- The 12th Annual CiderCon® took place in Richmond, Virginia from February 1 to February 4, 2022. This was a return to an in-person event after holding CiderCon 2021 in a virtual space. CiderCon® is the American Cider Association’s annual event. This year’s theme was Southern Cider.
- On the main two days of the conference, 37 workshops presented information on 8 tracks. The tracks were: apples and orcharding, cidermaking, flavor and terroir, sales and distribution, marketing and trends, better business, legal and compliance, and history. The schedule can be downloaded here.
- 36 states and DC were represented with Virginia, New York, Washington, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania sending the most attendees.
- 805 people attended the conference, and there was an increase in the number of regular ticketed attendees participating compared to the last in-person conference in Oakland, CA in January 2020.
- This year’s trade show featured 73 vendors including several veterans from past CiderCons®, as well as an impressive number of first time exhibitors who were excited to meet professionals from cider’s growing industry.
- James Beard finalist and multi-nominee Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider was the event’s keynote speaker. She discussed the history of Southern apples and cider and the lessons that modern growers and cidermakers can learn from that history.
- There were 11 tastings sessions in total for CiderCon® 2022 including sensory evaluation and food pairing workshops, crab apple cider tastings, Southern apple cider tastings, a sensory review of Northern Michigan ciders, low-abv cider cocktails and more.
- The American Cider Association partnered with the Cider Institute of North America to co-develop a large production oriented and technical-in-nature workshop track with 9 sessions on topics from producing cider using wild fermentation to fruited cider to creating ciders with residual sugar. The Cider Institute of North America trains cider makers through their educational programming in partnership with universities like Cornell.
- In addition, CiderCon® held several orcharding sessions for growers. Beginning sessions included an introduction to holistic orcharding practices and a hands-on grafting workshop. Advanced concept sessions included integrated pest management solutions for both diseases and insect pests.
- Sessions also focused on lessons that can be learned from other craft beverage industries, including tourism, sustainability practices, clubs, and barrel aging.
- The American Cider Association offered its Certified PommelierTM exam at CiderCon® 2022, an advanced second level designation of its Certified Cider Professional program geared toward beverage and hospitality industry professionals. More than 30 people sat for the challenging test that includes a blind sensory evaluation section. The new cohort of Certified PommeliersTM will be announced in 6 weeks.
- More than 150 people took one of 5 tours during CiderCon® 2022. The first overnight tour was offered to the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, in addition to tours to the Virginia apple growing regions of Albemarle County and Nelson County. There was also a tour of Richmond based cideries and a tour of the historic Jackson Ward area of Richmond–once known as Black Wall Street. The tours were coordinated the Virginia Association of Cidermakers and the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.
- The ACA launched an equity pledge at CiderCon® and two sessions directly addressed methods for building a more inclusive cider industry. Day Bracey, founder of Barrel & Flow (formerly Fresh Fest), discussed how he and his team built one of America’s most inclusive brew festivals and the initiatives behind it. Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham of Crafted For All and the Brewer’s Association returned to CiderCon® to cover a variety of practical pipeline development strategies to help cider business successfully increase the breadth, depth, and diversity of its pool of qualified job applicants.
- CiderSoms hosted CiderCon®’s first ever BIPOC Cider Professional Meetup and Pomme Pride hosted their first meetup for LGBTQIA+ cider industry professionals.
- Richmond Cider Days, an unaffiliated list of cider events sponsored by the Virginia Association of Cidermakers, took place during the week of CiderCon® with 30 events ranging from single varietal tastings, to tap takeovers, to cider pairing dinners.
- The American Cider Association’s annual board elections happen concurrently with CiderCon®. Newly elected board members were announced during lunch on Friday and include: Christine Walter of Bauman’s Cider in Oregon to an At-Large Seat, and David Glaize of Glaize & Bro. Juice Co. and Old Town Cidery in Virginia as the Southern Chair. Eleanor Leger of Eden Ciders in Vermont was re-elected to Eastern Chair and Ben Calvi of Vermont Cider Co. was re-elected to a Large Cidery Seat.
- The American Cider Association’s board recognized Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider in Virginia and Dan Pucci of New York, co-author of American Cider, for their significant contributions to the cider industry.
CiderCon® 2023 will be held in Chicago, IL from January 31 through February 3, 2023.
CiderCon® was created to offer the commercial cider industry an outlet to meet, share ideas, collaborate and affect positive changes in cider making and cider fruit production best practices, the cider market and cider regulations. CiderCon® is organized by the American Cider Association whose 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.
That’s right cider people! There was so much demand for tours that we decided we needed to add one more. A big thanks to the Virginia Wine Board and Virginia Association of Cider Makers for their work in planning this new tour! Now, what do you need to know about this new tour?
Richmond Cider Tour
9:00am – 4:00pm Departure from Richmond Marriott Hotel
$75 includes transportation, lunch, and tastings at 5 cideries
Enjoy getting to know the Richmond area and cider scene with this tour of five cideries. You’ll start out your day with tastings at Bryant’s Small Batch, then head on to Hardywood Craft Brewing to taste their line-up as well. Following lunch (and cider) at Courthouse Creek Cider you’ll take a tour of their facility before heading on to taste at Blue Bee Cider. The day will wrap up with a tasting at Buskey Cider before returning to hotel.
Already registered for CiderCon® 2022, and you’d like to add this tour? You can buy a ticket for this tour HERE.
Not registered for CiderCon® 2022? You can add this on during the registration process. You can register HERE.
The American Cider Association is taking utmost precautions to create a safe CiderCon environment. Our health and safety guidelines require all persons present at CiderCon 2022 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 21 or to provide a negative PCR test within 3 days of arrival or to provide a negative antigen test within 24 hours of arrival. One of these two things, proof of vaccine or a negative test result within the above timeframe, will be required to attend CiderCon 2022. Verification will happen outside registration at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Absolutely no exceptions will be made.
Per Virginia Department of Health and CDC recommendations, we are currently strongly urging attendees to receive booster shots against COVID-19 by January 21, 2022. The CDC recommends receiving a booster shot if it has been 6 months since your second mRNA or first Johnson & Johnson shot.
- Masks must be worn at all times at indoor CiderCon events with the exception of during meals and tasting events where specific safety protocols will be in place. This includes tour buses.
- Security and staff will enforce mask adherence.
- CiderCon staff and volunteers will participate in daily health screenings.
- At this time, the hotel and the Greater Richmond Convention Center require their staff to wear masks.
- Tasting sessions will be in expansive rooms and will be socially distanced as much as possible.
- The Cider Share welcome reception is being divided into two sessions, with featured cideries rotating off. We will be capping attendance of Cider Share to 200 per session. The room has the capacity for 600, and we will encourage social distancing.
- Thursday’s and Friday’s lunches are box lunches so you can easily opt to eat where you would like. Tables will be set at less density than normal.
- Please do not attend CiderCon with symptoms.
We are working closely with the hotel, the Greater Richmond Convention Center. and the Virginia Department of Health to ensure all possible safety precautions are taken. The list above is not exhaustive and we will be sure to update registrants as things evolve.
We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 restrictions in Richmond and Virginia. Your safety matters to us.
Let’s take care of each other, get boosted, wear our masks, and have the safe in-person CiderCon reunion we are all craving!
Both the TTB and the FDA regulate what you can, can’t and MUST say on your cider packaging and in your promotions. Amidst a consumer-driven health craze, it’s important to know how these regulations impact your cidery. In this workshop, beverage-specialist attorney Marybeth Williams will walk you through these regulations when it comes to health claims and nutrition disclosures. She will cover the regulations for ciders both over and under 7% ABV.
About Marybeth Williams
Marybeth Williams is President of Williams Compliance and Consulting Group, LLC, near Richmond, VA, which provides compliance services and legal consulting to the alcohol beverage industry. She works with suppliers, focusing on the day to day compliance issues and trade practice parameters within which industry members must function. Ms. Williams graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1996, and has practiced in both the public and private sectors.
New CiderCon® 2022 Session! New Skins: How Brand Positioning & Packaging Design Can Reinvigorate a Category & Connect with New Drinkers
Beyond packaging trends and gimmickry, there’s an opportunity for every brand to better understand and communicate a meaningful story. As a brand strategist in the beverage alcohol space, Michael Kiser will share industry analogs and frameworks for aligning brand position, customer experience, and retail strategies that have helped companies new and old connect with their audiences.
About the Speaker
Michael Kiser is an innovation strategist (tech and CPG) working with some of the world’s largest and smallest brands to create innovation pipelines based on emerging market factors and consumer desires. He runs a boutique brand strategy and design practice in Chicago (Feel Goods Company), the world’s leading editorial voice in beer (Good Beer Hunting), and a cross-industry insights newsletter and community for beverage alcohol (Sightlines.news).
Pairing food and cider is an important key to helping people learn to love the complexities and nuances of cider, but we all understand that it can be tricky business. Join us for a dive into putting theory into practice in this session with our Cider Education Outreach Manager, Jennie Dorsey at CiderCon® 2022 in Richmond, Virginia from February 1-4, 2022.
Creating Consumer Excitement with Food Pairing Suggestions
We all know the “Four C’s” of food pairing, but putting theory into practice can be a little intimidating, especially for members of your tasting room staff that are just beginning their adventure with cider. In this session, cider and food pairing expert Jennie Dorsey will walk you through a pairing framework (with tasting samples!) that you can take back to your business, train your staff, and watch your sales grow.
About Jennie Dorsey
Jennie Dorsey is founding member of Pomme Boots Society for women in the Cider Industry and has held numerous positions since she first entered the Cider Industry over a decade ago. Jennie actually began her journey in the coffee industry where she was a nationally ranked competition barista and trainer specializing in sensory analysis with a focus on food pairings. The skills honed in competition led her on the path of beverage discovery, where she fell in love with cider and it’s unmatched pairing possibilities. Jennie is a working member of the Cider Certification team, and she was given the distinguished award of Cider Server of the Year in 2018 by the ACA. Jennie is passionate about food and beverage of all kinds, cinema, vintage lifestyle and can always be spotted by her brightly colored hair. She joined the ACA staff in 2021 as our Cider Education Outreach Manager.
Intro to Holistic Orcharding for Novice Growers
The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that Mike Biltonen will lead an Intro to Holistic Orcharding for Novice Growers workshop at CiderCon® 2022. In this seminar we will cover the basics of what to look for when you’re seeking a site appropriate for your orchard, whether it be in your backyard, on the adjoining hillside, or in the next county. We will discuss climate, land, and soil characteristics as well as horticultural considerations you need to ponder before you plant the first tree. We will also cover the steps for designing and planting your first trees, as well as the first year’s management focus.
This course will take place Wednesday, February 1, 2022 at the Richmond Marriott Hotel from 12:30-3:00pm. The cost to attend is $15. Be sure to add it on during registration.
About Mike Biltonen
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.
The American Cider Association is please to share the first draft of the CiderCon® 2022 Schedule! With tours, tastings, educational workshops, demos and more, CiderCon’s return to an in-person event is bound to be one of the most energetic CiderCons to date. Early registration numbers have been record breaking, with more than 400 people already signed up by November 15!
We’ve produced this draft schedule to help you with your CiderCon® 2022 planning. More session are being added each week and the schedule will be updated to reflect those additions. Session times may change as the schedule finalizes. Some sessions require separate registration which can be done during checkout. Details can be found on these sessions on the CiderCon® 2022 Registration page. Following our health & safety guidelines is necessary to participate.
The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that Julie Rhodes of Not Your Hobby Marketing will present three sessions at CiderCon® 2022. Read on to learn more about Julie’s sessions and why you won’t want to miss them.
Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get Started with FB & IG Ads
Social media marketing should be a major component within your strategic business plans. But with organic reach of social media posts declining, that means less eyeballs on your cider brand. Learning how to formulate a paid social media advertising structure to add to your current organic content can help boost visibility, help build brand awareness and allow you to observe the purchase habits of your best customers. Join Julie Rhodes, owner of Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions, for an interactive social media advertising presentation and workshop that will get you started with social media advertising.
Distribution Management for Beginners
Making the leap from on site sales to selling your cider products in retail is a big step, so wouldn’t it be helpful if there was some type of guidebook or instruction list for how to make this transition? Yes! Only that doesn’t exist, but lucky for you, this session on Distribution Management for Beginners led by Julie Rhodes of Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions does. Learn the ins and outs, ups and downs, and best practices for those that are just getting started creating relationships with their distribution partners.
Distribution Management: Advanced Concepts
If you’ve been selling your cider brand with a distributor or wholesaler for a while, but are feeling a bit lost when it comes to strategic sales planning, this breakout session is right for you. Keeping your brand top of mind with your distributor personnel is vital if you want to succeed in the wholesale channel, but it’s how you accomplish this that seems to be a mystery to most. This session will explore the ways that you can implement strategic sales plans, interactive training, digital marketing, and advanced analytics to ensure that you’re building a long-term, profitable relationship with your distributor partner.
Julie Rhodes, Not Your Hobby Marketing
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.
We are thrilled to announce that Tiffanie Barriere, aka The Drinking Coach, is speaking at CiderCon 2022 in Richmond, Virginia! Tiffanie is no stranger to cider, which is why we’ve asked her to demonstrate how to make killer low-ABV cider cocktails in her workshop at CiderCon. She’ll walk you through the steps so you can take these cocktails back to your tasting room program. Beyond the perfect cider cocktail, Tiffanie will also be weaving the history of Black bartenders in America into her presentation. Whether it’s cocktail construction or American alcohol history, walk away aware and A LOT smarter under The Drinking Coach’s tutelage.
Tiffanie Barriere is the bartender’s bartender, an influencer and educator who has been awarded with some of the beverage industry’s highest honors. The Bar Smart graduate is a Tastemakers of the South award-winner who spent seven years as the beverage director of One Flew South the “Best Airport Bar in the World.” As an independent bartender she is known for creative and innovative cocktail menus for pop-dinners and bar consultancy clients; hosting mixology classes around the nation, and connecting culinary and farm culture with spirits. As a leader, she is a member of the Tales of the Cocktail Grants Committee, the James Beard Beverage Advisory Board, and a member of the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
“The Drinking Coach” Barriere has graced the demonstration stages of prestigious food and hospitality events such as the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Charleston Food & Wine Festival, BevCon, Tales of the Cocktail, Savannah Food & Wine Festival, Music to Your Mouth and more. As an author-contributor, Tiffanie’s cocktail recipes can be found in the Southern Foodway Alliance Guide to Cocktails by Jerry Slayter, Jubilee by Toni Tipton Martin, and Road Soda by Kara Newman.
Her reputation as a public historian has opened doors for her to speak on panels at such venues as Fire, Flour & Fork, Southern Foodways Symposium, and the Soul Summit, and she has interpreted the cocktails of African American and women firsts in spirits at the James Beard House in New York City.
The culinarians and chefs she has worked with reads like a Who’s Who in the Culinary Arts: Duane Nutter, Todd Richards, the late Darryl Evans, Kevin Mitchell, Deborah VanTrece, Jennifer Hill Booker, Suzanne Vizethann, Erika Council, Todd Ginsberg and Asha Gomez.
Barriere and her cocktails have been featured in such publications as Imbibe magazine (print and online), Difford’s Guide, Creative Loafing, Forbes, Essence, Southern Living, The Bitter Southerner, Cherry Bomb, Washington Post, Thrillist, Eater, Vine Pair, Food Republic, and Garden & Gun. In 2020 Tiffanie was featured on Food Networks The Kitchen showcasing her creativity on how to batch for more than 2 people. She also received the Tales of the Cocktails Dame of the Year award in 2020 and the cover photo of Imbibe Magazine for the Top 75 for Imbibe.
The Louisiana-Texas native is the trustworthy mentor of some of the best bartenders and mixologists in the world. Tiffanie’s main goal is education, service and fun with every pour.