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Certified Cider Professional Program Gains Big with Angry Orchard Graduating Class

Walden, NY—Leading cider company, Angry Orchard, graduated nearly 400 team members, the largest cohort of Certified Cider Professionals (CCPs) ever, last week. The accomplishment brings their total to 496 CCPs. The CCP program is run by the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) and is designed to test students’ knowledge of the often misunderstood alcoholic beverage category of hard cider.

“Angry Orchard is committed to raising awareness of cider and helping grow the industry for all cider makers,” said Angry Orchard Head Cider Maker and USACM Board Member Ryan Burk. “Despite the recent growth of cider in the U.S., the category is still small and relatively unknown, and the CCP program is a huge step towards improving awareness and education. I couldn’t be more excited to have nearly 500 of my teammates as CCPs, working together to grow cider.”

Angry Orchard’s own educator, Eric McCrory, serves as a core member of the CCP program’s working group alongside three other cider professionals—Jennie Dorsey of Schilling Cider House Portland, Brian Rutzen of The Northman, and Darlene Hayes of AllIntoCider.Com. Together, the team has revamped the CCP Level 1 exam to cover 6 categories designed to test the cider knowledge of the service industry, sales representatives, retailers, distributors, bartenders and more. The categories are: apples and the orchard, cider making, flavor and evaluation, cider styles, keeping and serving, and food and cider.

“We applaud Angry Orchard’s commitment to education. It benefits the entire category to have their highly educated team working for cider,” says USACM’s Executive Director, Michelle McGrath.

Other cider companies are also working toward certifying their sales teams, including Leavenworth Cider House (WA), ACE Cider (CA), and Western Cider (MT). ANXO (DC) certified their entire front of house staff last spring and other restaurants—including Solstice Wood Fired Café (OR) and Mabel Gray (MI)—have recently done the same.

“It’s an exciting time for cider. Both cider sales and the CCP program are growing. We’re offering CCP level 2 for the first time in Chicago this February,” said McGrath, “Angry Orchard has been a huge contributor to our growth.”

Angry Orchard’s employees celebrated passing the CCP exam by toasting a special cider created by Burk just for the occasion. The cider, called ‘You Down With CCP?’, was described as a dry unfiltered heritage cider heavy on bittersweet funk and balanced with acidity from Gold Rush and Golden Russet apples.

To learn more about the Certified Cider Professional Exam, visit USACM’s website at www.ciderassociation.org/certification.

About United States Association of Cider Makers: USACM is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. Their mission is to grow a diverse and successful U.S. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources and services to our members and by advocating on their behalf.

About Angry Orchard Cider Company: Angry Orchard Cider Company’s cider makers have been experimenting with apple varieties and unique flavors to develop hard cider recipes for 20 years. The cider makers have travelled the world to find the best apples for cider making and chose specific varieties, like French bittersweet apples from Normandy and culinary apples from Italy and the United States, based on each cider’s flavor profile. In November 2015, Angry Orchard established a home for cider research and development located on a historic apple orchard in the New York Hudson River Valley. In May 2016, Angry Orchard planted three acres of traditional cider-making apples at the Orchard that they will use for research and experimentation at the cidery. Angry Orchard makes a variety of year-round craft cider styles, including Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, a fruit forward hard cider that balances the sweetness of culinary apples with dryness and bright acidity of bittersweet apples for a complex, refreshing taste. Despite the recent growth of hard cider in the U.S., the category is still small and relatively unknown. Angry Orchard is committed to drinker education and awareness-building to help grow the category for all craft cider makers. To learn more, visit www.angryorchard.com.

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