5 Actionable Strategies to Create a More Profitable Taproom Webinar

In this rapid fire session, the American Cider Association is excited to introduce you to Andrew Coplon and Kary Shumway (Taproom Success). Over just 30 minutes, you will walk away with actionable strategies you can put in place to see greater success in your taproom. Join Andrew & Kary for proven methods to build deeper relationships with guests, increase revenue, and have better financial control. Numbers can be fun! Andrew and Kary will be joined by Megan MacLean (Director of Hospitality at Artifact Cider Project) to share their success from these strategies. Get excited for this pre-CiderCon® webinar and then sign up for the half-day course at CiderCon® 2023.

Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Two Broads Ciderworks

Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar featuring cider from Two Broads Ciderworks on December 8 from 4-6pm Pacific. This will be your last chance to participate in a live sensory analysis webinar prior to the Certified Pommelier™ exam at CiderCon® 2023, so sign up now!

This webinar is also available to rewatch and practice as a prerecorded event.

Order cider to participate along with the webinar here. Please make sure the ciders can be shipped to your state before registering for this event.

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.

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.

Live Sensory Analysis Webinar with Ploughman’s Cider

Looking to up your sensory analysis skills? Studying for the Certified Pommelier™ Exam at CiderCon® 2023? Join our Certified Pommelier™ panel in a live practice sensory webinar featuring cider from Ploughman’s Cider on November 17 from 4-6pm Pacific. Cost to attend the workshop is $15 for ACA members and $30 for non-members.

This webinar will also be available to rewatch and practice as a prerecorded event.

Ploughman’s has generously created a limited time Sensory Analysis Bundle for this webinar. You can purchase the cider bundle here.

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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Third Exam of 2022 Welcomes Eight New Certified Pommeliers™

The American Cider Association announced on September 15, 2022 that they awarded eight new beverage professionals with the esteemed title of Certified Pommelier™. The new cohort passed the required exam on August 18 at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House in Walden, New York. The new Certified Pommeliers™ are from New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Russia. From New York are Elissa Booth, Joe Gaynor, and Matt Wynkoop of Angry Orchard; Paige Flori of Boutique Wines, Spirits and Cider; Meredith Collins of the blog Along Came A Cider,; and currently residing in New York–cider enthusiast Marina Borsalina from Russia. From Virginia is Joshua Corl of Back Bay’s Farmhouse Brewery, and from North Carolina is cider enthusiast Adam Snyder.

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.

“At the center of what we do at Angry Orchard is innovation, and education is at its core. We were thrilled to host a Certified Pommelier™ exam on the East coast and give more industry members the opportunity to advance their education,” says Will Loughlin, Certified Pommelier™ and Assistant Cidermaker at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House. “We see the Pommelier certification as an excellent tool to highlight exceptional individuals, as well as the cider industry as a whole. We’re thrilled to see interest in the exam growing and gaining more standing alongside wine and beer programs.”

The American Cider Association established its Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program in 2016 to educate those on the front-line of cider sales. The program began with a Level 1 certification to help those in the  industry develop a fundamental understanding of cider. Recently, the ACA was pleased to celebrate 2000 Certified Cider Professionals

The Certified Pommelier™ certification was developed to move beyond a fundamental understanding and to encourage cider professionals to think critically while demonstrating a higher understanding of the elements of cider. The rigorous test consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). 

“The Certified Pommelier™ exam is designed to be challenging, ” says Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the ACA. “However, accessibility remains important. We’re rolling out more and more study aids in 2022, with a book on the horizon.” 

The next Certified Pommelier™ exam is planned for February 1, 2023 at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. You can learn more and register for the exam at CiderCon® 2023 on the ACA website.

The ACA asks that you contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey if you have questions about the program or are interested in taking either the Level 1 Certified Cider Professional test or the Certified Pommelier™ exam. You can also learn more at https://ciderassociation.org/certification

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ACA Celebrates 2000 Certified Cider Professionals

Cider can be a misunderstood beverage and with its increasing popularity in the United States the American Cider Association felt it was vital to create an education based program that would help those who work on the front line of cider sales speak in a knowledgeable manner about the ciders they’re selling, serving, and supporting. Thus, in 2016 the American Cider Association founded the Certified Cider Professional program (CCP) to educate those in retail and trade about cider. The success of the program is in the numbers. In just six years, 2000 people have become Certified Cider Professionals.

“We couldn’t be more delighted that 2000 have chosen to become Certified Cider Professionals,” says ACA Executive Director Michelle McGrath, “Reaching tastemakers and influencers is part of our broader strategy to increase cider sales and we look forward to watching the ranks of Certified Cider Professionals continue to grow.”

The ACA has continued to improve the CCP program since its inception and now offers a bundle package for those interested in becoming Certified Cider Professionals. The bundle includes a full study guide, an on-demand webinar, and access to the online 60 question exam. There are bulk discounts available for those wishing to get their staff certified and discounted pricing available to ACA members.

In addition, the ACA has developed a second tier Certified Pommelier™ designation. 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. In order to become a Certified Pommelier™ candidates must sit for an in person exam that consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). So far, 38 people have passed the rigorous exam and you can get to know them on the Certified Pommelier™ page.

To learn more about the Certified Cider Professional program you can head to the Certification page of the ACA website. For more information about the program, bulk discounts, and member discounts contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey.