The first course during CiderCon focused on introducing attendees to the Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program. CCP is the first-ever cider accreditation program designed by the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM). Similarly to the Cicerone® Certification or Sommelier Certification, CCP is a program designed for individuals in the industry who are interested in becoming bona fide experts in the cider industry.
The online exam is composed of 60 questions divided in five categories: apples, processing, fermentation, taste and style, and history. The exam also focuses on cider styles, specifically USACM’s first-ever cider style guide, which was recently republished to include Heritage Ciders.
“I see the US cider market segmenting and that segmentation leading to growth. The acceptance of the word Heritage Cider is helping develop some of that, and our style guide will further facilitate that,” Michelle McGrath, executive director of the USACM, said. “Styles will help cider, encouraging consumers to understand that it’s not just cider. There is a vast category with differentiation in it.”
The style guide was drafted by the Board of Directors and divided into two categories: Standard and Specialty. The guidelines span 10 styles overall including Modern Ciders, Heritage Ciders, Modern Perries, Heritage Perries, Fruit Ciders, Hopped Ciders, Spiced Ciders, Wood-Aged Ciders, Sour Ciders, and Ice Cider.
“It’s important to acknowledge that this [style guide] is a living document,” Paul Vander Heide, USACM board member and owner of Vander Mill Cider, said. “The cider industry is changing rapidly, and we’re continuing to work on it as we grow.”