Cider Association releases the first ever Hard Cider Style Guidelines

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Today, October 2nd 2017 the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) has adopted its first-ever set of cider style guidelines, a milestone that will greatly assist in educating both trade and consumers about cider to make better sense of the wide array of ciders found on a store shelf, a menu or in a distributor’s catalogue. Drafted by consensus by the Board of Directors, the USACM style guidelines are available now for free download on the organization’s website.


More from the press release:

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.

The Board used the style guidelines created by GLINTCAP (Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition), considered the industry standard, as their starting point. “We reviewed the most recent GLINTCAP guidelines and made a few changes to cast a slightly wider net,” explained Michelle McGrath, USACM Executive Director. “We wanted to start with a broad foundational language of styles and as the cider industry matures, this living document will grow.”

The guidelines were established to be incorporated into the USACM Certified Cider Professional program, CCP, the first-ever US-based cider accreditation program designed for distributors, servers, retailers and enthusiasts who are interested in becoming bona fide experts on all things cider. The USACM style guidelines are not meant as competition guidelines, although competitions may pick them up for use.

Establishing the style guidelines is the first step of the organization’s greater Lexicon Project, which also includes creating new standards for a cider vocabulary and sweetness scale.  “The Lexicon Project will help us educate consumers and distributors about cider,” explained Trevor Baker, USACM Vice President. “Now we can get down to the fun business of developing cohesive marketing materials for our members as well as enhancing our CCP program materials.”

For more information about the USACM Cider Style Guidelines or to download the guide, please visit the organization’s website at

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About USACM:

The USACM is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. Its mission 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.

USACM’s Board of Directors and Architects of the Style Guidelines: 

Bruce Nissen (LBD Beverage Company), Dan Wilson (Hicks Orchard / Slyboro Cider House), Eleanor Leger (Eden Specialty Ciders), Trevor Baker (Noble Cider), Ryan Burk (Angry Orchard), Paul Vander Heide (Vander Mill Cider), Ben Calvi (Woodchuck Hard Cider), Marcus Robert (Tieton Works Cider), Brian Shanks (Bold Rock Hard Cider), Dan Young (Tandem Ciders) and Eric Foster (Stem Ciders).

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]

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