes from many of the sessions held at CiderCon® 2022. You must be a member to access this information and you will be prompted to login to view the presentations.

Cider Cocktails created by Jennie Dorsey

Grapefruit & Sage Cidermosa

Fill glass 3/4 with your favorite dry acid forward sparkling cider

Shake and strain on top:

2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

1 oz. sage infused simple syrup

3 dashes bitters

Garnish with grapefruit and sage

Red Berry Refresher

Shake and strain over fresh ice:

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp strawberry jam

Fill glass with a dry raspberry cider

Garnish with a strawberry and a lemon twist

Earl of Orange

Build over ice:

2 oz. cooled Earl Grey tea

1 oz. zero proof triple sec

1 oz fresh orange juice

Top with favorite barrel aged cider

Garnish with an orange and thyme

ACA Members Raise Over $7000 for Berryland Cidery

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that events hosted by ACA members raised over $7000 to help support the efforts of Berryland Cidery to rebuild. 

Berryland Cidery is an award-winning Ukrainian cidery, fruit winery and meadery located near Kyiv. In March 2022 Berryland was bombed beyond recognition by Russian troops. Berryland’s owner and cidermaker Vitalli Karvyha is committed to rebuilding. To support Vitalli, cideries and cider industry friends across the United States held events to raise funds to help. 

Events were held by Press then Press LLC, Slyboro Ciderhouse, Meriwether Cider, Courthouse Creek Cidery, Liberty Ciderworks, OK Cider Co., Blue Bee Cider, Houston Cider Company, Keepsake Cidery, Ash & Elm Cider Co., Spring Hill Cider Works, Eden Specialty Ciders, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Lassen Traditional Cider, Space Time Mead & Cider Works, Seattle Cider Company, and Cider Summit

“We were delighted with the number of events held across the United States to help Vitalli rebuild Berryland,” stated Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the American Cider Association. “It really shows the camaraderie amongst people in the cider industry, not just here in the United States, but around the world.”

Individuals wishing to support Vitalli in his effort to rebuild Berryland Cider can contribute to this GoFundMe campaign.

Additional Ways to Help Ukraine

Polish cidery Kwasne Jablko has multiple relief efforts underway both in Poland and in Ukraine. Currently, owner Marcin Wiechowski purchased a sprinter van and has organized deliveries of humanitarian supplies. Each week, they buy what is needed and volunteer drivers make the run into Ukraine to deliver them where they are needed.

In addition, Kwasne Jablko is currently supporting 70 refugees. 12 of the refugees are living on their cider farm, while the cidery has rented flats and houses for the others. They assist in job searches, support them financially, and assist in everyday problems that arise. 

After hearing about the work Kwasne Jablko has been doing, Eleanor Leger, ACA Board President and owner of Eden Ciders made the decision to begin collecting money to send to Marcin to help him with purchasing and transport. He has set up a special account for the aid work he is doing. If anyone is interested in contributing, please contact Eleanor at eleanor@edenciders.com for more information and details on how you can help.

ACA Welcomes 9 New Certified Pommeliers™

Photo by Brandon Buza

ACA Welcomes 9 New Certified Pommeliers™ to the Ranks of Cider Experts

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that nine people passed the Certified Pommelier™ exam taken in February at CiderCon® 2022 in Richmond, Virginia. Newly Certified Pommeliers™ are: Matthew Ostrander of Ibantik Craft Beverages (UT), Dan Schreffler of Space Time Mead and Cider Works (PA), Chase Rochon of Craft Curbside (ME), Jamie Pratt of Liberty Ciderworks (WA), Nicole Wheeler of Treehorn Cider (GA), Aaron Homoya of Ash & Elm Cider Co (IN), orchardists Kyle Degener from Holy Beez Orchard, (KY) and Roland Poirier (NY), and cider aficionado Bridget Fields (DC). This is the largest cohort of successful exams on both cider theory and evaluation of the four exams offered to date.

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. This led the American Cider Association to establish its Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program to educate those on the front-line of cider sales.

The Certified Cider Professional program began with a Level 1 certification to help people obtain a fundamental understanding of cider. The Certified Pommelier™ certification was developed to move beyond a fundamental understanding and to encourage cider professionals to think critically while demonstrating a higher understanding of the elements of cider. Preparation  for the exam demands months, if not years, of study and practice evaluating cider.

“The Certified Pommelier™ exam is designed to be rigorous. ” says Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the ACA. “However, accessibility remains important. We’re rolling out more and more study aids in 2022, with a book on the horizon.” 

The next Certified Pommelier™ exam is planned for June 20, 2022 in Seattle, Washington, and the ACA will announce one more test opportunity before CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. 

The ACA asks that you contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey if you have questions about the program or are interested in taking either the Level 1 Certified Cider Professional test or the Certified Pommelier™ exam. You can also learn more at https://ciderassociation.org/certification

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Open That Cider Bottle February 26

Open a special bottle of cider this Saturday, February 26, 2022!

This Saturday, February 26 is Open That Bottle Night. Open That Bottle Night was started back in the year 2000 by two Wall Street Journal columnists, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. Held on the last Saturday in February of each year, this day encourages folks to open up that special bottle and share memories.

While they may have been talking about wine, we know that there’s a lot of special bottles of ciders with great stories sitting on shelves and in cellars just waiting to be opened and have their stories told. So we’re asking you to open one of those special bottles and share your cider bottle story on Instagram.

Is it a bottle from the first batch you ever made? Does it have a unique apple variety that you’ve been wanting to try? A cider you stumbled upon while on vacation? A cider gift from a friend that you’ve been saving? A cider that you fell in love with the first time you tried it and had to add it to your collection?

Silly or poignant, we want to hear them all! Tell us and the world your cider bottle story and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #openthatciderbottle this Saturday, February 26, 2022!

Cider Production Survey

Please fill out the 2021 Cider Production Survey!

The American Cider Association would appreciate your help in aggregating production information for U.S. cideries for 2021. We collect this information in order to help advocate for cidermakers with Congress, the media, and buyers.

This survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. This survey is being collected by an independent third party who has agreed not to share information with us that might identify who you or your cidery are, and to only share aggregate data with us. YOUR PRIVACY MATTERS TO US.

Your cidery name is collected by the 3rd party to ensure there are no duplicates, but the ACA will never see that information.

We do ask a number of questions about sales and production for 2021. You will find it helpful to have that data handy before completing the survey. Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey! Note: If you produce wine or other beverages besides cider, please answer only considering your cider production.

Deadline extended to Thursday, March 10, 2022! Fill out the survey now before time runs out.

Urge Congress to Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

While we appreciate Congressional support for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, it is clear that cideries and others in the hospitality industry are still in need of additional support. Submitted claims far outstripped what was provided in March 2021 by approximately $50 billion. Refilling the RRF is an important step in the hospitality industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

New bipartisan legislation provides much-needed economic relief to the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars, cideries, and other craft alcohol businesses with tasting rooms. With fewer Americans dining out, traveling, or gathering for events, these businesses have seen dramatic declines in revenue and struggled to reopen. Through this legislation, eligible entities may receive grants to help cover payroll, mortgage or rent payments, utilities, operational expenses, and other eligible expenses.

We’re asking Congress to provide relief to hospitality businesses still struggling to survive, and we need your help. After Congress established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) last spring, the initial round of funding left 177,000 eligible businesses without a penny of relief.

According to research by the National Restaurant Association, the RRF saved more than 900,000 jobs at restaurants that received grants. Their estimates indicate that fully funding the RRF will save more than 1.6 million restaurant jobs.

Congress is weeks away from considering a spending bill for all government operations. It’s critical that this package include additional support for the RRF!

Join us in urging your Members of Congress to support additional funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) by passing the Continuing Emergency Support for Restaurants Act (S. 2675)!