The Heroes of American Hard Cider

As cider-loving consumers sip up the increasing variety of ciders and as cidermakers celebrate consumers’ enthusiasm, the cider trade is gathered in Chicago to not only assess how they can continue to make cider drinkers happy, but to also recognize those people who have been instrumental in helping expand the hard cider category.

That recognition was formalized at the inaugural Cider Industry Awards, presented by the United States Cider Makers Association at a lunch held at CiderCon, the industry’s premier event happening in Chicago.

In a room of nearly 300 cidermakers, orchardists and associated cider folk, the USCMA honored:

Author Ben Watson
Promoter Alan Shapiro
Educator & Consultant Peter Mitchel.

WatsonCiderBen Watson is better described as an inspiration, rather than an author. His book Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own” has been the primary, the most influential, and the most inspirational manual for cider makers and cider enthusiasts who went on to both appreciate and produce hard cider. In addition, he is the founder of America’s longest running cider Festival, The Franklin County Cider Days in Massachusetts.


ShapiroSummitAlan Shapiro first brought cider to the U.S. Today he is bringing cider to the people. Formerly a successful importer of English hard cider, Shapiro walked away from that career and began what are now America’s most successful public cider tastings: The Cider Summits. The first Cider Summit in Seattle in 2010 drew 400 people. The Cider Summit set for Saturday February 7 in Chicago will draw more than 4,500 cider enthusiasts. Today, Shapiro’s Cider Summits happen annually in Seattle, Portland, Chicago and San Francisco and are one of the best opportunities cidermakers and cider enthusiasts have to come face to face.

Peter Mitchell
MItchelciderFor more than 30 years, Peter Mitchell has been teaching cidermakers around the world how to make cider, how to design and  launch a cidery and how to sell the cider they make there. And Mitchell has been instrumental in helping numerous American cidermakers get their dream off the ground. Through his Cider & Perry Academy in the UK as well as his seminars and classes here in the United States, Mitchell has been partly responsible for the creation of so much delicious cider made around the world as well as in the United States.


2 Responses to “The Heroes of American Hard Cider”

  1. Ben Watson

    I’m humbled and very thankful to the USACM for giving me one of these industry awards. However, I should point out that I am only one of many volunteers who organize Cider Days each year. And I was not one of the founders — that honor really goes to the late Terry Maloney and his wife Judith of West County Cider and a few other people like Chef Paul Correnty and Charlie Olchowski.

  2. TJ Callahan

    If you get a chance, come try our new “Tell William” cider at Farmhouse Taverns in Chicago and Evanston. Made from 100% organic apples from the Cider Farm in Mineral Point WI, fermented for us by Fox Valley Winery in Oswego, IL. The Cider Farm is a beautiful cider orchard in the driftless region of Wisconsin.

    The cider is about 35% true English cider apples, (Brown’s Apple, Ellis Bitter and Chisel Jersey), lightly effervescent, 6.5% alcohol, blended with Liberty apples. It’s available only on draft at Farmhouse Taverns!

    Farmhouse Taverns are Midwestern craft taverns, focused on craft beer, cider, spirits and wines from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Are food is locally sourced to the greatest extent possible and based on the culinary heritage of the Midwest..


    TJ Callahan
    Co-owner, Farmhouse Taverns

    The website section above wouldn’t take my website for some reason; it’s


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>