'Ciderologist' is ICC chairman for 2018

Cider expert Gabe Cook – aka The Ciderologist – has been appointed chairman of the International Cider Challenge.

Cook is a former cidermaker at Westons and a communications officer for Bulmers at Heineken. He was most recently heading up the National Association of Cidermakers’ marketing efforts and now works as a consultant, educator and TV personality.

He will lead a team of judges for next year’s event, which takes place in April 2018.

Cook told DRN: “I am really excited to get involved in this competition and I am keen to take it to a point at which it is seen as the pre-eminent cider competition globally.

“All around the world there is a buzz about cider. I have had the fortune and opportunity to work in the cider industry in New Zealand as well as the UK and I have undertaken work in Australia – there is real global interest. Now is the time for the UK off-trade to capitalise on these curious consumers who want to try new things and who are especially interested in finding products that have authenticity.

“We are lucky that we have a wealth of cider producers in the UK.

“Some might be smaller or newer and may have never had the opportunity for their products to be tried in the UK and I would urge retailers to get out there and seek out those as well as those from overseas.”

Cook added that the awards will be “a fantastic showcase” of the range of UK and global cider producers.

He noted also that he has three main aims in his role with these awards.

“First, I would like to facilitate and enable these slightly smaller producers to participate in the awards.

“Second, I want to try to encourage more international cider producers to enter.

“And third, I want to highlight the real range and depths of different styles.”

Cook said: “In order to do this there will be more categories next year and the categories generally have been more clearly defined.”

The ICC 2018 will be open for entries next month.

For more details visit internationalciderchallenge.com. Judging will take place at the end of April 2018 and the results will be announced in the May 2018 issue of DRN.


The Beer Academy has relaunched itself as the Beer & Cider Academy and will offer courses in cider, created in conjunction with Gabe Cook.

The Academy is currently working with Cook to offer a series of retail and on- trade training courses.

Cook said: “People can name different beers and wines but there aren’t many who can name two types of cider apple. It’s a first step to really embed this knowledge. We want consumers to be informed but if the trade doesn’t know the language of cider then this knowledge isn’t getting out there.”

A foundation course in cider will be held in December and the Academy will launch advanced courses in January.

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