The Beer & Cider Academy has accredited the UK's first pommeliers – or 'cider sommeliers' – as part of a drive to elevate the status of cider and put it on a par with wine or high-quality beer.
Two years in the planning, the pommelier qualification is the first of its kind in the world and is the pinnacle of The Beer & Cider Academy’s roster of cider courses.
‘I’m delighted to see the first four pommeliers qualify,’ said Jerry Avis, CEO of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, home of The Beer & Cider Academy.
‘It’s clear that the range of ciders and perries now available has sparked a demand for people who can speak both with authority and passion about the category. They join our 183 beer sommeliers and we look forward to many more becoming advocates.’
Candidates had to pass three courses and endure a rigorous 90-minute examination, including blind tasting and fault analysis, as well as submit evidence of food-matching prowess and a personal project, designed to demonstrate their understanding of the marketplace, as well as the languages and styles of cider and perry.
‘Today is an incredibly exciting day,’ said Beer & Cider Academy cider director Gabe Cook. ‘The UK, for the first time, has independently certified cider sommeliers – pommeliers.’
Former Imbibe Drinks Educator of the Year Jane Peyton BS was the first pommelier to be accredited. She said that she felt ‘as though the starting pistol has been fired’ in her advocacy of the sector.
‘Anyone who makes, markets and retails cider would benefit from the pommelier training,’ she said. ‘It gives people a deep understanding of all aspects of cider.’
As well as planning to enrol others in his business in the courses, Ostaszewski intends to use his qualification not just in his business, but also to help shift misconceptions. ‘Cider has long been misunderstood as a category,’ he said. ‘It should be considered like a wine or a high quality beer.’