America’s hard cider makers are banding together.
A group of cider makers meeting last week in Chicago announced the formation of the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM)
The group’s mission, according to a statement, is to gather and share information about cider and perry production, regulations concerning the production of hard cider and perry (pear cider), 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.
The association’s formation comes as U.S. sales of hard cider are exploding, growing at double-digit annual rates and cider makers are attempting to obtain federal standards for cider making
Brad Page, founder and owner of the Denver-based Colorado Cider Co., says about 100 cider making companies attended the industry conference at which the association was established, “I’d think there might be upwards of 150 and growing fast,” he added in a email.
In addition to Page, the association’s inaugural board of directors, which reflects the industry’s diversity of regional distribution, production volume, and growth, include:
- Steve Wood, proprietor of Farnum Hill Ciders, Lebanon, N.H.
- Mike Beck, co-owner and cider maker at Uncle John’s Cider Mill, St. Johns, Mich.
- Dan Rowell, Vermont CFO/VP operations, Vermont Hard Cider Co., Middlebury, Vt.
- Robert Vail, director, Angry Orchard/Boston Beer Co., Boston, Mass.
- James Kohn, co-owner Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, Salem, Ore.
- Charlotte Shelton, co-owner Albemarle Cider Works, N. Garden, VA.
Greg Hall, co-founder and former brewmaster at Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. and now the owner of Chicago-based Virtue Cider, said in a statement: “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. There are so many similarities between cider now and craft beer in the 80s, beginning with the passion of the people leading this effort.”
The meeting to form this new organization preceded the annual CiderCon industry trade show in Chicago and Cider Summit, a consumer tasting event.