USACM Hires Executive Director Michelle McGrath takes the lead at Cider Association The United States Association of Cider Makers announces Michelle McGrath as Executive Director.
“This is an exciting time to be a member of the cider community. The industry as a whole is growing and diversifying rapidly. Cider is available in more and more places throughout the country every day, and it is the fastest growing sector of the beverage industry. I’m thrilled to be jumping in at this point in cider’s trajectory–we’re going up!”
Michelle is the former Executive Director of Gorge Grown Food Network, a non-profit with a mission to build a thriving local food system for the two-state, five-county region known as the Columbia River Gorge. During her time with GGFN, Michelle worked closely with hundreds of consumers, orchardists, ranchers, farmers, chefs and value-added producers to seek shared solutions to barriers impeding market success and to encourage farmer collaboration throughout the region. She oversaw the completion of a regional value-added needs assessment, expanded training resources for fledgling value-added producers and coordinated educational producer conferences and workshops. After leaving GGFN, McGrath worked for the Oregon Environmental Council as the Grassroots Engagement & Membership Director. McGrath holds a Master of Science degree from University of California, San Diego, and a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University. Prior to GGFN, McGrath was a research biologist intrigued by the complexity of sustainable seafood. She lives in Portland, Oregon. USACM Board of Directors President, Mike Beck of Uncle John’s Hard Cider, says, “We are thrilled to have Michelle as our first Executive Director and are confident she will be a great fit and be instrumental in helping grow and lead the organization into the future.”
“The United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) was founded by cider makers for cider makers. They are committed to growing the industry and helping cider professionals get the resources they need to be successful. In 2015, USACM ushered the passage of the CIDER Act, helping to level the playing field for cider and perry, and they launched the Cider Certification Program, creating a standardized means to educate enthusiasts and professionals about all that cider offers. These are important accomplishments for the cider community, and these early successes are part of why I am so excited to work with USACM. They set goals for the behalf of their members and pursue those goals unwaveringly.”
“Value added agriculture supports rural economies, and cider is no different. It creates jobs, supports farms and boosts income opportunities from culinary tourism. This is why I was involved in the cider industry at Gorge Grown Food Network and it’s a big reason why I am so excited to take this role at USACM.”
Michelle’s main goals will include hosting a successful CiderCon 2017, developing a member benefits program, implementing a strategic plan for the future, and growing the association membership.

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