CiderCon® Scholarships Continue for 2023 Conference

Yonder Cider, Beer Kulture and the American Cider Association have partnered to continue CiderCon® scholarship opportunities this year. These scholarships are designed to bring new BIPOC individuals into the cider industry. The scholarship includes: registration to CiderCon®; travel and lodging; Certified Cider Professional Level 1 bundle (including the exam); two Certified Cider Professional Sensory Webinars; and the registration fee for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam. Applications can be found here and the deadline to apply is December 10, 2022. Recipients will be contacted to schedule a brief interview and winners of the scholarship will be notified on December 21, 2022. CiderCon® 2023 takes place January 31 – February 3, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Cider Share at CiderCon® 2023

Join us for our beloved welcoming reception, Cider Share, at CiderCon® 2023! The Cider Share reception will take place Wednesday, February 1 from 5:00 to 8:00pm.

Haven’t been to a Cider Share before? Here’s what to expect:

50 (yes 50!) cideries from around the country and the world will be serving their ciders for attendees to enjoy. Learn about the ciders from the cidermakers and their staff, meet fellow cidermakers from your region, mingle with other CiderCon® attendees to connect with old friends or make new ones! Cider Share will be limited to 400 people this year so make sure to add Cider Share during the registration process! Tickets are $20.

Want to serve your cider at Cider Share? Here’s how:

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 2023, please select that choice during the CiderCon® registration process. The lottery drawing will be held in early December and those selected will be notified via email with further details.

ACA Welcomes Wine Industry Professional Sunny Gandara as CiderCon® 2023 Keynote Speaker

The American Cider Association welcomes wine industry professional Sunny Gandara, DipWSET, CWE as the featured keynote speaker for CiderCon® 2023. Sunny is the former Global Wine Director for the Mathew Kenney Restaurant Group and the founder and owner of The Plant Curious Table, a digital dual-purpose education and wine consulting company. Sunny has nearly 20 years of experience in the food and wine industry with a focus on plant-based foods. Her expertise is connecting with “plant curious” clientele over her wine knowledge. She is a Certified Wine Educator and Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators and a holder of the WSET Diploma. She is a professionally trained chef through the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) in New York and a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador.

According to the Plant Based Foods Association, “one-third of Americans are actively reducing their meat and dairy consumption. While a small number of Americans identify as vegetarian or vegan, flexitarians represent the largest growth opportunity for plant-based foods.” 60% of Gen-Z wants to eat more plant-based foods and 79% eat plant-based 1-2 times a week. This is where Sunny’s “plant curious” lens can help open new markets up for cider.

 As the keynote speaker, Sunny will explore vegan market growth and trends, who plant-based consumers are, why cider is perfect for this growing group, and how to market to these consumers.

CiderCon® 2023 will take place in Chicago from January 31 to February 3, 2023, at the beautiful Hilton Chicago. Early registration closes November 9. Learn more about all our fantastic speakers at www.ciderassocation.org.

ACA Announces Registration is Now Open for CiderCon® 2023!

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that CiderCon® 2023 will take place in Chicago, Illinois from January 31 – February 3, 2023. With tours, tastings, educational workshops, demos and more, CiderCon®’s Chicago homecoming is set to be an educational celebration of all things cider. Registration opened on September 29, 2022.

After a four year hiatus, the return of CiderCon® to Chicago has been much anticipated and the ACA has been working with folks on the ground in the Windy City to make the homecoming spectacular. This includes four exciting tour options: a look at Chicago’s history through the lens of taverns, a tour of the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago’s historical south side, a tour visiting three unique Chicago-based cideries, and a cider and architecture tour featuring the stunning works of world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

A full range of educational sessions will cover topics of cider production, marketing, sales, branding, sensory evaluation, compliance, business strategy, orcharding and more. Speakers include Claude Jolicoeur (author of Cider Planet), Yann Gilles (cider and wine consultant from France), Lester Jones (Chief Economist from NBWA), Julie Rhodes (Not Your Hobby Marketing), Mary Mills (3 Tier Beverage), Dr. J Nikol Jackson-Beckham (Brewer’s Association and Crafted for All), Elizabeth Ryan (Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider), Bryan Roth (Good Beer Hunting), Liz Garibay (Chicago Brewseum), Elizabeth Garofalo (Red Tomato Food Hub) and many more, plus new presenters joining every day. 

“We have so many amazing sessions already lined up and others in the works, “ said ACA Executive Director, Michelle McGrath. “We’re emphasizing cider quality, terroir and retail strategy this year. It’s been rewarding to think about the impact of CiderCon® on the industry, and to rise to the challenge of deepening that. CiderCon® is very special and we’re committed to improving it every year.” 

The extensive trade show, presented by longstanding ACA partner FruitSmart, will feature many beloved vendors excited for the return of CiderCon® to Chicago and welcome several first time vendors eager to join the cider community and meet conference attendees. 

Tickets to CiderCon® are just $425 for for ACA members if booked by October 22. After October 22, member registration rates become $475. Public tickets are $725 for early registration and $775 after October 22. 

More information about the wide array of events and educational sessions being offered and registration can be found on the CiderCon® website and you can follow @cidercon on Twitter for the latest news. CiderCon® is an ACA event produced with the generous support of our members and ACA’s premier sponsor, FruitSmart

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Next Certified Pommelier™ Exam Will Be At CiderCon® 2023

TAKE THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM AT CIDERCON® 2023!

Are you ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? Already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification and looking for that next challenge? Now’s your chance! The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that the next Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois! The exam will take place February 1, 2023 starting at 8:30am at CiderCon® 2023. Read on to learn more about the Certified Pommelier™ Exam and how to prepare, what to expect, and how to register! (P.S. There’s a discount code available for ACA members who want to take the test. You can find that code HERE by logging in to your account.)

WHAT IS THE CERTIFIED POMMELIER™ EXAM? 

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).

WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED POMMELIER™?

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.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TEST COST?

For ACA members, the exam is $200 per attempt. There is a discount code that members can access to receive the exam at the membership rate of $200. That discount code can be found here. For non-members, the exam is $275.  Should it be needed, test takers can retake future written or tasting portions of the exam at a separate sitting with a 25% discount. Price now includes access to a pre-recorded introductory webinar to the updated sensory form and sample sensory forms from key cider regions. The webinar can be accessed at any point to prepare for your exam.

FAQs

  • 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 two weeks before the exam.
  • 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. In addition, two new upcoming sensory webinars will be released in fall of 2022 and available for purchase.
  • 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? You are given 2 hours to complete the theory portion of the exam and 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the sensory portion.  There will be a 15 minute break in between exam portions.

Refund and Opt Out Policy

Refunds will be offered up to 2 weeks before the exam.

Any purchaser can opt out of the exam up to 72 hours prior to scheduled time.  If opt out is chosen, another exam date must be chosen within 18 months. No refunds will be given.

CiderCon® 2023 – Call for Proposals

CiderCon® is the world’s premier networking and educational event for the professional cidermaking community. CiderCon® 2023 will take place in Chicago, Illinois from January 31 – February 3, 2023.

We invite presentation proposals from qualified experts who meet the criteria of being able to educate cidermakers, apple growers, cidery owners, retailers, wholesalers, marketers and other cider industry professionals about best practices, new trends, research, and improving processes.

Successful proposals will state clearly:
-Target Audience – role in industry as well as business model.
-Also include if material is best for beginner/intermediate/ or advanced audience members.
-Educational Goal – what skill, tool or new understanding will attendees walk away with?

COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION
We are committed to ensuring CiderCon® is a safe and welcoming space for all regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability or sexual preference. We strongly encourage BIPOC, LGTBQIA+, veterans and speakers with disabilities to submit proposals.

Additionally, we invite speakers from outside but related industries to cider. Our industry will be strengthened with fresh perspectives.

Particular topics of interest we seek applicants for through this RFP: Compliance, Branding, Marketing, Distributor Relationships, Chain Retail Sales, DtC Sales, Market Trends, HR, Finance, Operational Safety, Team Leadership, Equity & Inclusion.

Proposals are due to the CiderCon® committee by June 17. Approved speakers receive a complimentary pass to CiderCon® which includes lunch for 2 days.