Registration is now open for CiderCon 2018, to be held January 31 – February 2, 2018 at the Waterfront Marriott in Baltimore, Maryland. CiderCon is the premier annual opportunity for the cider community to gather, share ideas, collaborate and learn. For the first time in its seven-year history, the annual CiderCon conference of the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) will feature a schedule of panels and presentations focused on Heritage Ciders, which are ciders made from apples that are grown specifically for cider making, including bittersweet and crabapples, using a vintage winemaking approach. Heritage cider has emerged as an exciting new growth category in the cider marketplace.
“The cider market has been evolving rapidly over the past 10 years,” says Eleanor Leger, a USACM board member and founder and co-owner of Eden Specialty Ciders, a producer of heritage ciders in Newport, Vermont. “The number and quality of producers making heritage ciders has reached critical mass, and the category is ready to come into its own. Cider is a diverse beverage, almost as diverse as wine. It’s exciting to see different kinds of ciders being appreciated as people get to know them.”
“Because of the price of their ingredients, heritage ciders are expensive to produce, and the taste has to justify the higher price,” Leger continues. “At CiderCon 2018, producers of heritage ciders will have a great opportunity to hone their craft and learn interesting new techniques as they meet and compare notes about this exciting cider category.”
CiderCon participants will have an opportunity to learn from many of the leaders in the emerging heritage cider marketplace. Confirmed speakers include Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, VA, who will keynote the event with a presentation entitled Heritage Ciders – Keys to Success in the Next Cider Growth Category. Diane is a 2017 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional. Here’s a look at some of the other Heritage Cider panels and presentations that are planned:
- Holistic Orchard Management
- Growing Bittersweet Apple Varieties for Cider: Practices and Terroir
- Cidermaking with Heirloom and Bittersweet Varieties
- Champagne Method Cider panel with cider tasting
- Heritage Cider Options – Wild Ferments, Barrels and More panel with cider tasting
- Cidernomics for Start-up and Small Scale Cideries
- Production Hacks for Heritage Cider Makers group networking discussions
- Heritage Ciders on the Menu panel of chefs and restaurant operators.
Additionally, heritage ciders will be highlighted as part of a tour of cideries and restaurants in the Beltway area.
Other CiderCon 2018 Activities
In addition to the Heritage Cider track, the education and training program of CiderCon 2018 will be packed with other information rich sessions, including a full day of cider training for distributors. This session will cover the content needed to pass the Level One of the Certified Cider Professional (CCP) exam. The CCP program is the industry’s first cider accreditation program designed for distributors, servers and others who are interested in becoming bonafide experts on all things cider.
For the first time this year, CiderCon will feature a panel discussing the potential impact of climate change on the cider industry. This panel features some of cider’s best known orchardists including Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider, Virginia; Jim Koan, JK’s Farmhouse Ciders, Michigan; Ian Merwin, Black Diamond Cider, New York; Greg Peck, Pomologist, Cornell; Alex Peckham, Peckham’s Ciders, New Zealand; Marcus Robert, Tieton Cider Works, Washington State; and Steve Wood, Farnum Hill Cider, New Hampshire.
Other planned activities at CiderCon 2018 include:
- Industry Research: USACM has entered into a partnership with Nielsen, the global performance management company that provides research into what consumers watch and buy, to collect cider marketing data as a benefit to USACM members. Nielsen’s presentation at CiderCon 2017 created a buzz in the industry because its data showed continued strong growth among craft/local cider companies not attached to larger beer companies. Nielsen analysts will present an update and deliver a white-paper on Cider Trends as featured speakers at CiderCon 2018.
- Cider and Food Tastings. Each year at CiderCon, USACM invites a select few cider makers from a different country to share their traditions and cider with CiderCon attendees. Cider makers from France were the guests of honor at CiderCon 2017. USACM plans to invite cider makers from New Zealand to join them in Baltimore for CiderCon 2018.
For further details and to register for CiderCon 2018, please visit bit.ly/2iopruf.
The United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. It gathers and shares information about cider production, regulations and cider apple growing to help members improve their operations, raise awareness and advance cider in the market. The mission of USACM is to grow a diverse and successful U.S. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources and services to its members and by advocating on their behalf. For more information, please visit http://www.ciderassociation.org/.