Hard Cider Association Releases Style Guidelines

Hard Cider Association Releases Style Guidelines

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.


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,” explains 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 USACM’s Certified Cider Professional program, CCP, the first-ever U.S.-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.”