CiderCon, which has taken place in Portland and Chicago in past years, was held for the first time in Baltimore Jan 30-Feb 2. The four-day conference featured workshops, presentations, and tasting events by cider makers, orchardists, and leaders of the cider making industry.
In 2011, CiderCon was formed by a small group of cider makers that gathered in Salem, Oregon to focus on tax issues that were a concern to the industry.
“We are busy cider makers who have come together to create this community,” Michelle McGrath, executive director of the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM), said.
CiderCon offered over 65 sessions focusing on tax and financial information, marketing tools, fermentation management and techniques, tastings from cider makers across the world, and educational sessions such as the Certified Cider Professional program and the Cider Institute of North America. This year, the USACM added networking salons and the heritage track, which focused on specific training for the small orchard based producers.
The conference also took place during the same week as the first annual Cider Week Baltimore. Cider Week Baltimore was organized by the USACM along with cider makers, restaurants and taverns from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington DC and New York. Thousands of attendees celebrated cider at bars and restaurants around Baltimore that featured over three-dozen events that included tap takeovers, tastings, and dinners.
The USACM are already working on new additions and improvements to CiderCon 2019, scheduled for Chicago.
“We’ve always received feedback that people need more opportunities for networking at CiderCon,” McGrath said. “I just spoke with Canadians that want to add a networking component for them because they see our conference as the Mecca, and they come every year more and more numbers, but they need a way to meet each other in the beginning.”
The United States Association of Cider Makers is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. USACM 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.
Photo credit: @EricLewandowski