U.S. Cider Association Releases First-Ever Style Guidelines

The United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) has adopted its first-ever set of cider style guidelines.

The group believes this is 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 distributors’ catalogue.”

Drafted by consensus by the association’s board of directors, the USACM style guidelines are available now for free to download on the organization’s website.

Divided into two categories, Standard and Specialty, the guidelines span 10 styles overall: 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 style guidelines created by the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), considered industry standard, as their starting point. “We reviewed the most recent GLINTCAP guidelines and made a few changes to cast a slightly wider net,” says 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, a U.S.-based cider accreditation program designed for distributors, servers, retailers and enthusiasts who want to become experts in all things cider.

The USACM style guidelines are not meant as competition guidelines, although competitions may pick them up for use, the association says. 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.

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