5 Reasons to Register for the Certified Pommelier Exam

CiderCon® is right around the corner, and that means so is your next chance to join the elite crew of Certified Pommeliers™ that are spreading the good word about cider around the country. The exam itself will take place on February 1, 2021 during CiderCon® at the Richmond Marriott Hotel. That leaves plenty of time to prepare and we have plenty of resources to help you (see below)!

5 Reasons to Register

Still on the fence about taking your exam? We can think of a few reasons why you should:

  1. Research. That’s right, drinking lots of different ciders (as if we needed a reason) will actually help you prepare for your exam!
  2. Mastery. You too can be a master of the language of cider and help share that knowledge with others.
  3. Prestige. Pass your exam and show the world that you are one of the top experts in the cider industry.
  4. Experience. By learning more about the intricacies of cider you learn to love cider even more.
  5. Camaraderie. When you pass your exam you will join an amazing group of cider professionals that love cider and spreading the love just as much as you do.
  6. Okay, we said 5 reasons, but really, we thought mentioning research (a.k.a. drinking cider) again might be worthwhile.

Register Now!

For ACA members, the exam is $125 per attempt. There is a discount code that members can access to receive the exam at the membership rate of $125. That discount code can be found here. For non-members, the exam is $200. You can register for the exam here.

Get Studying!

Now, about those resources we mentioned. When you sign up to take your Certified Pommelier™ exam, you will be provided with a study guide and access to webinars to help you develop your knowledge and skills.

There are several books that will also help you further develop your understanding of cider, apples and history. We have created a list with our recommended reading materials. You can access this list by clicking here.

And there’s a dedicated Facebook Group with prep materials and in depth peer conversations.

Want more to fortify your cider knowledge? We highly recommend interviewing cidermakers and cider tenders to help prepare. Blind tasting flights are also good prep. See research in our list above!


Contact our Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey with any questions you might have.

Don’t miss out on you chance to join this elite community of cider professionals by taking the Certified Pommelier™ Exam at CiderCon® 2022 in Richmond, Virginia in February!

A huge thanks to our CCP and Certified Pommelier™ sponsor:

CiderCon® Early Bird Registration Extended

Who needs some good news? Yes, Mercury is no longer in retrograde. But that’s not our news. We know our members are busy making cider right now, so we’ve decided to extend early bird CiderCon® 2022 registration pricing until Halloween. We can’t wait to see all of you for our beloved CiderCon® in Richmond, Virginia in February!

The extension means an extra 11 days to lock in the early registration fee of $395 for you and all of your employees for what promises to be an awesome return to CiderCon® in-person.

We are happy to have renowned cidermaker Diane Flynt join us as our Keynote Speaker. You can read more about Diane in our blog. This year’s workshop tracks include: (1) Cidermaking (2) Apples & Orcharding (3) Sales & Distribution (4) Better Business (5) Flavor & Terroir (6) Legal & Compliance (7) Marketing & Trends and (8) History. 

The famous CiderCon® trade show is shaping up to be a great place to meet the amazing vendors who help support our industry. Are you a vendor that would like to join us? Do you know a business that you would love to see at the trade show? Contact Ellenfor details.

There’s a plethora of add-on options available this year. We have tours, tasting, t-shirts, cider share and more available. You can learn more about these options on our registration page. Definitely check out the incredible tours and tastings before they sell out!

You can learn about all things CiderCon® 2022 at our website, and we’ll have more exciting announcements soon.

We’ll see you in Richmond!

Michelle, Woodley & Ellen 

P.S. Wanting to up your cider street cred? You can take your Certified Pommelier™ exam at CiderCon®! The exam will be held Wednesday, February 1, 2021 at the Marriott Hotel in Richmond. You can learn more and find links to register in our blog

P.P.S. Don’t forget to book your rooms in the CiderCon® block at the Marriott. You can book them here.

Thank you to our premier sponsor:

CiderCon 2022 Registration Now Open

The American Cider Association Presents CiderCon® 2022 in Richmond Virginia!

February 1-4, 2022

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that registration is now open for CiderCon® 2022! We are thrilled to be planning to gather in person in Richmond, Virginia from February 1-4, 2022. Register before October 31 to lock in early bird pricing!

Click below to learn about:


Health & Safety Guidelines

Latest News


Cider Share

Cider Tasting/Cidermaking Workshops

Virginia Cider Country Tours

Add ons

Certified Pommelier™ Exam


Draft Speakers (More Soon!)

Trade Show

Thanks to our premier sponsor:

CiderCon 2022 Tasting Sessions

We are thrilled to offer several tastings at CiderCon® 2022! Seating is limited in CiderCon® workshops, including tastings. Read our full Health & Safety Guidelines. Sign-up for tastings available during registration.

NEW! Top of the Mitten: High Latitude Ciders from Northern Michigan

Moderator: Nicole LeGrand Leibon

Speakers: Dan Young, Tandem Cider; Dion Stepanski, Presque Isle Farm; Left Foot Charley, Bryan Ulbrich

Price: $10 Thursday, 1:45-2:45pm

Already registered for CiderCon® 2022 but you’d like to add on this tasting? Register here.

This session will be a guided sensory exploration of ciders from near or north of the 45th parallel. We’ll explore the impact of the Great Lakes, the soil, orchard history and more on these ciders from Northern Michigan.

400 Years of American Alcohol: Cider, History, Cocktails and More

Presenter: Tiffanie Barriere, The Drinking Coach

Price: $10 Thursday 10:30-11:30

Already registered for CiderCon® 2022 but you’d like to add on this tasting? Register here.

Alcohol has a tasty history in America. Cider was seen as early as 1622. We are still counting and discovering some of the historical names that helped alcohol become what it is today. With the help of original records from the service industry we are able to explore many stories on alcohol production, service and even cocktail incorporation dating back hundreds of years. To explore this history, Tiffanie Barriere–a renowned mixologist, author, speaker and researcher–brings this mash-up session to CiderCon. Her workshop will be one part history and one part inspired cider cocktail creation. She will talk about important names, historical figures, legendary Black bartenders and she will also teach you how to make amazing cider cocktails.

Fruited Ciders: Beyond the AppleSOLD OUT

Moderator: Christine Walter 

Price: $8  Thursday 10:30-11:30

Fresh, frozen, puréed, essenced? Before, during, after? Answers to all of your questions, plus sourcing ideas and tasty examples to making excellent fruit ciders. This session is designed for cidermakers just getting their start. Featured Cider Makers: TBA

Creating Consumer Excitement with Food Pairing SuggestionsSOLD OUT

Presenter: Jennie Dorsey, Cider Educator

Price: $10  Thursday 2:00-3:00

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.

Tasting and Terroir of True Crabs Non- Malus Domestica ApplesSOLD OUT

Moderator: Dan Pucci, Author

Price: $12 Thursday 3:30-4:30

Malus Domestica is not the only game in town. The Malus genus is diverse with apples native to biomes across the world, wild, feral or bred with intention. Typically valued more for their flowers than fruit, cider is adapting them into its diverse tool box. This talk will look at how these apples perform in a wide range of different growing environments and how they can be used in a wide range of different cider making styles. Featured Cider Makers: TBA 

Survey of Yeast-Derived Characteristics and Hands-On BlendingSOLD OUT

Moderator: Aaron Homoya

Price: $10  Thursday 3:30-4:30

Take your experience with the possibilities of flavor and aroma contributions of yeast strains to the next level with this tasting panel of cider made from one juice and a range of yeasts. Featured Cider Makers: TBA

Southern Cider Apples: A Recipe for Complex Flavor & Changing ClimateSOLD OUT

Moderator: Diane Flynt, Apple Grower and Cider Maker

Price: $12  Friday 10:30-11:30

Diane Flynt will set the stage for exploring southern cider apples with historic context for old southern cider apple varieties. Presentation will include color slides of southern apple varieties. The panel discussion will touch on fruit cultivation but will focus on the use of older southern varieties in cider.
Panel discussion topics: Varietal characteristics of old southern apples in cider; Cidermakers’ experience in using old southern apples in cider; Consumer response to cider made with old southern apples; Optional: apple tasting and cider tasting. Featuring: David and/or Ann Marie Thornton, James Creek Cider House, Tim Wright, Wise Bird Cider, Will Hodges, Troddenvale Cider

A Cider Among the Faults – An Aroma-Based Sensory Workshop

Presenter: Nicole Leibon, Chris Gerling, Jocelyn Kuzelka

Price: $12 Friday 10:30-11:30

Already registered for CiderCon® 2022 but you’d like to add on this tasting? Register here.

Take a good look at this line-up of five suspect ciders and put your detective (and detecting) skills to the test. Only one is innocent, the other four are fatally faulted by the usual (and maybe unusual) suspects. Discussion will include detection and rejection thresholds, their impact on how ciders and faults can be perceived differently, and ways to avoid or fix the faults found in the line-up.

Introductory Palate TrainingSOLD OUT

Presenter: Darlene Hayes

Price $10 Friday 2:00-3:00pm

When learning the art of evaluating a cider it can be helpful to start by familiarizing your palate with individual structural elements. In this session, you will experience first hand the flavor and texture differences between several types of acids typically found in cider as well as different sugar levels and types of tannin. Give yourself a great foundation from which to take your tasting skills to the next level.

Best Practices for Producing Ciders with Residual SugarSOLD OUT

Moderator: Brighid O’Keene

Price: $10 Friday 2:00-3:00pm

This tasting session will explore methods and tips for producing cider with residual sugar. You will hear from cider makers producing at various scales and with different equipment about how to successfully make sweeter cider. We’ll explore downstream processing and safe bottling with a focus on best practices. Featured Cider Makers: TBA

Wild, Clean & Free: Harnessing the Beauty of Wild-fermenting, Without the FlawsSOLD OUT

Moderator: Christine Walter

Price: $12 Friday 3:30-4:30pm

This tasting session will be a deep dive into making the most of traditional and pet-nat processes while producing a cleanly fermented sparkling cider. Featured Cider Makers: TBA

New and Updated Cider Share Returns to CiderCon!

UPDATE 01/25/2022: The 4:00pm Cider Share is Sold Out. If you are already registered and would like to add the 6:00pm Cider Share on to your registration please email Ellen and she will add you and you can pay when you check in at the registration desk. If you are not registered, Cider Share can be added on during the registration process.

CiderCon® is thrilled to present an in-person conference and trade show in Richmond, Virginia from February 1-4, 2022 for American Cider Association members. Our beloved welcome reception, Cider Share, is also back! 

There are two Cider Share receptions on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, a 4:00pm salon and 6:00pm salon. Tickets to Cider Share will be $20 per person. Each Cider Share time slot will be limited to 200 people. Please read the complete Health and Safety Guidelines for more information about the American Cider Association’s COVID-19 protocol for CiderCon® 2022.

Each Cider Share Salon will feature 25 different cideries, representing cider from around the US and the world. Featured cideries will be chosen using a lottery along with considerations of geography and style. If you would like to be considered as a featured cidery at Cider Share 2022, please select that choice during the CiderCon registration process. The lottery drawing will be held in early November and those selected will be notified via email with further details.

Take the Certified Pommelier Exam at CiderCon 2022!


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

The intro-level certification (CCP Level 1) is an online test that can be taken at any time. The more advanced level of certification–the Certified Pommelier™ exam–is a sit-down hand-written exam: part short answer, part essay questions, and part sensory and taste evaluation questions. *CCP Level 1 is a prerequisite for Certified Pommelier. 

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. The exam consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). 

The test is meant to be challenging. Studying is highly recommended. 

The topics covered in the exam are: 

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

*If a test-taker passes only the written or only the tasting portion of the exam, they are permitted the opportunity to retake the un-passed portion of the exam at a future date (within 18 months).


Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements that are often misunderstood by food and beverage professionals. Certifications are increasingly used in the professional realm to set oneself apart as an individual with specialized knowledge, though cider is often covered in a cursory manner by most certification programs, if at all. Although there are already more than 1,700 Level 1 Certified Cider Professionals, being recognized as a Certified Pommelier™ will put you in the vanguard of verified advanced cider specialists in this ever growing category.


For ACA members, the exam is $125 per attempt. There is a discount code that members can access to receive the exam at the membership rate of $125. That discount code can be found here. For non-members, the exam is $200.  Should it be needed, test takers can retake future written or tasting portions of the exam at a separate sitting with a 25% discount.


Test takers must provide either proof of full vaccination against COVID or negative PCR test results received no earlier than Sunday, January 30. One these two things is required for entry, and there will be no refunds if you are unable to provide them. Test takers will be socially distanced and will wear masks unless actively evaluating a cider. Cider evaluations will take place in a separate room from the written theory portion of the exam. The full CiderCon Health & Safety Guidelines can be downloaded HERE.



500 E Broad St

Richmond, VA 23219


  • What is the COVID-19 protocol during the Certified Pommelier™ test? Test takers must provide either proof of full vaccination against COVID or negative PCR test results received no earlier than Sunday, January 30. One these two things is required for entry, and there will be no refunds if you are unable to provide them. Test takers will be socially distanced and will wear masks unless actively evaluating a cider. Cider evaluations will take place in a separate room from the written theory portion of the exam. The full CiderCon COVID-19 protocol can be downloaded HERE.
  • Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? YES- You must be 21 or older and you must provide an ID to prove you are who you say you are.
  • Do I need to pass the level 1 CCP exam to take the Certified Pommelier™ test? Yes. Passing the Level 1 CCP exam is a prerequisite. If you have not yet taken the Level 1 exam, you can purchase the Level 1 bundle on demand HERE.  The bundle includes an on-demand webinar, study guide, and access to the online exam.
  • What can I bring into the event? Nothing may be brought into the exam room. Cell phones must be left at the door. Pencils and drinking water will be provided.
  • How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please contact CCP contributor and proctor Jennie Dorsey at jennie@ciderassociation.org.
  • What’s the refund policy? We will refund test takers up until January 26, 2022. Eventbrite doesn’t give us the option to issue refunds through the system so checks will be issued.
  • Is there a training workshop? This is not a workshop, but an exam only. Once you register for your exam, study materials including webinars and study guides will be emailed to you. There is also a dedicated Facebook Group (that is open for all to join) with prep materials and in depth peer conversations. STUDY! We highly recommend interviewing cidermakers and cider tenders to help prepare. Blind tasting flights are also good prep.
  • Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? If you are transferring registration to another person, please email us in advance.
  • Is there a tasting section on the test? Yes. You will be asked to evaluate ciders from multiple cider families.
  • How long does the test take? It takes most students 2-3 hours to complete.
  • If I sign up for this exam, do I have to register to attend CiderCon? No. This exam is an independent event and does not have to be purchased in conjunction with CiderCon tickets.

Thanks to our CCP and Certified Pommelier™ sponsor:

CiderCon® 2022 Will Feature Four Virginia Cider Tours

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that in collaboration with the Virginia Wine Board and Virginia Association of Cider Makers there will be four tours available for attendees of CiderCon® 2022. The tours will feature Albemarle County, Nelson County, the Northern Shenandoah Valley, and Richmond’s Jackson Ward.  

Albemarle County TourSOLD OUT

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Albemarle County has been an apple growing and cider making region since the earliest days of European settlers. Join the tour of this historically rich area and taste the wide variety of ciders produced here. The tour will begin with a cidery tour and tasting with Don Whitaker at Castle Hill Cider. Next up will be a cider and local charcuterie tasting with Andy Hannas at Potter’s Craft Cider, followed by lunch from Plenty Cville. The day will wrap up with a cider tasting and tour with local legend Chuck Shelton of Albemarle CiderWorks before the bus heads back to Richmond.

Nelson County TourSOLD OUT

Enjoy the rich orchard heritage of Nelson County. The tour starts with the Virginia outpost for Blue Toad Hard Cider. Todd Rath will host a cidery tour and tasting at their facility at the base of Wintergreen. Next up will be a tour at Bold Rock Hard Cider with a tasting of ciders not widely distributed. Followed by lunch at their tasting barn. Then, the tour will travel down the road to Silver Creek Orchards, a multi-generational apple grower and longtime supporter of the Virginia cider industry.  Adam Cooke will give a tour of their orchards and custom crush operation. Coyote Hole Ciderworks will be on hand for a final cider tasting before heading back to Richmond. 

Northern Shenandoah Valley Tour

The Shenandoah Valley, nestled between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains, is the heart of historic Virginia apple country. Come join a tour of some of the valley’s orchards and discussions on growing apples and cider production techniques in the valley. Six cideries will be visited on the two-day tour. The tour will start at Lost Boy Cider for lunch on January 31, 2022. Following orchard visits, dinner will be at Winchester Ciderworks and also feature the Old Town Cidery. Accommodations will be at the George Washington Hotel, a Wyndham Grand Hotel. After breakfast at the hotel on February 1, 2022, there will be stops at Old Hill Cidery, Sage Bird Ciderworks for lunch and Cider from Mars as you meander your way back to Richmond.

Jackson Ward Tour

Celebrate Black History Month in Richmond’s Jackson Ward, once known as Black Wall Street for the many financial services, cultural icons, and entrepreneurs who made the neighborhood thrive. This guided bus and walking tour includes history, food and of course cider, most of it within walking distance of the conference in case you want to circle back for more on your own.

Tour Registration

Tour registration will be available as an add on when CiderCon® registration opens. To learn more about pricing and what is included in the tours, check out the CiderCon® Tours webpage.

CiderCon 2022® will take place in Richmond, Virginia from February 1-4, 2022. For more details about CiderCon® activities, follow @cidercon on Twitter or head to the CiderCon® website

ACA Announces Diane Flynt as CiderCon® 2022 Keynote Speaker

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that award winning cidermaker Diane Flynt will be the keynote speaker at CiderCon® 2022 set to take place in Richmond, Virginia from February 2-4, 2022. Her keynote presentation will highlight the history and legacy of southern apples and cider. There are many lessons that can be learned from that past that can apply to creating a more sustainable future for the American cider industry. 

Flynt’s own history in the cider industry began in 1997 when she founded Foggy Ridge Cider, the first licensed cidery in the South, by planting cider apples, including many southern varieties. From 2004-2018 Foggy Ridge Cider produced 5300 gallons a year of orchard-focused ciders that was distributed across 15 states. 

Since its first production, Foggy Ridge Cider gained a national reputation for high quality cider. Foggy Ridge was featured on CBS Sunday Morning Show, and in publications including Gourmet, Imbibe, Saveur, Garden & Gun, Esquire and Martha Stewart Living. Food & Wine magazine named Foggy Ridge a “Small Batch Superstar” in 2010. MADE: In America awarded Foggy Ridge a 2012 American Treasurer’s Award, recognition for artisan producers. Foggy Ridge Cider received many “best of” awards, including a top rating from the New York Times for its Serious Cider blend. 

Flynt herself was nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Beverage Professional in 2015 and 2016, and was a finalist for this award in 2017 and 2018. She speaks on cider, farming and food culture in national and regional forums.

“We are thrilled to have Diane Flynt joining us in Richmond at CiderCon 2022 as our keynote speaker,” says American Cider Association Executive Director Michelle McGrath, “Her wealth of knowledge and experience in the cider industry is impressive and I know that attendees will walk away from her talk with new inspiration for ways to move forward sustainably in their own cider businesses.”

After moving to an online format for CiderCon® in 2021, the American Cider Association is looking forward to hosting an in-person event for CiderCon® 2022, presented by premier ACA sponsor, FruitSmart. Planning for sessions, the extensive trade show, several regional tours, and various local cider events is well under way and the ACA believes that Richmond will be an exciting city in which to be located. The rich history of southern cider will provide a broad focus on a regional lens and Flynt and other speakers are expected to address the role enslaved people, such as George and Ursula Granger, played in the development of cider in the United States. 

Anne Shelton of Albemarle Ciderworks and the Virginia Cider Association President comments, “The Virginia Cider Association is pleased to welcome CiderCon® to the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCA members have been working hard to make CiderCon® 2022 a memorable experience for cider producers and cider enthusiasts both from the US and abroad.”

The ACA will be forming a COVID-safety plan for CiderCon 2022 to ensure that all attendees can participate with as little risk as possible. Both CDC and Virginia guidelines will be considered. The plan will be announced when ticket sales launch later this month.

CiderCon® is the premier conference for cidermakers in the United States. For more information about CiderCon® or the American Cider Association please contact Michelle McGrath. Follow @cidercon on Twitter for the latest news or head to the CiderCon® website for updates.

Reserve Your Trade Show Booth for CiderCon 2022!

The American Cider Association is thrilled to announce that CiderCon® 2022 will be held in-person in Richmond, Virginia from February 1-4, 2022! Not only that, but we’re ready to start taking reservations for our Trade Show. You can book your booth from June 15 – July 15 at the early bird price of $2375.

In addition, the ACA would really like to thank our allied trade members who have sponsored us in the past, those who have been exhibiting with us the longest, and those who took a chance and participated in our extremely successful virtual CiderCon® in 2021. To show our gratitude, we’ve implemented a points system that thanks CiderCon® vendors by gifting loyalty points that move you up the priority list for selecting your preferred Trade Show booth space. 

Points are assigned based on:

  • Longevity in the show – 1 point per year of participation in the trade show
  • Taking part in the virtual conference – 2 points
  • Reserving and paying for your booth during our discount period – 1 point 
  • Sponsoring the American Cider Association – Points assigned on case by case basis

Speaking of sponsorship…

Supporting the American Cider Association is a great way to gain brand visibility at CiderCon® and beyond. There are a myriad of reasons why sponsoring the ACA  works in your favor. We shout out our appreciation for our sponsors far and wide at CiderCon®, on our website, on social media and beyond and our members hear us. Our Executive Director Michelle McGrath is eager to work with you on creating a custom sponsorship experience that meets your brand’s personality and needs. You can schedule a 30-minute face to face meeting with our Executive Director here. Have your eyes on certain CiderCon® branding real-estate? Fill this short form out and we’ll follow up ASAP!

What Next?

Register HERE! We’re really looking forward to working with all of you and seeing you next February in Richmond!

Looking to become a CiderCon® vendor for the 1st time?

Please contact Ellen at tradeshow@ciderassociation.org to learn more!