Meet Your 2024 ACA Board of Directors

Last Friday, the American Cider Association (ACA) announced the results of their annual Board of Directors Election at their 2024 industry trade conference, CiderCon®, held this year in Portland, Oregon. There were two At-Large positions up for grabs, with 7 candidates in the running.

Josie Mielke of Urban Orchards Cidery in Asheville, North Carolina and Shannon Edgar of Stormalong Cider in Sherborn, Massachusetts were elected as Directors At-Large. Both new board members bring a shared passion for the land and communities that they are a part of. Their unique perspective of establishing and growing their cider businesses within the last 10 years will meaningfully contribute to the perspective of the ACA Board of Directors and how the ACA can support the cider industry. 

New ACA Board Members

Josie Mielke is the Operations Director and founder of Urban Orchard Cider Company in Asheville, North Carolina. She was trained in the art of cider making in the United Kingdom at the Cider and Perry Academy in 2012 and opened Urban Orchard in the fall of 2013. Through Urban Orchard, Josie has championed North Carolina agriculture, by committing to purchase apples from North Carolina. Her cidery has only purchased juice from Hendersonville, North Carolina in the 11 seasons they have produced cider. Josie strongly believes in promoting the local economy, supporting local farmers, and knowing where your food comes from.

Shannon Edgar founded Stormalong Cider in 2014 in the pursuit of making ciders that showcase the unique flavors fermented from cider-friendly apples. Taking inspiration from the hard cider history in his adopted home of Sherborn, MA, the historical nature of some of these apple varieties and their connection to New England history has always been an interest to him. 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.

2024 Officers Announced

The ACA Board Officers were also chosen by the incoming board of directors last week. The ACA is excited to announce:

-Christine Walter of Bauman’s Cider in Oregon as Board President

-Sarah Hemly of Hemly Cider in California as Vice President

-Dave Takush of 2 Towns Ciderhouse as Secretary

-John Behrens of Farmhaus Cider in Michigan as Treasurer.

Eleanor Legér, ACA Board President 2021-2024

Eleanor Legér of Eden Cider in Vermont was elected by her fellow directors as Board President in 2021. She is rotating off the executive committee to empower other leaders but will remain on the board in her continued role of Eastern Chair. First elected to the board in 2015, the ACA is incredibly grateful for her long and dedicated service to our mission and our members. She has served the role with honor!

Retiring Directors

Soham Bhatt and Brooke Glover are both retiring from their service as directors this year. The ACA is extremely grateful for their service and the unique perspectives they brought to the board.

Soham Bhatt served on the ACA Board of Directors in an At-Large position from 2021-2024. He started Artifact Cider Project in 2014, with co-founder Jake Mazar, with the desire to create exceptional cider that expresses the Northeast as it is today. With this philosophy and a commitment to helping sustain local orchards, especially in western Massachusetts, they started Artifact as a boot-strapped passion project that crisscrossed the state.

“Soham has been a very engaged and committed board member. He asks good questions and has a mind for strategy. He’s been critical to our education committee, and we’re excited that he will stay involved with our work to grow the Certified Cider Professional program moving forward,” said ACA CEO, Michelle McGrath.

Brooke Glover served on the ACA Board of Directors in an At-Large position from 2018-2024. Brooke is one of the owners of Swilled Dog Hard Cider, a family-owned company based out of West Virginia. Brooke is a Certified Cider Maker through CINA, Level I certified in Spirits through WSET, and a frequent lecturer at WVU. Her passions include dogs, family, learning, adventures, and tater tots.

“Brooke didn’t miss a single board meeting in her 6-year tenure on the board of directors. She has served on several ACA committees and has been a tremendous member of the ACA Executive Committee in her role as ACA Vice President,” McGrath said.

The ACA would like to thank all of the 2024 board candidates for their hard work and dedication not only in this election process but within the industry as a whole. We look forward to continuing to work together to push the envelope forward for cider in America. 

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