While the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has long recognized cider in its style guidelines and competition materials, it has not been a subject covered by the BJCP Exam. The existing BJCP rank structure doesn’t provide much help, either. A high rank indicates that the judge understands how to formally evaluate beer, but doesn’t provide any information about the judge’s knowledge of cider. The Cider Judge certification is designed to fill these gaps as well as:
- Focus on improvement of critiquing, ability to evaluate, and properly communicate cider sampling experience.
- Provide constructive feedback to the cider maker, but not an attempt to solve issues or perceived flaws.
- Build knowledge of cider styles and sensory perception.
- Generally raise the awareness and skill level of those who judge cider.
The BJCP Board approved a proposal to create a Cider Judge Certification in March 2006. The first Cider Judging Exam pilot was given in Grand Rapids, MI in 2014 at the NHC conference. Feedback from that exam was then incorporated into additional Judging Exam pilots in San Diego (2015 NHC) and Baltimore (2016 NHC). Results of those pilots were then used to adjust the program, and to determine what information was most needed by examinees and graders.