ABOUT THE NW CIDER CUP
Founded a decade ago by regional cider makers, the Northwest Cider Cup (formerly Portland International Cider Cup) is a prestigious award that celebrates the most outstanding ciders in one of the strongest cider regions in the country.
The cup has become most rigorous cider competition on the United States, inspiring quality, providing constructive feedback to cidermakers, educating cider drinkers, and amplifying the category.
Judges are industry professionals who undergo in-depth training to thoughtfully review key elements — appearance, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel — in order to identify exemplary ciders in each of the categories. As a part of the competition, each cider receives invaluable written feedbackfrom industry professionals, which helps cidermakers improve the quality of their ciders for years to come. PLUS, winners get dedicated media attention through paid ads and media pitches conducted by the NWCA.
The 2023 NW Cider Cup is presented by Wyeast Laboratories.
Entries Closed May 15, 2023!
Northwest Cider Cup History
NWCC was started in 2012 by four Washington and Oregon cidermakers and named after the city where they decided to host the competition.
It was started because those 4 cidermakers felt other competitions were designed for marketing and participation awards rather than seeking quality samples.
The purpose for starting the NWCC was two fold. First, to give blind, professional opinions to commercial cidermakers in the Pacific Northwest. Cidermakers rely on the NWCC for critical peer review whether or not their cider wins an award. Judges keep extensive notes that are provided to the cidermakers after the competition (notes on flaws, imbalances, highlights, tasting notes, etc). There is nowhere else craft cidermakers can get feedback / market research like this. Second, founders of the NWCC sought to keep “flawed” ciders out of the marketplace. Buyers and consumers tend to know when the bottle of wine they just opened is corked and it does not affect their willingness to buy more wine. However, cider is such a new category, buyers and consumers do not generally have the experience to know what is “flawed.” If they taste a flawed cider it affects future purchases and perceptions of the whole cider category, not just that one brand or vintage of cider. In the Northwest we see most flawed cider that makes it to market was fermented by a new cidery so the NWCC incentivizes new cideries (with a $500 cash prize) to participate and get feedback.
NWCC has evolved as the cider industry has matured and has been managed by the NWCA since 2012. Now, going into our 10th year, the Northwest Cider Cup has become known within the industry as the premiere competition for picking quality ciders rather than a participation award for marketing purposes.In the past decade, the NWCA has facilitated industry to develop standards for each cider category (styles such as Low Tannin, High Tannin, Single Varietal, Botanical, Fruit, and more) and then trained upwards of 1000 buyers, influencers and industry professionals to understand what makes a great cider in each category. Ciders are judged by trained industry experts looking for both flaws and dimensions of quality (such as aroma, color, taste, etc.) for different cider styles.
The competition is strict and not all categories take medals if judges determine the quality is not present. NWCC is internationally renowned for distinguishing cider categories as well as educating judges with a consistent lexicon for describing craft cider characteristics. For these reasons, the NWCC award designation has earned a reputation as being a mark of distinction for selecting the best quality ciders.