For nine straight years, the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) has been holding an annual trade conference for the existing, and budding, cider industry and community. Affectionately known as CiderCon, the 2019 conference, held in Chicago last week, brought in the largest attendance the show has seen in three years, with 44 states and 10 countries represented, totaling in 1,087 attendees.
Per usual, the largest apple-growing and cider-producing states brought the bulk of the conference-goers, with cider folks flying in from Michigan, New York, California, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon the most. Cideries — currently licensed and those exploring the idea or in the process — from Canada, Korea, Ireland, Japan, Holland, Spain, Luxembourg, Russia and the United Kingdom also showed national cider pride by attending.
USACM tested out its Certified Pommelier exam at the conference, an advanced, second-level designation of its Certified Cider Professional program. Geared toward cider servers, 30 people were in the initial Certified Pommelier exam cohort, with certification passage to be announced later this month. The Pomme Boots Society also held its first annual meeting at CiderCon 2019, bringing out nearly 100 women (and men) in cider to “support a positive network connections, education and professional development” for women in the industry. Read how the society got its start here.
Workshops and sessions for the cider trade ranged from topics like overcoming legal hurdles for consumer sales and cultivating wild apples to understanding natural cider, modern cider trends and carbonation. An emphasis was also put on showcasing and educating on international styles like sidra, still and ice cider.
At the opening session for all attendees, Nielsen Data hosted its usually update of statistics, many with encouraging results for cider moving forward.
Here’s a few we dropped onto our Twitter feed during CiderCon 2019.
- Did you know cider is 10 times bigger today than it was 10 years ago? Cider grew faster than beer, wine and spirits off-premise (retail) in 2018, too.
- The American consumer is drinking “better” (though not a lot more), mindfully and sharing. And, finally, combining drink and food together for occasions.
- Cider is once again gender neutral, with consumers 50 percent male, 50 percent female.
- Roughly 40 percent of cider drinkers are 21-29 years old.
- Cider led the way in 2018 with growth in the alcoholic beverage market with an increase of 8.4 percent.
- Nationally distributed brands of cider were led in retail growth by rosé cider.
- Regional/local growth took up the remaining two-thirds of growth in the market. Most of which came from the Midwest and Southeast.
- Much of cider consumed in restaurants and bars is citrus-, stone fruit- or fruit-infused cider.
- Cider is 4.5 times larger than flavored malt beverages in restaurants and bars.
- Cider drinker spend more in restaurants and bars.
- 22 percent of cocktail drinkers drink cider cocktails.
Destination 2020? Oakland, California, to take place Jan. 29-31 at the West Coast culinary hub.