Meet Our Speakers
From other cidermakers willing to share their expertise in not only cidermaking, but also from their previous backgrounds in other fields, to professionals from various backgrounds who just love cider and want to see us all succeed, we are so lucky to have such an amazing variety of people who are so generous about sharing their knowledge with us. You can learn more about all of our speakers below.
Aaron Homoya is co-founder of Ash & Elm Cider Co., in Indianapolis, IN. He gets excited about introducing new people to the diverse world of cider, partnering with local orchards, and spreadsheets. But mostly, spending time with his wife, co-founder Andrèa, and their two young kids.
Aaron Sarnoff-Wood is the VP of sales and co-founder of 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Aaron learned to love cider in his travels across Europe. Upon returning to the US he was unable to find craft ciders similar to those he enjoyed found in France, Spain and England and so he began making his own. Together with friend Lee Larsen, the two decided to found 2 Towns Ciderhouse in 2010 with a goal of crafting ciders influenced by European tradition but styled after the Northwest craft beer movement. Today, 2 Towns has grown from humble beginnings to become the largest independently owned cidery in the United States while still producing cider from exclusively fresh-pressed fruit.
Abram Goldman-Armstrong is Cidermaker and Head Brewer at Tall Ship Craft Cider/ Fjordfolk Mikrobryggeri in Sandefjord, Norway, with a 4000L brewhouse. He operated Cider Riot! in Portland, Oregon from 2013-2019. Abram has been making cider and beer since 1995 and judging and writing about them nearly as long. Currently a contributor to Malus and Brewer and Distiller International, Abram has recently judged at Cider World in Frankfurt, Nordic and Baltic International Cider Awards in Lativa and Norway, World Beer Cup in Nashville, and Salon International de les Sidras de Gala in Asturias.
Adam Chinchiolo is the founder of the Far West Cider Company located in Richmond, California. Far West makes both traditional and unexpected adult beverages based on the output of the Chinchiolo family’s 100 year old organic farm located in San Joaquin County, California. Since starting in his garage in 2016 Far West has become one of the largest and most awarded farm-based cideries in California. Adam lives with his wife, children, and a whole menagerie of animals in San Francisco. When not in the cellar Adam likes cooking, running, and playing with his kids.
As the founder-editor of cider-review.com, the UK’s leading source of long-form content on cider and perry, Adam Wells has been at the forefront of covering the worldwide cider and perry revolution. He is currently writing his first book, Perry: A Drinker’s Guide, to be published by CAMRA Books in May 2024. Adam has written for Pellicle, JancisRobinson.com, Burum Collective and Full Juice Magazine amongst others and makes regular presentations on cider and perry as well as co-hosting the Cider Voice podcast. A regular judge at major cider competitions, he is the incoming Chair of the International Cider Challenge. A firm believer in celebrating the links between different drinks made with craft and care, Adam holds the prestigious WSET Wine & Spirits Diploma and works by day in the whisky and rum industry.
Albert Johnson is a fourth-generation cidermaker and farmer at Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company in Herefordshire, UK. Albert balances the tradition and heritage of his family home with a forward thinking and creative perspective on where cider and perry can travel to in the future; exploring through his cidermaking all the avenues which apples and pears can journey down, with a specialty in single variety ciders and named varietal blends. He is vice-chair of the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, and has been organising CraftCon, the UK’s only cidermaking trade conference, since it began in 2019.
Amanda Stewart is an Associate Professor of Food Science & Technology at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, USA. Dr. Stewart addresses challenges in applied food and beverage fermentation science through an integrated research, teaching and extension program. Cider chemistry and cider fermentation are a major focus of her research, and she has been a regular speaker on cider science at regional and national conferences. Dr. Stewart holds a PhD in Food Science, MS and BS degrees in Agricultural & Biological Engineering and a BS in Biochemistry, all from Purdue University. Prior to academia, she worked in the wine industry in Oregon and New Zealand, and in engineering for sustainable development. Dr. Stewart is a proud member of the CINA teaching team since early 2020.
Amie Fields is a co-founder and Director of Sales and Brand Development at Botanist and Barrel Winery & Cidery in central North Carolina. After a lifelong career in wine, sourcing, importing and distributing, Amie realized that the winemakers have all the fun. She wanted to make the type of wild and raw ciders that she and her husband enjoyed drinking and couldn’t find in the US, so she teamed up with her husband Lyndon Smith and sister-in-law Kether Smith in 2017 and Botanist and Barrel Cidery and Winery was born. Amie is also certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, has judged at the Great Lakes International Wine and Perry Competition, the Virginia Governor’s Cup and has been a panelist speaker at CiderCon®. Amie’s expertise in tasting, evaluating and finding balance is invaluable in creating new and exciting ciders and wines. At Botanist and Barrel, she loves focusing on minimal intervention winemaking in order to showcase a living product’s terroir.
Andreas Sundgren, is the founder of Brännland Iscider, which in its decade long history has grown to gain international recognition for its ice ciders served at some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Arzak, Diverxo, Disfrutar, Crissier Hotel De Ville and many others. Brännland Iscider 2021 was the first Swedish wine to ever be served at a Nobel banquette in 2022. In parallel to building a production dedicated entirely to ice cider with a yearly production of 80.000 bottles per year, Brännland Iscider has begun establishing the worlds northernmost cider-focused orchards in the company’s home region.
Andrew Beckham is co-owner and winemaker at Beckham Estate Vineyard in Sherwood Oregon. Andrew founded NOVUM Ceramics in 2013 and began producing terra cotta Amphora (NOVUM) for wine, cider, beer, and spirit. He has worked to develop the clay chemistry, forming methodology, and firing with his intimate knowledge of process and materials.
Andrew Byers trained as a culinary botanist and has many years of experience in kitchens and orchards. As head cidermaker at Finnriver Farm and Cidery in Chimacum, WA for the last 10 years he has focused on a network of small scale, organic sources of fruit and botanicals in the PNW. He also currently serves on the board of the NWCA.
Andy was born and raised in the Tidewater region of Virginia before moving to Richmond, VA for 10 years, all of which were spent working in the culinary field. His love of food led to an interest in fermentation and agriculture which eventually led to him leaving the restaurant industry to pursue an internship in small scale farming, and ultimately stumbling into a cellar position at Potter’s Craft Cider. He spent his early years washing kegs, filling bottles, and delivering cider around the state while also using his culinary background and natural curiosity to experiment and push Potter’s in new directions. His love of experimentation, local agriculture and Belgian beer are all evident in the current portfolio at Potter’s Craft Cider.
Åge Eitungjerde grew up in the center of Balestrand (Holmen), but was as often as he could with his grandfather in the orchard. He remembers the fruit blossoming as walking between freshly washed sheets. The smell from the crates of Gravenstein apples in the cellar was a childhood memory that would not let go. And in 1989, Åge and his family moved back to Balestrand and took over the orchard in Solsmyri. Åge is a qualified nursing teacher. He later realized that it had to be possible to do something more with the healthy apples than to send them off into the big machinery, where the best still ended up in the shop, but most of them were used as filler in an anonymous household juice. Åge started Balholm Fruktpresseri in 1996 and was the first to press apples into super healthy, cloudy fruit juice in bottles and get them out in stores, and that long before the concept of local food had been invented. He is passionate about the variety of fruit drinks and has managed to make many tasty types of juice, cider and fruit wine. In 2021, he was awarded the national “Ingrid Espelid Hovig” Food Culture Award; for 25 years of efforts to promote Norwegian drinks. He also makes cider with cider that doesn’t turn out quite as planned – and thus it becomes a good apple or plum dram from the distillery.
Ben Williams is the National Key Accounts Director at 2 Towns Ciderhouse. He began his career in the Grocery Industry at 15 years old bagging groceries at a local Thriftway. Since then, he has either worked in a Grocery Store or sold to a Grocery Store/Chain with stops at local AB InBev Distributors and Pelican Brewing Company along the way. In 2016 Ben joined the 2 Towns Ciderhouse Family and has been leading the National Accounts Team ever since.
Beth Demmon is an award-winning freelance writer and podcast host, BJCP Certified beer judge, Certified Cider Professional, and member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. Her work has appeared in outlets such as The Washington Post, Food & Wine, Good Beer Hunting, and many more. Her first book, The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider: American Ciders for Craft Beer Fans to Explore, is out now.
Brighid O’Keane is the Executive Director of the Cider Institute of North America (CINA), a global provider of cider production education. She came to cider from the wine industry, where she worked in support of sustainable winegrowing education and certification in the Pacific Northwest. Brighid has nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit organizational development, primarily in the fields of sustainable food systems and active transportation. She is an advisor to the Specialty Tea Alliance and returns as often as possible to her family’s rice farm in Northeastern Thailand.
Caitlin Braam is the founder and CEO of Yonder Cider and The Source Cider, based in Seattle and Wenatchee, Washington. She has worked in the beverage industry for more than 15 years, working with cideries, breweries and wineries of all sizes. Passionate about helping businesses grow, she spends her days working with producers, talking with growers and introducing consumers to the world of craft beverages. Before starting Yonder Cider and The Source Cider, she was president of Seattle Cider Company and brand strategist at Angry Orchard, as well as a freelance beverage business consultant focused on marketing, branding and public relations. A Certified Cider Professional and WSET Level 2 graduate, Caitlin spends her free time traveling the world and dreaming up Yonder’s next creation.
Casey Baxter has 20 years of beer/cider sales experience at both the distributor and supplier level. He is the National Key Account Director for the newly formed Blake’s Beverage Company that includes Blake’s Hard Cider, Austin Eastciders, and Avid Cider. Casey has been with Blake’s for 3 years and most recently spent time with Founders Brewing & Vermont Hard Cider. He is also a proud member of the data committee for the American Cider Association.
Chris Gerling is an Extension Associate in the department of Food Science at Cornell University. He works with the craft beverage industry to create educational programs that support the growth and improved quality of premium wines, ciders and distilled spirits. He is the manager of the Vinification & Brewing Technology Lab, where fermentations are conducted for research projects and applied trials; and the Cornell Craft Beverage Analytical Lab, where products may be submitted for troubleshooting, routine analysis or sensory appraisal. He also organizes and conducts workshops and seminars that focus on production and analytical techniques for farm-based beverages. Chris is the past chair of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture/ Eastern Section and serves on the ASEV national chapter’s laboratory proficiency committee. He is a member of the Cider Institute of North America’s executive committee.
Christian Miller has worked in market research, brand and category management for over two decades. He is the proprietor of Full Glass Research, based in Berkeley California, which provides market research and industry analysis for food and beverage producers and marketers. Recent Full Glass Research projects have included trade and consumer surveys, package tests, analyses of direct consumer sales, new product marketing plans and studies of the interaction between various categories of beverage alcohol. Clients range from small producers to large multi-brand companies to regional and national organizations, and cover the wine, beer, cheese and cider categories. Christian also directs research for the Wine Market Council, a non-profit organization whose research benefits members from all tiers of the industry. Projects range from the largest ongoing tracking survey of beverage alcohol consumers in the U.S. to studies of packaging, labeling, usage and various segments of consumers. He regularly teaches courses in marketing for UC Davis Continuing Education. Mr. Miller holds a BA in Economics from Franklin & Marshall College and an MBA from Cornell University. In prior jobs, Christian marketed brands ranging from a few thousand cases to over a million, as well as working in retail and restaurants.
Christine Hardie is Co-Owner & Cidermaker at Riley’s Cidery on Bowen Island, BC. The Riley’s orchard has one of the largest collections of heritage apples in North America with over 900 different varieties. Christine trained under Peter Mitchell at the Cider and Perry Academy in Herefordshire and prior to that at the University of British Columbia completing the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture. She is passionate about making dry, fruit forward, low intervention ciders.
Seven years into her career as a professional cidermaker, Christine’s company Bauman’s Cider has four consecutive titles of Mid-sized Cidery of the Year at both of the most prestigious cider competitions in the US. She is a fifth generation farmer, growing apples and making them into cider in the beautiful Willamette Valley, Oregon. Christine is on the Board of Directors for both the American Cider Association and the Cider Institute of North America. She is driven by an intense passion to move the bar upwards in both supply of and demand for cider, increasing access for makers and consumers to great fruit, fair markets and ever increasing quality of ciders. She is always dragging around her family and friends, in search of new favorite ciders and producers, tirelessly scouring the globe for the next perfect glass of apple-fermented magic.
Cody Fague is a co-founder & Creative Director at CODO Design. Since 2009, he’s led branding efforts within the food and beverage industry, and spends his days helping craft breweries rebrand and redefine their foundational positioning, developing brand strategy, identity and internationally-recognized package design that sells more beer. He has personally led the branding, or rebranding, of more than 75 breweries to date. He is a co-author of CODO’s latest book, The Beyond Beer Handbook, and co-hosts CODO’s Beer Branding Trends Podcast.
Colin Schilling is the CEO and Co-Founder of Schilling Cider. He has a passion for food and beverage broadly and has created and consulted on brands in the non-alcoholic, coffee, energy, and cannabis spaces. He has an MBA focused in entrepreneurship and business sustainability and worked in tech consulting prior to founding the cider company. In addition to the wholesale business, Schilling Cider operates two retail locations in Seattle and Portland which are the largest cider taprooms in the world by draft cider offerings! Colin strongly believes business is a force for good and change and has integrated numerous sustainable practices into the core business. He is also an industry thought leader on people-first company culture and works to deliver a best-in-class employment experience for every employee.
Dan Pucci is the co-author of the book American Cider: a Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage released in 2021, published by Ballentine. He was the founding beverage director at Wassail, New York City’s first cider bar and restaurant, and has since traveled the country in a continued pursuit of cider education, awareness, and research. He is a partner in Wallabout Hospitality, a New York City-based consulting and hospitality company.
Dan Rinke began his career in the beverage industry in the mid 90’s working in beverage retail and restaurants, then moving into wholesale wine and beer sales. This quickly inspired him to obtain a B.S. in Viticulture and minor in Plant Science from Fresno State University. Dan found himself working in vineyards and wineries across California and in 2007 he was named Winegrower (vineyard manager/winemaker) at Johan Vineyards in the Willamette Valley. In 2020 he left this position to focus on Art+Science. In 2011, Dan and his wife Kim Hamblin started Art+Science on their property, Roshambo ArtFarm, a 50-acre farm that has hay fields, pastures, tasting room, a music venue and 15 acres of a mixed culture, no-till, Biodynamic, dry farmed, regenerative orchard. In 2021 Dan started Art+Science Agronomy and consults for vineyards, orchards, wineries and cideries looking for help converting to Organic or Biodynamic Regenerative Farming and low intervention wine/cider making.
Dana Elliott is a Key Accounts Manager for 2 Towns Ciderhouse and lives in Sequim, WA. Dana has been in the beverage industry since 1999 and previously worked for a Northwest Craft Brewery before joining 2 Towns Ciderhouse almost 5 years ago. Dana enjoys the high speed pace of Key Accounts and works hard to stand out from the competition. Dana loves spending time in the garden and has been a beekeeper for 10 years.
Cider expert and author of Cider Cocktails – Another Bite of the Apple, Darlene Hayes has traveled throughout the world interviewing cidermakers, growers, and researchers, all the while drinking many fabulous ciders and trying to wrap her head around cider, past and present. She is a well regarded international cider judge and teacher, editor of the cider zine Malus, and writes about cider for a variety of other publications, including a regular column for Spirited Magazine, as well as at allintocider.com. She makes a bit of cider of her own from her orchard where she is conducting research on the impact of terroir on apples used for cider.
Dave Takush is the Head Cidermaker and co-owner of 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Dave earned a Master’s Degree in fermentation science at Oregon State University and has almost over a decade of experience in the craft beer, wine and cider industries. His passion for fermentation led him to join two childhood friends in starting 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, Oregon. Now one of the largest craft cider producers in the nation, 2 Towns has over 100 employees and is dedicated to producing quality craft cider from 100% fresh-pressed Pacific NW apples. Dave is the current board secretary for the American Cider Association, and also a board member of the Cider Institute of North America.
David Glaize is a fourth-generation apple grower in Winchester, VA, and a co-owner of Old Town Cidery. In 2010, Glaize and his brother Philip convinced their dad to plant cider varieties. In 2018, they constructed a processing facility. The juice company, Glaize & Brother Juice Co., provides custom juice blends to cideries, wineries and breweries along the East Coast. The brothers opened Old Town Cidery in 2021 in an effort to keep the family business vertically integrated. Glaize is a member of US Apple, a trade group for apple producers, and hopes to help deepen the relationship between that group and the ACA. He is passionate about consumer education and farmland protection. Glaize serves as the Southern Chair on the board of the ACA.
A former professor of Communication Studies, Dr. J Jackson-Beckham dedicated her academic career to the study of American beer. Today, she helps craft beverage organizations develop inclusive, equitable, and just practices that drive success, build communities, and empower individuals through her consultancy, Crafted For All, LLC. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Craft x EDU (pronounced “craft by E-D-U”), a nonprofit whose mission is to champion equity, inclusion, and justice in the craft brewing community through education and professional development. She is an author, speaker, and vocal advocate for the craft beverage community. In 2018, Dr. J was named the Brewers Association’s first ever Diversity Ambassador. In 2020, she was named Imbibe Magazine’s 2020 Beer Person of the Year.
Edu Vazcot is the Head Manager of the “International Cider Summit Asturias 2023” and Technical Head Manager of the International Cider Competition and Cider Fair “Sagardo Forum” in Basque Country since 2017. He is the Technical Head Manager of the International Cider Competition “CINVE” in Madrid since 2022 and a Technical Partner – Cider World Awards- Fair (Frankfurt-Germany) since 2009. Edu is a Member of the board working for the New Cider Museum in Frankfurt (Germany) and in 2019 was a member of the Steering Committe managed by the Asturian Regional Government to get Asturian Cider Culture included as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO). He has supported international writers of cider books, and judged in several international cider competitions like GLINTCAP in the USA, Australian Cider Awards, Pomme d´Or and CiderWorld Award in Germany or Best World Ciders and Bath & West International Cider Competition in the UK.
Eleanor Leger and her husband and partner Albert founded Eden Ice Cider Company in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in 2007. There they produce specialty ciders, including ice ciders, aperitifs, and naturally sparkling hard ciders from 100% locally-grown apples. Eden’s specialty ciders are distributed in 18 states and the District of Columbia. It is the first cidery in the US to received the Slow Food ‘Snail of Approval’ for being good, clean and fair. Their ciders have won numerous gold medals and 90+ point ratings, and have been recognized in The Art of Eating, Food & Wine, Edible Manhattan and “The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine”. Eleanor & Albert grow over 40 varieties of apples at their holistically managed farm, where they live with two border collies, and occasionally receive visits from their two grown children.
Ellen Cavalli is co-owner and sales & marketing director at Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma County, which she founded in 2011 with her husband, Scott. She has been named as “one of seven women moving American cider forward” by Wine Enthusiast, and is a 2019 inductee into the Heritage Radio Hall of Fame for her work devoted to advancing cider in America. Following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2021, she embarked upon creating low-ABV cider spritzes and nonalcoholic ciders, releasing the first dealcoholized cider in the US in December 2022.
Eric Phillips is the Chief Commercial Officer at Schilling Hard Cider – overseeing both sales & retail teams. Eric has successfully applied the skills gained from his past life as a public school teacher to building a world-class sales organization that has outperformed the industry by a wide margin every year with him at the helm. Eric focuses on putting people first and finding smarter ways of working that often look very different than industry norms. He believes in changing the industry for the better and creating opportunities for people of every background. Over the past two years, Eric has also spearheaded Schilling’s marketing department, elevating it to new heights of excellence. He tirelessly strives for seamless integration and unparalleled communication between sales, marketing, and all other departments, setting the stage for a best-in-class collaboration.
Felix Madrid, the General Manager of Seattle Cider Company, played a pivotal role in its early and rapid growth, despite not being a founding member. Over the course of a decade, Felix held multiple key positions within the company since its inception and was instrumental in shaping its infrastructure. His upbringing on an Oregon farm in the heart of the Willamette Valley introduced him to the intricacies of winemaking from his family, knowledge that seamlessly transitioned into his career in the cider industry. Felix’s profound impact extends beyond cider and winemaking. His expertise in mechanical automation, machining, welding, and technical design significantly shaped the company’s production excellence. In fact, he was responsible for creating much of the current production infrastructure at Seattle Cider Company. His highly technical mindset, coupled with an exceptional talent for operational efficiency, spearheaded revolutions in small craft beverage automations and manufacturing processes, guaranteeing precision and quality.
Gabe Cook is The Ciderologist – an award winning cider expert changing the way people think and drink cider. He has more than fifteen years’ experience within the global cidery industry, working in the UK, New Zealand, Norway, the US and beyond. Gabe has worked for all sizes and types of cider maker, from traditional farmhouse producers, all the way up to the world’s largest. He has even managed to present a bottle of cider to the Queen (RIP). As well as providing world class consultancy to cider makers and cider sellers alike, Gabe has written two books – 2018’s Ciderology (Octopus) and 2021’s Modern British Cider (CAMRA Publishing) – as well as countless articles for regional, national and trade media. His authority on the fermented apple is confirmed by his role as Chair of Judges for the International Cider Awards, and most crucially as the creator of Europe’s only cider sommelier (pommelier) training.
Greg is a world-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist, having held research and teaching positions at the University of Virginia, Southern Oregon University, Linfield University, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide. For over twenty-five years his research has firmly linked weather and climate with grapevine growth, fruit chemistry, and wine characteristics in regions all around the globe. His work was also one of the first to tie climate change to fundamental biological phenomena in vines and the resulting influences on productivity and quality, informing and influencing the wine industry worldwide. Greg has served on the editorial advisory boards of multiple international and national scientific journals and organizations and serves as a Director on the Oregon Wine Board and the boards of the Erath Family Foundation, the Society for International Terroir Experts, the Porto Protocol, the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, and the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association. Dr. Jones also has lifelong ties to the Oregon wine community, most closely with his family winery and vineyards at Abacela where Greg was appointed CEO in 2021.
Gregory Peck is an Assistant Professor of Horticulture in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science. He has conducted research in fruit-crop production systems in California, Washington, New York, and Virginia. Dr. Peck’s academic training spans horticulture, plant physiology, soil science, entomology, food science, plant pathology, ecology, agricultural economics, and education. His research program is designed to support and improve the sustainability, productivity, and profitability of tree-fruit producers. Current projects focus on hard cider production, sustainable soil and groundcover management for apple orchards, and improving crop-load management in apple trees through the use of a pollen tube growth model.
Isaac Arthur is a co-founder & CMO at CODO Design, an Indianapolis, Indiana-based beer & beverage branding firm founded in 2009 on the belief that they can create better work by directly including clients in the creative process. He’s written three books, including the Craft Beer Branding Guide, Craft Beer, Rebranded and the newly released Beyond Beer Handbook. He enjoys writing the Beer Branding Trends Newsletter each month for nearly 7,000 subscribers, and also co-hosts a podcast by the same name where he dives into the art and science of building stronger beverage brands.
Jana has been a champion of craft beverage for over fifteen years. She is a cider judge, Certified Pommelier™, founding member of Pomme Boots Society and published category writer. Deeply passionate about cider and community, Jana was the inaugural recipient of PICC’s NW Cider Leadership Award in 2019. She currently serves as Program Manager for Northwest Cider Association.
Jen O’Flanagan founded FeastPR, a boutique marketing + public relations agency specializing in strategic brand-building campaigns for artisanal food, wine, spirits, and beverage clients, in 2011. The immediate Past President of Les Dames New York, she has over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry.
Jenny Zegler, Director, Mintel Food & Drink and Global Consumer, has 15 years of experience covering the beverage and food industry. She has led the creation of Mintel’s Global Food & Drink Trends since 2015. Jenny regularly shares data-driven insights on what consumers want in food and drink and why with clients, in the media, and at conferences in the US and around the world. Prior to joining Mintel in 2012, she spent six years as a journalist, primarily writing for food and beverage trade magazines.
Jessica Gutierrez is a Faculty Research Assistant with the Sensory & Consumer Research team at the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center (FIC), where she conducts consumer acceptability and preference testing using their database of over 40,000 consumers in the Portland metro area. Using an experimental approach, they measure consumer response to food and beverage products following ASTM guidelines. At the FIC, their mission is supporting local food and beverage companies in the Pacific Northwest and guiding their product optimization. The FIC conducts qualitative and quantitative data analysis using data that is collected from their sensory evaluation studies.
Jocelyn Kuzelka is a winemaker, cidermaker, and technical consultant. Since 2003, Jocelyn has followed her love of fermentation and enology all around the world with experience working wine grape harvests in the U.S., Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Her education includes a B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Oenology from the University of Adelaide in South Australia. Jocelyn has been serving as a consultant to winemakers and cidermakers across the country, as well as creating small batch wines and ciders in Virginia since 2008. Jocelyn’s company Panacea Wine & Cider Consulting has helped producers build successful, thriving wine and cider companies; working with many different producers over the years has given her a high level of mastery and proficiency in the field. Jocelyn also serves as the Cider Specialist for the Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange, a non-profit organization of Virginia producers pursuing quality improvement through practical experimentation in vineyards, orchards, wineries, and cideries. The organization supports wine and cider makers to refine ideas or questions through experimental design, protocol design, funding laboratory analysis, and finally conducting sensory and statistical evaluation.
When Johan Sjöstedt founded Pomologik the goal was clear, the mission was to give the apple recognition as the grape of the Nordics. A work that is still in progress but has come a long way. Committed to spontaneous fermentation and always searching for new wild varieties, the quest for new terroir expressions is a core raison d’être. By innovation and breaking new grounds within the Swedish craft cider community Pomologik has become one of the leading forces in the cider revolution. Pomologik started the first Nordic Craft Cider Festival in Sweden to bring producers closer to consumers and start the groundwork for a closer Nordic community. It’s now an annual event in July and takes place at Johan’s family farm. His background as a sommelier and wine journalist has served him well both in terms of quality control and blending but also when it comes to judging panels.
John Bunker has been tracking down, identifying and preserving apples for fifty years using a combination of field work, historical records, identification keys and now DNA technology. John collaborates with historians, orchardists, scientists and cider makers from throughout North America and beyond. He is a member of the Historic Fruit Working Group of North America as well as the founder of Fedco Trees and The Maine Heritage Orchard. He lives among extensive gardens and hundreds of fruit trees with Cammy Watts on Super Chilly Farm in central Maine.
Joseph is head cidermaker at Ash & Elm Cider Co., and has been with the company since its opening. Joseph makes each cider with care (and obsession) so that it has the potential to become someone’s new favorite. A mechanic at heart, Joseph loves tinkering with and figuring out each piece of equipment at the cidery. Outside of work, Joseph teaches classical guitar and enjoys spending time with his wife and cats.
With over 20,000 hours of experience on the business side of the specialty beer industry, from field sales to digital marketing to regional management, a BA in Marketing from Texas State University at San Marcos, and more than 15 years of experience in the service industry, Julie Rhodes is an authority on beverage sales, marketing, sales team management, distributor partnership management, supply chain logistics, and customer service. She is the owner of Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions, an educational services and consulting company that teaches sales, marketing & distribution management strategies to craft beverage professionals.
Kait Thornton is a 4th generation orchardist from North Central Washington. She shares her passion for the ins and outs of farm life & how apples/pears are grown to her over 450,000 followers on TikTok. She recently graduated from Washington State University and is on a mission to connect consumers to the food her family produces.
Karl Sjöström studied engineering before ending up in the hospitality industry in Sweden. He worked more than 10 years as a sommelier in many kinds of fields (import, retail to Michelin restaurants). In 2016 he founded FRUKTSTEREO together with Mikael Nypelius, a no-boundary cider (fruit wine) in southern Sweden mixing all kinds of fruits from their own orchard.
Kathline Chery, is the winemaker and co-owner of Kalchē Wine Cooperative. She is the creative & tactile force behind their multi fruit co-ferments, and hybrid grape wine focus. She entered the field as a vegetable farmer a decade ago, with special interest in culturally specific ways of preserving the harvest. Along the way she learned winemaking techniques and has been influenced by the styles and fermentation practices of the global majority.
Katie Muggli is the Founder and Executive Director of Infinite Ingredient, a nonprofit whose mission is to actively support the mental and physical well-being of individuals working in the craft beverage industry through outreach, education, and access to resources. With 20+ years of experience in the hospitality and craft beverage industry, she is passionate about creating conversations that challenge the status quo and inspire actionable change. She has her M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University and Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell University.
Katie Selbee is a cidermaker and organic grower on S,DÁYES, Pender Island, a rural Gulf Island in the Pacific Northwest. She co-founded Twin Island Cider in 2016, a small land-based cidery/winery that caretakes and harvests many of the 120-year-old settler orchards still remaining on the Southern Gulf Islands. With a deep interest in traditional wine and cider techniques, Katie and her partner Matthew have been at the forefront of bringing natural fermentation and natural bubble production to the British Columbia cider scene. Her latest endeavour has been making clay vessels/amphorae from hand-dug Gulf Islands clay to use for fermenting and aging cider.
Kira Bassingthwaighte was raised in Missoula, MT and developed a deep appreciation for food and beverage early on in life. In 2009, she ventured out East for culinary school in New York’s Hudson Valley and it was here that she fell in love with fermentation, the world of apples and cider. The Rocky Mountains called her home to Montana where she began distilling at a local distillery in 2013 before she found her home as the cidermaker with Western Cider in 2017. In 2020, she received the Peter Mitchell Award for Educational Excellence and joined the Cider Institute of North America’s board of directors in April 2022.
Lara Worm, co-founder, CEO, and self-described “Adventure Guide” of Bivuoac Ciderworks, is a native San Diegan and third-generation restauranteur. Bivuoac Ciderworks was established in 2017, introducing San Diegans to hand-crafted ciders blended with the adventure and spirit of the West Coast. The goal was to create ciders that tasted as good on the trail as they do paired with a fine meal. Under Lara’s direction, the urban cidery and its North Park taproom received great acclaim since its inception, earning recognition as “best brewery” by San Diego Magazine, “restaurant of the year” by Eater San Diego, “best cider” by San Diego Reader, and one of the U.S.’s “10 Best Cideries” by USA Today. Plus, the brand has quickly gained distribution by way of independent craft beverage distributor, Scout Distribution, and has grown into four new markets in 10 years.
Laura Cherry is the owner of Dragon’s Head Cider located on Vashon Island, WA. Laura has a background in banking, consumer product management, and IT project management, but became fascinated with apples and fermentation and subsequently left the virtual world behind in 2010 to start Dragon’s Head Cider with her husband, Wes Cherry. Laura and her amazing co-workers currently tend to an 8 acre orchard of cider apple and perry pear trees, and ferment between 25,000 and 40,000 liters of cider and perry each year. Dragon’s Head Cider is sold through a tasting room on Vashon Island, to cider club members around the country, to wholesale customers in the state of Washington, and through farmers markets in the Puget Sound region.
Levi Danielson owns Raw Cider Company. Fermentations are his creative outlet. He walked away from his career in biomedical science and healthcare to pursue cidermaking professionally in 2018. After a short stint working for cidermakers in Portland, Oregon, he moved to France for a season to work on an organic farm producing cider. He WWOOFed it! Producing French cider and visiting some of the best cidermakers (and some winemakers) in the world has shaped his perspective and approach to cidermaking which he will continue to hone for the rest of his career.
Louann Casares knew she had found her professional soulmate when her passions collided; Human Resource business practices, a love of craft cider, and, most importantly, the people who make craft cider happen from seed to drink! As Director of Human Resources at 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, OR, Louann is able to spend her days immersed in those passions. She is a dedicated HR professional who has proven success in creating cultures of collaboration and using strategic problem solving to implement change and achieve workforce excellence. Louann has expertise in both operational and strategic HR practices within public and private sectors, and currently oversees all aspects of human resources management at 2 Towns Ciderhouse.
Maria Kennedy is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University. She has conducted research on cider, heritage, and environmental conservation in the United Kingdom and the United States. She is also the Co-Director of the New Jersey Folk Festival at Rutgers University.
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.
Matt Tanaka is the founder and CEO of Stout Collective, a brand strategy and design agency for the beverage industry. Matt got his start in the beer business running social media for a Chicago wholesaler. Over the last 10 years he’s since built a career out of connecting beer brands with consumers, believing that building an authentic brand is the best way to create healthy breweries that positively impact their communities. As founder, Matt spends much of his time casting the vision for Stout and thinking about growth, people, and the next big thing. Whether it’s setting the creative direction for a startup brewery or dreaming up new campaigns with national brands, his work means collaborating with some of the best people and creative minds in the industry.
Matthew Crompton is the Regional Director – North America for CGA by NIQ and is responsible for theimplementation of CGA’s on premise services in US, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. Since joining CGA Strategy in January 2010, Matthew has risen through the CGA by NIQ ranks becoming an expert in all things On Premise. Matthew has managed and provided consultancy for some of the largest Bev Al manufacturers across Europe including Diageo, Anheuser Busch and William Grant & Sons. In January 2014, Matthew became part of the joint venture between CGA and Nielsen which has helped bring the first ever truly robust on premise measurement service to the US. Matthew comes to the US, having also helped launch services in other territories such as France and Germany. Matthew now heads up the US On Premise Solutions team, providing first-class insight into an often perceived dark market. Matthew is originally from the north of England and has embraced American life at every opportunity since relocating to Chicago in August 2015.
Megan Faschoway is a cidermaker at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse that was born and raised in Cloverdale, BC to a long line of farmers. Following her own path from working with money in Vancouver, to a monastery in Connecticut, where she fell in love with the rhythms of the land and fermentation process. In 2020 she moved to Victoria, BC to further pursue her path in the cider industry. Megan completed the Foundations course through CINA and received her Apprentice Cidermaker certification that same year. She is currently working towards her Advanced level and in 2023 she won the Peter Mitchell Award for Educational Excellence.
Michelle Markeysteyn’s mission is to make it easy to raise happy, healthy kids and help our farmers prosper. For over 20 years she has gotten her hands dirty on farms from 4-4,000 acres in size, taught in school gardens, researched ways to make it easier to get local foods on our tables, and then advocated for policies that do just that. Michelle lives in the heart of the Willamette Valley with her two growing boys.
Michelle McGrath joined the American Cider Association as CEO in July of 2016. Her rich history includes non-profit management, membership development, supporting farmers and value-added producers, grassroots lobbying, teaching and more. Michelle grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near the famous Apple Hill marketing cooperative. Today she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two young sons. Michelle has a master’s degree in Ecology from University of California, San Diego and a certificate in sustainable business from Pinchot University. She was recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of 40 Tastemakers Under 40 in 2018 and as a SevenFifty Daily Innovator in 2019.
Mikael Nypelius has experience as sommelier and restaurant manager from numerous Michelin stared restaurants in Scandinavia, awarded ”Sommelier of the Year” by Sweden’s biggest wine magazine Livets Goda in 2015. Mikael, together with Karl Sjöström, founded FRUKTSTEREO in 2016 with the goal of making a new type of cold climate cider and wine based on Swedish fruit. They now have their own fruit yard of 14 ha in southern Sweden where they farm organically with an agroforestry mindset to mix the different fruit, grapes and berries they use to make there wines and ciders. At FRUKTSTEREO they believe in blending different fruits to reach a higher complexity in a cold climate condition, all spontaneously fermented and with out pasteurization or filtration.
Mike Biltonen has spent nearly 40 years in agriculture – working mostly with orchards, vineyards, and specialty veg and fruit crops. He specializes in all aspects of sustainable orchard production of apples, pears, and stone fruit. An early passion for sustainable agriculture evolved into a profound dedication to the principles and practices of ecologically-focused, biodynamically-driven farming. The last fifteen years Mike has worked as a consultant to novice and seasoned farmers and orchardists alike on all aspects of establishing and managing regenerative and integrated farmscapes. Mike also conducts workshops, seminars, webinars, and has a free newsletter for the truly dedicated. He co-owns Know Your Roots, a novel and innovative family-owned company, with his wife Debbie where they are synchronously using farming and herbalism practices to heal the Earth.
Mike O’Gorman is an experienced alcoholic beverage attorney with a practice that focuses on alcohol manufacturers. He is an expert in alcohol regulation across all three commodities of alcohol: wine, beer, and spirits. Mike has extensive experience in launching new products, particularly those falling outside traditional commodity and tax definitions. He also has a wide breadth of experience advising clients on federal and state licensing, labeling and advertising of alcohol, alcohol promotions, and excise tax compliance. Mike began his career in private practice before serving as Regulatory Counsel for Craft Brew Alliance, where he served as primary legal counsel to the company’s New Products Development team and innovation business unit, the pH Experiment. He is now a partner at Barnes Beverage Group.
Mimi Casteel grew up on her family’s wine estate, Bethel Heights Vineyard. After graduate school Mimi worked as a forest ecologist in public lands, which led her to realize that the real battle for the future revolves around how we manage private lands. Mimi’s vineyard, farm and wine, Hope Well, are a living laboratory for agroecological experimentation and practice. Mimi also works with others as an agroecology mentor, and on projects devoted to accelerating the transformation of managed landscapes to bountiful cultural ecosystems.
Natalia Wszelaki a.k.a Cider Explorer is a cider blogger, cider expert and international cider judge, who has years of experience in evaluating and judging cider from all over the globe. Her previous judging experience includes Cider World (2018-2023), World Cider Awards (2020), International Natural Cider Competition Madeira (2023) and Nordic International Cider Awards 2023. Recently, Natalia in collaboration with Alistair Morrell of Cider is Wine also kicked off a series of Instagram Live Sessions called ‘Not-from-concentrate’ discussing important cider-related topics. Natalia is on a mission to explore cider from all European countries, share an honest opinion on cider, promote cider culture and raise awareness about quality/craft cider.
Nichola Hall has a Ph.D. in Yeast Physiology and a BSc(Hons) in Microbial Biotechnology. Dr. Hall has held various positions in the wine industry: Director of Microbiology at Bronco Wine Company, Ceres, CA (2002-2007), Technical Consultant at Vinquiry, Inc., Windsor, CA (2007-2009) and is currently at Scott Laboratories, Petaluma, CA employed as General Manager for the Fermentation and Enology Department (2009-present). From 2009-present, Dr. Hall is a co-winemaker at Mathew Bruno Wines and is very involved in the American Society of Enology and Viticulture serving as president in 2016-2017. She is a past chair of the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium and a long-standing member of the AVF grant management Enology committee. Since 2019 she has taught the Quality Control and Analysis in winemaking course as part of the UC Davis’s winemaking certificate program.
Nick Gunn is a native of Oregon, born and raised in Eugene. In 2000, Nick earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with minors in Biology and Geology from the University of Oregon. With a passion for sustainable agriculture and fermentation, Nick planted a cider apple orchard with his wife Mimi in 2003. Shortly after in 2004, Wandering Aengus Cider was born with a goal of producing world class european styled ciders as well as breaking ground on new american styles. Nick is a past president of the Northwest Cider Association and has spearheaded projects such as the “Cidermakers Toolkit”, a wiki to help cider professionals get their business off the ground. Currently, Nick is the founding Board Member of the Cider Institute of North America, and continues to offer consulting to startup cider companies through his company BenchGraft Consulting.
Particularly known for her skill at tasting and blending, Nicole LeGrand Leibon has been cited as one of the best cider judges because of her generous feedback. As the first cider-specific hire for Farnum Hill Ciders and Poverty Lane Orchards in 2000, she helped create a style that honored the terroir and the fruit, while gaining renown for the best ciders in America. In 2018, while finishing her 19th harvest at Farnum Hill Ciders, Nicole went on to expand her skills to distilling. She became the Assistant Distiller at SILO Distillery in Windsor, VT, as well as Head Cidermaker. In her first year working solely with dessert and heirloom varieties, her cider won acclaim and was a Finalist for the 2020 Good Food Awards. Deeply experienced in cider, from orchard to package, Nicole has been there for industry growth from its tiny beginnings to the juggernaut it is today. She has traveled extensively to taste and judge cider, and to teach sensory analysis. Previous gigs as brewer and yeast lab tech. Super powers: sense of smell and ability to break glassware. Cider blend consultant LeNose Knows. Nicole is also a board member for CINA.
At the same time as Olav Bleie started studying chemistry at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen (UiB) in 2001, he took over his father’s orchard. Then he was 50 percent fruit farmer and 50 percent student. At a later stage, after finishing his bachelor and master degree, he dropped out of his doctorate in the USA to start focusing 100% on cider production on the family farm in Hardanger. Olav Bleie started Alde Sider in 2014. At the family farm, they have a long history of cider production stretching back several hundred years. Olav continues old traditions and conveys a history and culture that has deep roots in Hardanger. The interest in fermentation and cider production was always strongly present and with a scientific approach he developed his own style and laid the foundations for producing and selling high quality and award winning cider. Now he hopes to build something for several generations to come.
Randy Kiyokawa is a third-generation orchardist from Parkdale, Oregon, whose grandfather emigrated from Japan in 1905, and through hard work started farming in Hood River in 1911. After college Randy returned to the family orchard of more than 200 acres. While weathering many challenges, in 1989 Randy removed three acres of 80-year-old pear trees and planted 28 varieties of apples. Over time, customers requested different varieties that could not be found in stores or farmers markets, which has led to his offering now of over 120 varieties of apples. Randy’s diversification efforts expanded to Farmers Markets and direct sales to stores, restaurants, bakeries, schools and CSAs. Randy also credits his 45+ employees – many of whom have been with him for over 25 years — with the high-quality fruit for which Kiyokawa Family Orchards is known.
Robby Honda is the owner of Tanuki Cider in Santa Cruz, Ca, which he established in 2014 with his brother, Brad Honda. Tanuki focuses on producing central coast dry farmhouse ciders with a rich spirit. Robby lives in Aptos, California with his wife Hannah and kids, Mika and Koji.
From growing up in the epicenter of New York State apple production to driving some of the US’s most ambitious and industry leading cider programs, Ryan Burk has spent his life around apples and cider. He helped establish and lead Virtue Cider in Michigan and elevate America’s largest cider maker, Angry Orchard, taking the brand to new successes on both the national and local stage with the Innovation Cider House in Walden NY, where he focused on terrior driven ciders that have won awards around the world. As dedicated industry professional, Ryan has served on the board of the American Cider Association and is a founding board member of the Cider Institute of North America, the US’s premier science-based education platform. He has been recognized for his advocacy, innovation and collaboration by Imbibe 75 People to Watch, Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 and The Buena Cofradía de los Siceratores de Asturias. Ryan is now making cider under his own label as well as co-founding Feel Goods Company, a full definition innovation pipeline development studio bringing beverage brands to life across categories.
Scott Katsma was born in Chicago, IL but was raised in Boise, ID. He began working at Seattle Cider Company in 2014 and became Head Cidermaker in early 2016. In addition to fermentation innovation, Scott’s passions include waste stream management, creative problem solving, market analysis, and industry networking. As we look to the future, Scott is excited to continue to advocate for education and awareness within the region. Not is he a voice for cideries in and around the PNW, but also an experienced resource for start-up cideries throughout the region.
Scott Ramsey is the Executive Director of the New York Cider Association, a role he started in March of 2020. He brings over 30 years of corporate and non-profit marketing, communications, event production, and strategic leadership experience to his work in promoting, advocating, and building markets for New York Cider. Previous leadership roles include work with Fortune 500 premium brands such as MetLife, MasterCard, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Phillips Van Heusen, Samsung and S&P Global. His creative marketing work has been published in such publications as the New York Times, GQ Magazine, and Vanity Fair and he has won numerous Telly, AVA Digital and Hermes awards. Scott also has a musical theatre background and was awarded Best Director in the West Village Musical Theatre Festival and was nominated as “Producer of the Year” by Special Events Magazine. Scott is also the Executive Producer and Owner of Fort Beacon Studios and has recently launched his new social media talk show video series, “That Perfect Day.” He is also recently certified as a Certified Cider Professional and a Dutchess County Certified Tourism Ambassador.
As the CiderSoms, Sean & Malaika Tyson develop and produce written, visual, and multimedia cider related content. This husband and wife team began their adventures in cider almost two decades ago and have converted many cider skeptics into cider lovers. Through their work with the ACA’s Antiracism, Equity, & Inclusion committee, the “Soms” have sought to increase the diversity of the cider industry and its consumers. In 2023, the ACA awarded Malaika & Sean its highest honor – the Significant Impact on the Industry Award – in recognition of their contributions to the cider community.
After years working in the music industry, Shannon Edgar founded Stormalong Cider in 2014 from an orchard he relocated to in Massachusetts from Los Angeles. Taking inspiration from the hard cider history in his adopted home of Sherborn, MA, Shannon’s passion for crafting ciders with unique, cider-oriented apples has continued to grow and thrive over the last decade. Just down the street from Stormalong’s original cidery, the remnants of the Holbrook Cider Mill still stand which was advertised as the “World’s Largest Cider Mill” producing over 40,000 barrels annually in the 1890’s. Over the last 9 years, Stormalong has grown into a passionate team of “Cider Geeks” evangelizing cider with a deep appreciation for apples and their craft.
Shannon Hiller-Webb is the Principal of Prosparus, a Portland based strategic CPG food and beverage focused consulting company founded in 2013. Prosparus collaborates with artisanal food, snack, functional beverage, coffee, tea, fermented, zero-proof and wellness companies seeking to scale successfully regionally and nationally. She brings nearly 30 years of experience in natural & convenience grocery retail ownership/management, brand design, marketing, advertising, and PR and combines art and science in guiding a tailored blueprint with effective, efficient tools to grow customer acquisition and new accounts with strategic sales. She provides the knowledge and resources to improve velocity though resilient omni-channel channel & supply value chain diversity, SKU rationalization and diversification, robust financial modeling, verdant marketing, and business resources to scale companies She has launched new companies and grown multi-million-dollar operations through intense growth phases She is a leader in the West Coast food ecosystem, a leader in grocery / retail knowledge with deep industry contacts to bring prosperity through data-informed and guided plans.
Steve Selin is the owner-orchardist-cidermaker at South Hill Cider in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Steve has been foraging apples and making cider since 2002. For South Hill Cider, Steve sources fruit from varied sources such as wild pippins and abandoned trees, his own cider orchard, leased orchards, and a contract-orchard planted in cider apples. He directly manages 20 acres of apples. South Hill Cider, founded in 2013, has a tasting room including local farm-to-table food menu, U-pick flowers, event space for weddings and music events.
Steven Trussler is an education specialist at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada where he develops and delivers programming for the cider and wine industries. Before his current role, he worked as commercial winemaker and in a beverage alcohol analytical lab.
Tariq started Revel Cider in 2014, while studying Plant Science at the University of Guelph (in Ontario, Canada). He was 20 years old, so Revel is really the only thing he’s done his entire adult life. Tariq’s educational background is in agriculture, but while he’s worked on a farm they do not own land. Instead they buy all of their fruit from local farmers, as well as foraging fruit, spruce resin, flowers and botanicals over the course of the year. They want to make ciders that truly represent where they are, by including as many species as possible in their blends. They call this full spectrum terroir.
Tim Powers is a cider enthusiast and educator who works at Commonwealth Wine School in Cambridge,Massachusetts. He has always had a passion for cider, and when he learned of the American Cider Association and the Certified Pommelier™ certification he knew it was a path he had to pursue. Cider is a reflection of a place, a climate, a soil, a history, and a people, and Tim’s goal is to share the stories of incredible ciders and cideries with the world. Tim is a Certified Pommelier™ through the American Cider Association, and holds the Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wine with Merit and the Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Spirits with Distinction from WSET. Additionally, he is a Provisional Cider Judge through the BJCP, has a Master’s Degree in Music from Arizona State, and a Bachelor’s in Music from Ithaca College.
Tina Azarvand joined Strategic Tax Planning and is a Tax Manager with the firm. While working as a Tax Attorney, Tina became interested in the Employee Retention Credit through the ever-evolving legislation, where she decided to shift her focus to assisting small businesses with ERC while it is available. As a Tax Attorney, Tina focused on assisting individuals and businesses facing tax controversies with the IRS and local taxing authorities. In 2022, Tina was selected to the SuperLawyers: Rising Stars list and the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list, both of which are distinctions given to less than 3% of the attorneys in each respective state. Tina was also selected as the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) Young Volunteer of the Year for 2022.
Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider and Perry is a cider & perry maker and farmer in Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire in the UK. He grows many varieties of cider apple and perry pear and produces a wide range of ciders and perries from his own fruit, as well as cider apples and perry pears from a select group of partner farmers and orchardists in the county. The ciders and perries are made from 100% fresh pressed fruit, fermented spontaneously by wild yeasts, emphasising a very traditional approach of seasonality and vintage but utilising an imaginative approach to blending and a cautious use of technology and science where appropriate. The co-ferments with Jonny Mills of Mills Brewing have become some of the most widely anticipated releases in the UK. Tom is also a partner in The London Cider House at Borough Market. A cider showcase in the thriving market in central London. He is also the co-founder of the annual tasting of fine cider in the UK “The Cider Salon” in Bristol. Tom rediscovered the long lost “Coppy” perry pear some 25 years ago and is a founder member of the Slow Food Presidium “Three Counties Perry”.
Yann Gilles is a French Oenologue and Cidrologue, founder of cider and apple-spirit making consultancy Malus & Vitis, and has 25 years’ experience working in the cider sector. Born in Normandy where he discovered Cider made by his grand-parents, Yann holds an engineering degree in agriculture and food industry from Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture in Angers and a diploma of Oenologist from Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin Jules Guyot in Burgundy. Yann launched his own consultancy in 2020 where he partners with cider producers to create apple juice, ciders, perries and spirits using a range of methods. Prior to this, Yann was scientific director at the French R&D cider institute www.ifpc.eu for 10 years, and before that he worked for more than a decade in a professional organization for agriculture, consulting to 50 cideries and leading a team of oenologists working on cider.
Zach Kamphuis is the Vice President of Business Development at Commerce7 where he has worked for the past 5 years to help wineries create great customer shopping experiences through all direct-to-consumer sales channels. Zach believes that customer experience is the primary reason why a consumer chooses a brand, and that in order for wineries (and cideries) to meet consumer expectations, they must adopt a more customer-centric approach to selling direct to consumer.
Zoe Licata is a Boston-based reporter for Brewbound, covering the business of craft beer and beyond. She is also a co-host of the Brewbound Podcast. Before joining Brewbound in 2021, Zoe spent several years doing freelance reporting and documentary work. When not writing about (or sampling) the latest bev-alc innovations, Zoe is cheering on her beloved Boston sports teams or escaping to her hometown in the sticks of Western Mass.
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