Hard Cider Newsletter


Publisher’s Note:
As the cider industry continues to grow, so does the available resources to help producers keep up with best practices, change legislation, and make great products. I’m very pleased to bring you this special edition of Hard Cider News to announce the most recent developments out of Chicago. I’ve been on-location attending CiderCon and will be attending Cider Summit this weekend; I can’t wait to bring you a wrap-up of both. However, I couldn’t wait to congratulate the industry on forming the US Association of Cider Makers – applause all around!
Warm regards,
Andy Calimano

With Sold Out CiderCon Comes the Formation of the US Association of Cider Makers

The United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) was formed this past Wednesday, February 6, with the broad input of industry producers, stakeholders, and constituents from around the country. The group’s mission is to gather and share information about cider and perry production, regulations concerning the production of hard cider and perry, and pear and apple growing; as well as to help members improve their operations, raise the public’s awareness of the products produced by its members, and promote the interests of the cider and perry producers in the United States.

Michigan producer Greg Hall of Virtue Cider is a charter member of the group, and is excited about the growth of the cider industry and the direction of this new organization. “I started out in the craft beer industry in the 1980s, and as a craft brewer for 25 years it is thrilling to be here at the dawn of the USACM”, says Hall. “There are so many similarities between cider now and craft beer in the 80s, beginning with the passion of the people leading this effort.”

USACM is pleased to announce its inaugural Board of Directors which reflects the industry’s diversity of regional distribution, production volume, and growth: Steve Wood of Farnum Hill Ciders, New Hampshire; Brad Page of Colorado Cider Company, Colorado; Mike Beck of Uncle John’s Cider Mill, Michigan; Dan Rowell of Vermont Hard Cider, Vermont; Robert Vail of Angry Orchard, Massachusetts; James Kohn of Wandering Aengus, Oregon; and Charlotte Shelton of Albemarle Cider Works, Virginia.

The meeting to form this new organization preceded the annual CiderCon event in Chicago, a two-day industry event that brought together the commercial cider community to network, share information, gain timely information and education, and taste new products and pairing combinations. CiderCon is organized by Wandering Aengus and held annually for the industry to address two reasons: 1) to bring together all licensed cider producers to change the current US cider regulations to ensure no regulatory interruption to cider's continued growth in the US, and 2) to exchange ideas on practices, innovations, and trends to provide the foundation of a strong and diverse industry. Please visit CiderConference.com for more information. This year’s CiderCon was completely sold-out! February’s Hard Cider News issue will include a recap of the conference.


Cider Summit Chicago Tomorrow! The Region’s Largest Cider Tasting Comes to Navy Pier

SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective announced in January the expansion of their successful Cider Summit festival to Chicago, IL.  The inaugural Chicago event will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 11am-7pm in the Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier. The event will benefit The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, WBEZ Public Radio, and Heartland Alliance.

Cider owners and makers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings which will be available in 3-ounce and 6-ounce portions. Cider Summit will feature over 60 ciders from throughout the U.S., England, Scotland, France, Spain, and even New Zealand. The event selections are posted at CiderSummit.com. The event will also feature specially selected food pairings from Fortune Gourmet.

Tickets are still available and can be bought for $20 in advance and $25 (cash only) at the door. To purchase your tickets in advance, you can do so online through Brown Paper Tickets or in-person at the Hotel Palomar concierge desk. Admission includes a tasting glass and 10 drink tickets.  Additional drink tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. The event is 21 and over only.

SBS & Seattle Beer Collective have previously produced five Cider Summits in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.   "We believe we've created a unique event concept and are excited to bring this to Chicago," noted event co-founder Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports. "We have assembled a terrific range of ciders and this will be a great sampling opportunity for both cider lovers and the cider curious."

For those seeking to utilize public transportation, Chicago Brew Bus will provide shuttle service starting at 10:30am between the Blue Line Grand stop, Red Line Grand-State stop, and Navy Pier throughout the day. CTA buses also run directly to Navy Pier.  Onsite parking is available in the Navy Pier garages.


The Pro-Am Event for Apple and Pear Fermentations: Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition – It’s Coming!

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, a non-profit organization formed to showcase and promote the art of apple and pear fermented beverages and provide related educational opportunities, is pleased to announce their annual “Call for Entries” for the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition (GLINTCAP). The competition will be held on March 23-24, 2013. Online entry and registration will open on February 22nd and close on March 11th. All entries must be received at the ship-to/drop-off location no later than 5pm on Friday, March 15th. Entrants are encouraged to read all of the entry information in advance to familiarize themselves with entry categories.

This unique competition includes categories for both commercial producers (holding applicable licenses to produce the fermented and/or distilled beverages entered) and non-commercial producers (home hobbyists and non-fermenting commercial establishments like cider mills). Fermented products of all kinds are welcome: cider, perry, meads, beers and commercial distillates, provided that they are made with apples and/or pears.

All judging will be conducted using “blind” panels. Each entry will be identified by a registration number and judges will see only that number along with important information needed to properly evaluate the entry, such as style, level of carbonation, level of sweetness, and any special ingredients or process used in production. Judges will be a combination of experienced Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges, experienced non-BJCP judges, industry professionals, and media. Celebrity Judges for this year include the following among others:

  • Ben Watson, Author of Cider, Hard & Sweet: History, Traditions & Making Your Own

  • Dick Dunn, Editor of Cider Digest and Principal Author of the current BJCP cider guidelines

  • David White, President of the North West Cider Association and Author of the Old Time Cider blog

  • Nick Bradstock, Former Cider Maker at Taunton Cider (England) and current board member of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) and the European Cider & Fruit Wine Association (AICV)

  • Nicole Leibon, Cider Maker of Farnum Hill Ciders in New Hampshire

  • Eduardo Coto, Writer for two Spanish cider magazines, La Sidra and Vivir La Sidra, the Spanish blog El Blog de la Sidra and the German blog Apfelwein Blog

Entries may be dropped off or shipped to Sietsema’s Orchard Cider Mill located at 8540 2 Mile Road, Ada, MI, 49301 to the attention of “GLINT Cider & Perry Competition.” You can contact the cider mill by phone at 616-676-5584 or email Info@SietsemaOrchards.com. Remember that entries will be accepted beginning February 22nd through March 11th. All entries must be received no later than March 15th. Online competition registration is coming soon! For detailed information about the style guidelines, BJCP sanctioned competitions, and the evaluation forms used by judges in the competition you are encouraged to visit BJCP.org.

Judging will commence on March 24th at 10:00AM in the Kent Room at the Grand Rapid’s Downtown Courtyard by Marriott. A dinner and announcement of awards will follow.

As in past years, GLINTCAP will host a Judges Training Seminar, a special educational opportunity that will focus on cider styles, structural elements and faults. The seminar will be conducted by award-winning cider makers Gary Awdey and Charles McGonegal with Dick Dunn, administrator of the Cider Digest and principal author of the current BJCP cider style guidelines. The seminar will be made available at no charge to GLINTCAP judges and stewards and will not be open to the general public. It will take place on Saturday, March 23, the day prior to judging, in the Ottawa Room of the Grand Rapid’s Downtown Courtyard by Marriott from 12PM-8PM with a planned meal break from 4PM-6PM. Seating is limited and available only via RSVP to Rex Halfpenny at MIBeerGuyd@aol.com.