CiderCon® 2024 Recap–Connecting Minds, Igniting Ideas for Growing the Cider Category

CEO’s Note–CiderCon® is carefully curated to offer expert-level content for all stages of the cider industry. In an industry as diverse as cider, it takes immense intentionality, and we are grateful to all of our speakers for participating! Many of our speakers have commented on how eager and engaged the CiderCon® audience was. Great speakers and great students–that’s my CiderCon® dream come true. Thank you to everyone involved! –Michelle McGrath, CEO ACA

  • The 14th annual CiderCon® was held in Portland, Oregon from January 17-19, 2024 at the Oregon Convention Center, celebrating a return to Portland after 8 years. The week was deemed a success despite a rare multi day ice storm that impacted the travel plans of some attendees. CiderCon® is organized by the American Cider Association (ACA) and presented by FruitSmart, and it is the world’s largest conference for the hard cider industry. 
  • 1,250 people registered for CiderCon® 2024, including attendees, vendors, volunteers and speakers, and an estimated 1,100 attended. Registration was 20% more than the previous year, and CiderCon® 2024 attendance exceeded any prior year’s levels despite challenging weather conditions.
  • Attendees came from 40 different states and DC, including Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Oregon claimed the most registrants, followed by Washington, California, and New York.
  • Attendees from 14 different countries participated in CiderCon®, including Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
  • An estimated 30% of CiderCon® attendees came from the Northwest (MT, ID, OR, WA, BC) this year.
  • The ACA hosted 9 recipients for their Cider is For Everyone Scholarship at CiderCon® 2024. This scholarship is designed to bring individuals from historically marginalized populations within the beverage industry to CiderCon® to increase the accessibility of cider education and catalyze the careers and ownership pathways of these burgeoning cider professionals. Now in its third year, the scholarship received almost four times the number of applications than in the previous two years combined. 
  • The ACA hosted the annual cider guild leadership meeting on January 17 with guild leaders from the Northwest, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, California, Virginia, Utah, and Vermont as well as the UK, Norway, Japan, and Canada. The group shared regional strategies for engaging consumers, retailers, and distributors as well as preemptive strategies for protecting the cider industry from efforts to raise state excise taxes in the US. 
  • CiderCon® 2024 coincided with Oregon Cider Week, organized by the Northwest Cider Association (NWCA). Some events were postponed or canceled due to the inclement weather, but the events that remained were well attended and celebrated cider throughout Portland.
  • The NWCA also organized the tours for CiderCon® 2024. Two overnight tours went to Seattle and Port Townsend areas to visit cideries in those regions. Two other tours explored cideries and bottle shops in Portland, after needing to shift from visiting the cider regions of the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley due to the weather.
  • Cider Share is an ACA-coordinated industry tasting only available to CiderCon® attendees as the beloved opening reception of the conference. This year Cider Share took place on January 17 and featured dozens of cidermakers from around the country and the world.
  • The NWCA coordinated a special preview hour of Cider Share this year. The Cider Share preview hour was invite-only for wholesalers, buyers, media, and influencers to sample cider from throughout the Northwest. NWCA and ACA worked together to invite representatives from local and national companies as a strategy to recruit more wholesalers and buyers to attend CiderCon®. Portland’s weather made it hard for some to attend as flights were delayed, but participation in the preview hour was still high, especially from representatives of the media, who attended CiderCon® in record numbers this year.  
  • The ACA welcomed 3 keynote speakers on the morning of January 18,  including multigenerational orchardists Kaitlyn Thornton (Tonasket, Washington) and Randy Kiyokawa (Kiyokawa Family Orchard in Hood River, Oregon), along with cidery owner Lara Worm (Bivouac Ciderworks in San Diego, California). All three discussed the theme for this year’s CiderCon®: Connecting to Consumers in an Age of Endless Choice
  • Following these three mini-presentations, Zoe Licata of Brewbound hosted a panel discussion, investigating the state of the hard cider industry with a selection of cidery representatives from around the country: Aaron Sarnoff-Wood (2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon), Casey Baxter (Blake’s Beverage Company, Michigan), Shannon Edgar (Stormalong Cider, Massachusetts), Caitlin Braam (Yonder Cider, Washington), and Eleanor Leger (Eden Specialty Ciders, Vermont).
  • During the opening session, Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA, announced that Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-D) and Mike Kelly (PA-R) introduced the Bubble Tax Modernization Act of 2024 (HR 7029) to the 118th Congress of the United States on Thursday, January 18. The “Bubble Bill” will amend a carbonation threshold disparity for lower alcohol wine, cider and mead made with fruit.
  • There were 38 educational sessions held during CiderCon® covering topics in the areas of Crafting Amazing Cider, Doing Better Business, Exploring Cider’s Flavor & Terroir, Growing Bountiful Apples, and Selling More Cider. The Cider Institute of North America helped to develop the Crafting Amazing Cider track sessions once again.
  • There were 12 sensory sessions, including a tasting with cidermaking guests from Sweden and Norway. Other tasting sessions featured stone fruit co-ferments, international perry (pear wine), cider and beer/wine hybrids, foraged fruit cider, ancestral method cider, amphoras, and more.
  • CiderCon® 2024 featured multiple data-driven sessions featuring speakers from 3 Tier Beverage, Wine Market Council, Prosparus, and Mintel, offering nuanced looks at trends in the beverage marketplace and how they may impact the hard cider market.
  • Representatives from beverage retailers spoke at CiderCon® 2024 including speakers from Safeway, Whole Foods, World Foods, Zupan’s, John’s Marketplace, and Ponderosa Beer & Books. 
  • Two sessions explored sustainability issues and opportunities for the cider category, including a panel discussion with Christine Walter (Bauman’s Cider), Mike Biltonen (Know Your Roots), Mimi Casteel (Hope Well Winec), and Greg Jones (Abacela Winery) looking at orcharding, and a panel discussion moderated by Colin Schilling (Schilling Cider) looking at packaging and production with additional panelists from Santa Cruz Cider and American Canning.
  • John Bunker, an American orchardist, pomologist, and “apple explorer” presented two sessions about apple identification. 
  • The ACA once again offered its Certified Pommelier exam at CiderCon® 2024. The  Certified Pommelier is an advanced second-level designation of the ACA’s Certified Cider Professional program geared toward beverage and hospitality industry professionals. Close to 30 people sat for the challenging test that included a blind sensory evaluation section. The new cohort of Certified Pommeliers will be announced in 6 weeks. 
  • There were numerous networking opportunities at CiderCon® 2024, including a Newcomer Networking session sponsored by Maletis Beverage, a BIPOC Cider Professional Meetup, and an Orcharding Meetup where attendees exchanged apple tree scion wood.
  • The TTB–the agency charged with regulating cider over 7% ABV and collecting excise taxes at the federal level–held two sessions at CiderCon® 2024. They were also available during the trade show to answer questions regarding topics ranging from labeling to licensing to formula approval.
  • The trade show, sponsored by FruitSmart, featured 93 vendors from around the country and the world and featured several new vendors as well as many who have returned year after year to support the cider industry. Trade show vendor registration grew by 25% from the previous year, but the inclement weather reduced the number of participating vendors slightly. 93 vendors is still a strong showing for the trade show, which featured 113 booths overall.
  • The Michigan Cider Association hosted a tap trailer in the trade show featuring an impressive range of Michigan ciders for trade show attendees to sample.
  • The ACA Board of Directors recognized several industry members for their efforts to move the cider industry forward, including 2024 Members of the Year: Seattle Cider and Ploughman Cider, the 2024 Apple Advocate Awards: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jake Mann (Five Mile Orchard), and the 2024 Significant Impact Awards: Emily Ritchie (Executive Director of Northwest Cider Association) and Brighid O’Keane (Executive Director of Cider Institute of North America). 

SAVE THE DATE: CiderCon® 2025 will be held in Chicago, Illinois from February 4-7, 2025.

CiderCon® was created to offer the commercial hard cider industry an outlet to meet, share ideas, collaborate, and affect positive changes in cidermaking, apple and pear production, the cider market, and cider regulations. CiderCon® is organized by the American Cider Association whose mission is to grow a diverse and successful US. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources, and services to our members and by advocating on their behalf.

Columbia River Gorge Cidery & Brewery Tour

The Columbia River Gorge is a breathtaking canyon that stretches for over 80 miles along the Columbia River, forming the border between the states of Oregon and Washington. It is a natural wonder that has been carved out over millions of years by the powerful forces of water and ice. The gorge is home to a stunning array of natural sights, including towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

On the Columbia River Gorge Cidery & Brewery Tour you’ll have a chance to view towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests while touring three fermentation-focused businesses in this world-renowned region: Double Mountain, Mt. View Orchards, and Working Hands Fermentation. Not only will you be able to tour their production spaces and tasting rooms, but you’ll also get to taste their unique takes on cider and beer, and check out how these businesses attract both the local community and tourists, both beer and cider drinkers.

This CiderCon® 2024 tour includes tastings, lunch, and transportation, so all you have to worry about is having a good time. But there’s only 5 spots left so hurry up and add it to your CiderCon® 2024 registration today!

Thanks to the Northwest Cider Association for organizing this and all tours for CiderCon® 2024.

ACA Announces Cider is for Everyone Scholarship Recipients

PORTLAND (December 29, 2023) – The American Cider Association (ACA) is thrilled to announce the awardees of the 2024 Cider is for Everyone Scholarship. Recipients are Genevieve Regalado (Benny Boy Brewing), Robert Freeman (EsoTerra Ciderworks), Britt Evans, Javier Naranjo (Oklawaha Brewing Company), Tasmine Fraser (Girl with a Cider Review, Cider Canada), Rae Adams (Wehrloom Honey & Meadery), Emily Ptasinski (Republic of Cider), WIlliam Santiago (Crafted Concoctions), Jonathan Osei (Artisanal Brewing Ventures), and José Sabas (Grape Ape). Full recipient bios can be found below.

This scholarship is designed to bring individuals from historically marginalized populations within the beverage industry to CiderCon® to increase the accessibility of cider education and catalyze the careers and ownership-pathways of these burgeoning cider professionals. Now in its third year, the scholarship received almost four times the number of applications than in the previous two years combined.

Each scholarship includes registration, travel and lodging to attend CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, scholarship recipients receive a year of ACA membership and study materials and waived exam fees to pursue recognition through the Certified Cider Professional and Certified Pommelier™ education and certification program offered by the ACA. The ACA is grateful for support from Yonder Cider, Seattle Cider Co, Nine Pin Ciderworks, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Alma Cider, the Great Little Box Company, John’s MarketplaceBeer Kulture and Lifting Lucy to make the Cider is for Everyone Scholarship possible.

This scholarship is part of a broader effort by the ACA to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the cider industry. In 2019 the ACA launched the Antiracism, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion as important and necessary principles for the present and future successes of the cider industry. This committee structures its work around a belief that existing structures of power, privilege and discrimination must be actively questioned, evaluated and reformed in order to create equitable opportunities and foster an environment that embraces and values our differences. Its members, in conjunction with the rest of the organization, strive to create events, opportunities and organizational policies that embody these principles, and work to continue evaluating these practices for sustained growth and improvement.

“This scholarship is one of our best tools for fostering a more diverse cider industry,” says Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA. “The scholarship needs to work in lock step with our efforts to create a more inclusive industry so that, as we have more diverse CiderCon® attendees, they are surrounded by a welcoming community and equitable environment.”

“There is a stark difference between being invited to an event and actually belonging in a space. The American Cider Association is doing the difficult and meaningful work of building a culture within the organization and the industry at-large that fosters true belonging by challenging itself to thoughtfully and carefully evolve and expand. The rapid growth and development of this scholarship program is both a testament to that thoughtfulness and indicative of the program’s importance. Its transformative impact on the lives of not just the individuals who receive it, but also the industry professionals who interact with recipients, spans far beyond the CiderCon® experience. This program, its participants, its sponsors, and its supporters collectively demonstrate that cider is, indeed, for everyone,” says ACA Scholarship Coordinator Olivia Pener, a recipient of the scholarship in 2023.

CiderCon® is the world’s premier networking and educational event for the professional cidermaking community. CiderCon® 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon from January 17-19 at the Oregon Convention Center. Registration is now open and available at

Further information, media interviews, awardee bios and photos available upon request. Please contact Michelle McGrath at Interested in helping support the Cider is for Everyone Scholarship? Please contact our Scholarship Coordinator Olivia Pener at

Meet Our Scholarship Recipients

Britt Evans

Britt Evans is a proud West Philadelphian who started her journey in the city’s bustling food and beverage industry in 2010. In 2015, Britt developed a love for craft beer which led to a brewing position with Love City in 2021, making her one of the first Black Women to brew professionally in the city of Philadelphia. In the summer of 2023, Britt joined a collaboration with Farmer Jawn and Ploughman Cider, creating the successful “Uptown Cookout” blend for Barrel & Flow Fest. Now open to the beautiful world of apples and cidermaking, Britt is excited for the next phase in her journey. She hopes to explore the world and collaborate with fellow brewers/cidermakers, continuing to open doors and create safe spaces for Black Women in fermentation.

Emily Ptasinski

Hailing from the vibrant island of Taiwan, Emily Ptasinski has carved a unique path in the world of craft beverages as the co-owner and tasting room manager of Republic of Cider. Alongside her husband, they laid the foundation for their cidery in 2018, driven by a passion for redefining the boundaries of cider craftsmanship. Emily’s dedication to reshaping cider culture is reflected in her belief that inclusivity not only enriches flavors but also strengthens the very essence of craft beverages.  To that, Emily has helped incorporate the distinct flavors of the Asian palate into their portfolio of ciders, even crafting her own Taiwanese plum wine, based on her own mother’s recipe.  Embracing the significance of diversity, she champions the integration of varied perspectives and cultures into the fabric of craft beverages. Recognizing the pivotal role of representation, Emily actively promotes cider within the Taiwanese community, aiming to bridge cultural gaps and foster a sense of belonging.

Emily Ptasinski來自充滿活力的臺灣島,

作為蘋果酒共和國的老板娘和品酒室經理,她在手工飲料領域開闢了一條獨特的道路。 在重新定義蘋果酒工藝界限的激情驅使下,他們與她的丈夫一起在2018成立了,蘋果酒聯合國公司。 Emily致力於重塑蘋果酒文化,這反映在她的信念中,即包容性不僅能豐富風味,還能強化精釀飲料的精髓。 對此,Emily幫助將亞洲味覺的獨特風味納入了他們的蘋果酒組合,甚至根據她母親的食譜製作了自己的臺灣李子酒。 她擁抱多樣性的重要性,倡導將不同的視角和文化融入手工飲料的結構中。 Emily了解獨特性的重要,特別在西雅圖臺灣社群積極推廣蘋果酒,旨在彌合文化差距,培養歸屬感。


Genevieve Regalado

Genevieve Regalado, the General Manager at Benny Boy Brewing in Los Angeles, CA, found her passion for cider kindled by the unique balance of dryness and sweetness in Benny Boy’s offerings. This pleasant surprise, given her background in the craft beer industry, not only sparked her creativity in imagining new flavor combinations but also inspired her to delve deeper into the world of cider. Motivated by her curiosity, she became the first on her team to pass the CCP 1 exam, thereby setting a precedent and guiding the development of a cider education program at Benny Boy. Currently, she is studying to pass her Certified Pommelier™ exam, demonstrating her commitment to continuous learning in her field. Genevieve is already infusing her creative ideas for new flavor profiles, featuring indigenous fruits and plants, into the team’s work. These ideas hold the potential to inspire new blends with Benny Boy’s beloved Pippin apple cider. As a proud member of the Latino community, she is weaving elements of her heritage into Benny Boy’s offerings and programming, fostering a broader appreciation for cider among diverse audiences.

Javier Naranjo

Javier Naranjo, a seasoned fermentation professional with a BS in Chemistry, began his journey at Flat Rock Cider Company, refining his craft for two transformative years. Transitioning to Oklawaha Brewing Company, where he currently serves as a Brewer, Javier has been part of a dedicated team that achieved notable success. Together, the team has secured prestigious medals from the North Carolina Brewers Guild and the U.S. Open Beer Championship, contributing to the elevated recognition of Hendersonville, NC’s burgeoning brewing scene.

Jonathan A. Osei

Jonathan A. Osei, Manager of Solutions Design & Delivery at Jobs For the Future, blends his Arizona roots and Ghanaian-Black Southern heritage to fuel his passion for community work and craft beverages. His journey in the nonprofit social impact space is intertwined with his love for diverse cultures and flavors.

While studying at Duke University, Jonathan’s interest in the craft beverage scene blossomed, with Durham introducing him to a variety of craft drinks that broadened his palate. This experience sparked a particular fondness for cider, beginning with Bold Rock Cider and later, Bull City Ciderworks.

In Washington, D.C., Jonathan’s enthusiasm led to his role as a DC Brand Ambassador for Artisanal Brewing Ventures, sharing exceptional craft beverages. He is committed to diversifying the craft beer and cider industry, actively promoting local Black brewers through the Black Brew Movement and fostering inclusivity and collaboration. Jonathan’s goal is to enrich the craft beverage culture with diverse flavors and perspectives, bringing people together to enjoy unique and delightful beverages.

José Sabas

José Sabas orginally hails from Coachella, California. He is currently the chef at Grape Ape, a natural wine bar in Portland, Oregon. José just recently started his journey in cidermaking and is focused on low intervention and co-fermentations, using only produce from the Pacific Northwest.

Rae Adams

Rae Adams, from Chicago, IL, moved to Western North Carolina in hopes to work with a farm futuristic enough to be using traditional farming technology without harmful chemicals and pesticides. Entering the professional world directly from a Liberal Arts program, with a concentration in Physics, was an exciting leap into the corporate hustle but was not the card best suited. She has since been a strong part of the Customer Service and Entertainment industries, including management teams of bars, music venues and restaurants in Chicago and Western North Carolina. Currently, Rae is the Director of Sales for Wehrloom Honey & Meadery in Graham County, Robbinsville, NC. The Wehrloom team philosophy is that no one holds any one title; they’re all Beekeepers, Mead Makers, and Packaging and Sales Specialists: Aron, Garret, Ted, Jessica, Gayle, Abby and Anna. Working at Wehrloom is more than a profession, it’s a passion.

Robert Freeman

When Robert Freeman was 18 he got a tattoo on his arm that has an apple in an eye, to signify a promise to himself to always proceed with intention and chosen purpose. All his intents and purposes have led him here. Nowadays, all he sees are apples. He is passionate about the potential and the future of apples and the cider industry in America. Robert currently works at EsoTerra Ciderworks. Getting this opportunity to go to CiderCon®, to become a member of the ACA, and to have the chance to become a Certified Pommelier™ – is a literal dream come true for Robert.

Tasmine Fraser

Tas Fraser is a Canadian cider enthusiast and social media content creator located in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. She is the founder of @girlwithaciderreview on Instagram where she shares her reviews of ciders from around the world. She started her Instagram in 2018 and has since developed many exciting projects. Throughout the pandemic, she created the IGTV show #ciderandlife to showcase local and global cideries making an impact in their communities. In 2021, she launched #noappleogies project to empower and highlight the work of women in cider and tackle issues of sexism and racism in the industry. The movement was intentional, reaching many corners of the world and generating conversation via podcasts, articles, and social media, and including some educational workshops on creating safe spaces in the beverage industry. Tas is currently a part of the CiderScene team and a member of the Cider Canada Board of Directors (and member of the Equity Committee). Outside of cider, she is pursuing her Masters in Social work, and working in the field doing preventative work and supporting survivors of gender-based violence.

William Santiago

Born in Puerto Rico, William Santiago is an award winning bartender currently working at Crafted Concoctions in Tavares, Florida. He has more than 10 years experience in the beverage alcohol industry. He is WSET certified in both Wine and Spirits level 2, a cocktail educator, and a spirit and cider enthusiast. 

CiderCon® 2024 Aims to Tell Cider’s Story

Orchardists and Cidermakers Take Center Stage for Keynote Lineup

Portland, OR (December 14, 2023) – The American Cider Association (ACA) has announced the keynote speaker lineup for CiderCon® 2024, sharing that apple growers and cider producers will deliver opening remarks for the global industry event. This year’s theme, Connecting to Consumers in an Age of Endless Choice, will highlight the important and historic agricultural roots of cider in the US, and around the world. 

“Our aim for the opening session is to celebrate American apple growers as integral members of the US cider supply chain,” says Michelle McGrath, the ACA’s CEO. “Storytelling is increasingly important in today’s consumer packaged goods industry, and cider’s story is deeply rooted in agriculture. The growers are critical to our industry.” 

CiderCon® is the world’s largest professional hard cider conference, and the event welcomes cidermakers, apple growers, and beverage professionals worldwide to gather in Portland, Oregon, from January 17-19, 2024.

To kick-off the event, multigenerational orchardists Kaitlyn Thornton (Tonasket, Washington) and Randy Kiyokawa (Hood River, Oregon), along with cidery owner Lara Worm (Bivouac Cider in San Diego, California), will dig deeper into the theme for this year’s CiderCon®: Connecting to Consumers in an Age of Endless Choice. Following these three mini-presentations, Zoe Licata of Brewbound will host a panel discussion investigating the state of the hard cider industry with a selection of cidery representatives from around the country: Aaron Sarnoff-Wood (2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon), Eleanor Leger (Eden Specialty Ciders, Vermont), Caitlin Braam (Yonder Cider, Washington), Shannon Edgar (Stormalong Cider, Massachusetts), and Casey Baxter (Blake’s Cider, Michigan). McGrath will contribute remarks as well.

The ACA hopes to inspire attendees to hold deeper conversations with fellow conference-goers about how cider can reach new consumers in today’s beverage alcohol environment.

Over three days, CiderCon® attendees can choose from 40 educational sessions about cidermaking and cider business, attend a specialty trade show with over 120 vendors, and sample cider from around the country and the world at the opening reception, called Cider Share

“We’re really excited to host the cider industry in Portland. We know the regional beauty, phenomenal food and plethora of cideries will be remembered by visitors when CiderCon® is over,” says McGrath. “Oregon is true cider country!”

Tickets for CiderCon® are still available through with discounted tickets offered to ACA members. The ACA reports that registration is outpacing all prior years, and they anticipate they will declare the event sold out in early January. The ACA is a 501C(6) nonprofit dedicated to supporting and protecting the U.S. hard cider industry.


Kait Thornton

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. You can find her on Tik Tok and Instagram.

Randy Kiyokawa

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. You can follow Kiyokawa Family Orchards on Instagram.

Lara Worm

Lara Worm, co-founder, CEO, and self-described “Adventure Guide” of Bivouac Ciderworks, has taken an untraditional path to cider. The trial lawyer turned craft beverage entrepreneur who grew up in a multi-generational family restaurant business knows that there are two components to every great product: the ingredients and the story. Bivouac Ciderworks, established in 2017, was among the first commercial cideries in the craft-beer mecca of San Diego. Bivouac, telling their story through their active adventure lifestyle brand, set out to make approachable ciders that taste as great at the top of a mountain as they do with a fine meal. Bivouac’s brand, and North Park tasting room & restaurant has received great acclaim since its inception, earning recognition as one of U.S.A. Today’s “10 Best Cideries,” San Diego Magazine’s “best new brewery,” (before there was a cider category), and “Best ‘Alt-Drink’” (still, no cider category). Most recently, Lara was recognized as a “Food & Beverage Pioneer,” in San Diego, for her work introducing a wider audience to the possibilities in craft cider. In early 2024, Bivouac will open it’s newest concept, the “Adventure Lodge,” with a grand cider tasting bar and market featuring the finest cider from America and around the world. There, guests can enjoy a curated cider tasting program that leans in to the history, education, apple varietals and regions, and tasting notes found in cider. Lara says “cider is as approachable as beer, but as nuanced as wine,” and she intends to prove it. Follow Lara on Instagram.

CiderCon® 2024 Olympic Peninsula Tour

The Olympic Peninsula Tour will take you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Washington State. While enjoying the stunning natural beauty, the rugged mountains, lush rainforests, pristine coastline and orchards, you will visit award winning cideries, an event space, a new cider education facility and spend the night at Fort Worden State Park. Led by Andrew Byers, head cidermaker and co-owner of Finnriver Farm & Cidery, we’ll taste our way across the Peninsula. 

The Locations:

  • Eaglemount Cider’s Palindrome – Eaglemount is located on 12 acres of mixed farm and woodlands known as Arcadia, just outside beautiful Port Townsend in Washington State. We’ll feast together and taste ciders in this historic barn.
  • Alpenfire Cider – Shaped by the maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, Alpenfire Cider creates truly unique ciders from apples grown in their organic orchards.  On the tour, we’ll visit both the cidery and orchard.
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery – Finnriver is an organic farm, orchard and craft cidery located along a salmon stream in the Chimacum Valley on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington— the traditional and contemporary territories of the S’Klallam (Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm̕) and the Chemakum (Aqokúlo or Čə́məq̓əm).
    Craft Brewing & Distilling Center – Part of a community college, the Craft Brewing & Distilling Center (which also teaches cidermaking) exists to build flourishing, connected communities, entrepreneurs, educators, farmers, and cities are convening around growing the craft beer, cider, and spirits movement. Located just outside Olympia, Washington next to the historic Olympia Brewing Company, the tour will stop here to visit the classrooms and labs on our way up to the Peninsula.
  • Fort Worden Historical State Park – Fort Worden State Park and its gorgeous natural setting of Port Townsend is the kind of destination that stays with you forever. Originally designed as a military base to protect Puget Sound, Fort Worden has evolved into an iconic and cherished state park and lifelong learning center.

The tour will depart from the Hyatt Regency – Oregon Convention Center at 12:00 PM on Monday, January 15, 2024 and will return on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 6:00 PM. Dinner on Monday and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday will be provided, as well as accommodations at Fort Worden State Park in historic officers’ rooms, and cider tastings at Eaglemount Cidery, Alpenfire Cider, and Finnriver Farm & Cidery.

Cost: $295

If you’d like to join this tour, be sure to add it on during the registration process. The deadline to be included in this tour is December 11 so we have adequate time to book necessary accommodations.

Check Out the Fun to be Had at the CiderCon® 2024 Trade Show!

The CiderCon® 2024 Trade Show, sponsored by FruitSmart is set to be the best yet! With over 100 vendors already confirmed and more on the way, there will be plenty of chances for you to connect with the companies that have helped your cidery thrive or meet new companies that can help take you to the next level. The CiderCon® Trade Show will be taking place at the Oregon Convention Center on January 18-19, 2024.

But wait, there’s more! Need a pick-me-up? Coffee will be available Thursday and Friday mornings, courtesy of Milne. And when Thursday afternoon rolls around, get ready to cheers with some cider at the Happy Hour sponsored by Hart Print.

But it’s not all about the drinks – there’s plenty of entertainment to go around. Check out the research poster presentations or get competitive with some games of corn hole and ping pong. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, Stern Pinball will have pinball machines available to play.

Now if you’re looking to make a statement, head over to the Ink Bus and get yourself an apple flash tattoo. It’s a fun and unique way to show your love for the fruit that brings us all together.

Don’t forget to stop by the ACA Bookstore to stock up on the latest cider book offerings and to meet our staff and board members. In addition, the TTB staff will be available for one-on-one questions, and folks from CINA will be on hand to provide feedback . With so much to see and do, and more on the way, the CiderCon® Trade Show is not to be missed!

Interested in becoming a CiderCon® vendor? Email our Trade Show Coordinator Ellen for more info!

Certified Pommelier™ Exam at CiderCon® 2024


Are you ready to take the next step in your professional development in the cider industry? 

If you have already passed the Certified Cider Professional Level 1 Certification and are looking for that next challenge? Now is your chance! 

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce a Certified Pommelier™ Exam will be held at CiderCon® 2024 in Portland, Oregon. The exam will take place Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232. Deadline to register is December 18, 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.)


The 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 an in person hand-written exam in two parts: Theory and Sensory. The theory portion of the exam consists of four types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, and essay,  and the sensory portion of the exam is a blind tasting using the ACA’s structured sensory analysis forms. 

*CCP Level 1 is a prerequisite for Certified Pommelier. (Haven’t taken your CCP Level 1? Buy the bundle here.)

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. This exam 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 Theory or only the Sensory 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).  After the 18 month grace period has lapsed, any portions of the exam not passed may be retaken at a 25% discount.


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 2.200 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 $200. 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.  

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.


  • 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 Education Operations Manager Jennie Dorsey at
  • What’s the refund policy? We will refund test takers until 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, sensory exam prep materials will be emailed to you. These prep materials include a sensory form instruction video, sample sensory forms, and blank sensory forms. We strongly suggest you purchase the Certified Pommelier™ Study Guide from Amazon. The study guide will cover all information presented in the theory portion of the exam. 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, there are sensory webinars available for purchase here, and new live sensory analysis webinars will be announced on our certification page.
  • 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.

Cider Is For Everyone Scholarship Application Now Open!

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce the continuation of their Cider Is For Everyone Scholarship program for CiderCon® 2024. This scholarship is designed to bring historically marginalized groups to CiderCon® to increase the accessibility of cider education and jump-start the careers and ownership-pathways of these cider professionals.

The scholarship package includes: registration to CiderCon® 2024 (including travel and lodging) and the entire suite of ACA’s Certified Cider Professional educational programming leading up to sitting for the Certified Pommelier™ exam  (Level 1 CCP training and certification exam, two Certified Pommelier™sensory webinars; the Certified Pommelier™ study guide, and the registration fee for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam).

Applications are now being accepted and the deadline to apply is November 27. Those interested in applying can fill out the application form here. Recipients will be contacted to schedule a brief interview and winners of the scholarship will be notified by December 5. CiderCon® 2024 takes place January 16 – January 19, 2024 in Portland, Oregon

This scholarship is part of a broader effort by the ACA to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the cider industry. In 2019 the ACA launched the Antiracism, Equity and Inclusion committee which recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion as an important and necessary part of present and future successes of the cider industry. This committee structures its work around a belief that existing structures of power, privilege and discrimination must be actively questioned and evaluated in order to create equitable opportunities in an environment that embraces and values our differences. They strive to create events, opportunities and organizational policies that embody these values, and to continue evaluating these practices for sustained growth and improvement.

“This scholarship is one of our best tools for fostering a more diverse cider industry” says Michelle McGrath, CEO of the ACA. “The scholarship needs to work in lock step with our efforts to create a more inclusive industry so that, as we have more diverse CiderCon® attendees, they are surrounded by a welcoming community and equitable environment.”

Meet Our Scholarship Coordinator

Olivia Pener’s passion for food and drink, and the way they bring people together, was ignited as a small child whose large family always gathered over meals in the kitchen. That flame was stoked by her experiences growing up in her family’s restaurant and being surrounded by multicultural foodways in St. Louis, MO. Now, after almost 20 years in the service industry and the nonprofit world, she brings her fervor for people and palates to the American Cider Association as their “Cider is for Everyone” Scholarship Coordinator. A recipient of the scholarship herself, Olivia was welcomed into the world of cider with open arms. She is excited to contribute to the growth and evolution of the cider industry as a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and dynamic environment for all. She lives in Mid-Missouri with her two cats, Felix and Nermal, and her Chihuahua mix, Swiper.

Have questions about the scholarship? Reach out to Olivia with any questions you might have!

CiderCon® 2024 to Be Held in Portland, Oregon

ACA Brings Largest Cider Conference in The World to The “City of Roses”

October 4th, 2023 (Portland, OR) – The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that CiderCon® 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon from January 16-19, 2024. The largest cider conference in the world, CiderCon® 2024 will bring more than 1000 attendees to the city and surrounding areas for tours, tastings, educational workshops, networking opportunities, a trade show and more.

“It’s been eight years since we held CiderCon® here, and we’re thrilled to be back in the City of Roses,” says ACA CEO, Michelle McGrath. “Portlanders drink more cider per capita than any other city, so visiting attendees will feel right at home,” adds McGrath. This year, visiting attendees include Swedish and Norwegian cidermakers who are at the forefront of their own cider renaissance. “There’s a cider revolution going on in the Nordics, so we’re looking forward to sharing their experiences and ciders with attendees.” 

The conference coincides with Oregon Cider Week (January 13-21, 2024), a statewide celebration of cider, featuring events for both aficionados and the cider-curious, hosted by the Northwest Cider Association (NWCA).

The two trade non-profits have been working with teams on the ground in the state of Oregon and beyond to create several tour options for CiderCon® attendees and media, including overnight adventures that explore both Oregon and Washington cidermaking regions. Together, the two states produce about 70% of the country’s apples, and are home to 165 cideries, making the area ripe for sourcing talent for the educational sessions.

A full range of workshop sessions will cover cider production, marketing, sales, branding, sensory evaluation, compliance, business strategy, orcharding and more. The ACA will once again partner with the Cider Institute of North America (CINA) to develop the cider production sessions.

“Despite increasing competition in the beverage alcohol space, cider has maintained its status as a mainstay beverage category, with year after year growth in local and regional cider brands across the country,” says McGrath, referring to cider’s growing popularity nationwide.  In fact, regional and local cider was up 10.4% for the 52 week period ending on September 9th for chain retail measured by NIQ via 3 Tier Beverages. 

The extensive trade show, presented by long standing ACA partner FruitSmart, will feature more than 100 vendors and be held at the Oregon Convention Center, with accommodations and other activities provided at the Hyatt Regency Hotel located just next door.

Tickets to CiderCon® are available now and are $435 for ACA members and $725 for the public, when booked by December 4th. After that date, member registration rates rise to $500 and public tickets go to $800. Ticket price includes the opening general session on Thursday morning, access to educational sessions, networking events, the trade show, and lunch on Thursday and Friday. Bulk pricing is available for groups of 5 or more.

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


Cider Share at CiderCon® 2024

Get ready to raise a glass and toast to the start of CiderCon® 2024! Join us for our beloved welcoming reception, Cider Share, on Wednesday, January 17 from 5:00 to 7:30pm. Sip on some of the finest ciders while mingling with fellow cider folks from around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned cidermaker or a newbie to the industry, the Cider Share reception is the perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and kick off an unforgettable conference.

At Cider Share, attendees will have the chance to sample ciders from a variety of cidermakers from all over. Not only will you get to enjoy a wide variety of flavors and styles, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the ciders from the cidermakers and their staff. Plus, with 600 people in attendance, Cider Share is a great way to connect with other cidermakers from your region and mingle with fellow CiderCon® attendees.

Tickets for Cider Share are only $20, so be sure to add it to your registration process before it’s too late!

And if you’re a cidermaker yourself, consider applying to pour your ciders at Cider Share. Cideries will be chosen through a lottery system, with considerations given to geography and style. Fill out the application form here. Deadline to apply is October 31 or when space has filled up. Two pourers will be allowed per company. All other company employees must purchase tickets to attend Cider Share.