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ACA rolls out professional cider certification globally

The American Cider Association (ACA) has expanded its beverage professional education and certification initiative to the global cider community.


The Certified Cider Professional program, which was launched at CiderCon 2016 with a particular focus on the US, has since has developed and revised study to make it now applicable to anywhere in the world that cider is made and sold.

ACA Education operations manager Jennie Dorsey said: “We have been getting an increasing number of inquiries about the CCP program from all over the world. A number of candidates for the second level of certification, Certified Pommelier, have even made a trip to the US just to sit for the exam, so clearly there is an unmet need out there and
no other comparable education program available.”

Award winning educator and global cider expert Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist. who has joined forces with the ACA to assist in the expansion, explained: “Now is the time for a unified education program that is applicable and open to anyone and everyone from Seattle to Somerset to Sydney. It is a true reflection of the globalisation of cider and indicative of this being an incredibly exciting time for cider.”

Additional updates geared toward growth of the certification initiative include CCP branding as well as the ACA newly retitled CCP’s introductory level to “Certified Cider Guide,” and has updated the CCP branding to better distinguish the two offered CCP levels – Certified Cider Guide and Certified Pommelier.

The first international in-person Certified Cider Guide training workshop and exam was held in Melbourne, Australia in the fall of 2023 with the support of Cider Australia. The exam took place following the Australian Cider Awards and 10 individuals earned the title of Certified Cider Guide. Additional in-person classes and exams are planned for Europe in the coming months. On-demand virtual training and Certified Cider Guide exams are also available at any time.

The inaugural international Certified Pommelier exam is scheduled to be held in April 2024 to coincide with the Cider World event in Frankfurt, Germany. To earn their title, Certified Pommeliers are rigorously tested on their cider knowledge with a written theory exam and a sensory evaluation exam.

ACA’s CEO Michelle McGrath added: “We are very confident in our educational programming, and these recent steps will help us reach more US beverage professionals as well as international ones. Gabe Cook is uniquely suited to help us grow the program overseas, and we’re really excited about the partnership. He works tirelessly for the cider category.”

At present, there are 2,480 Certified Cider Guides and 97 Certified Pommeliers showing that cider is gaining more interest and a more solid foothold within the drinks industry. In fact, quality cider is now being treated with the same reverence as wine in fine dining establishments and cider is largely seeing greater presence all year round, especially craft ciders, modern ciders and those that offer discernment.

Reflecting this trend, the global cider industry is projected to reach US$26.21 billion by 2031, according to a report published by Allied Market Research, illustrating the headroom available within the sector.

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