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As interest in this centuries-old craft grows and cideries continue to emerge across the country, we are proud to give cider a category all its own. With the increased use of dry-farmed fruit and heirloom varieties, the beauty of the apple (and the pear) find expression in both our Apple-Centric and Flavored & Fortified subcategories.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the cider community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the cider standard are and who will be judging this year.



Brandon Buza

Freelance Photographer

Brandon is a fermentation geek with an interest in making cider, wine, and distilled spirits. After years of making wine with guidance from friend and natural wine legend Tony Coturri he was introduced to the world of craft cider in Chimacum, Washington and has continued to grow his understanding of the cider universe ever since. Brandon’s interest in cider extends to all facets of the craft which includes making brandy. He is a partner in large organic apple and pear orchard in Yakima, WA, volunteers with the orchard team at Filoli in Woodside, CA, has visited the top cider makers around the world and has won major awards for his ciders. He has served as a judge for the Portland International Cider Cup, Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition and the prestigious World Whiskey Awards held in DC and London. Last, Brandon is WSET 2 certified (wine) and is currently studying to become a Certified Pommelier. This will be Brandon’s fourth year with the GFAs.


2024 Judges

Christian Reynoso

Cooking Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

Jenny Eagleton

Wine Professional, DAYTRIP

Chris Deitch

Oakland/Berkeley Sales, Revel Wine

Jeff Baccus

Yeast Wrangler, Agrestic Cider and Ferments

Ned Lawton

Founder, Ethic Ciders

Darlene Hayes



In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, cider entries must meet the following standards:

  • Made in the USA or US territories.
  • Made with ingredients that are grown or produced with practices that promote resource conservation and minimize synthetic inputs, including herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers
  • Made with fruit and other ingredients that are grown locally and with respect to seasonality as a top priority.
  • Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
  • Does not use fruit juice concentrates as a primary source of fermentable sugar (may not exceed 25%).
  • Made by a producer that demonstrates a commitment to relationships with suppliers and customers in order to support and promote sustainability.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,* as exemplified through integrating these  practices:
    • Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.*

****Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.


Additionally, cider entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:

  • Unadulterated Ciders: Ciders made to showcase everything the apple can do when fermented, without the addition of prominent flavoring agents. Chaptalized ciders can be included here, but those made with sugars that have a significant impact on flavor should be entered into the Spiced & Hopped category.
  • Unadulterated Perry: Perries made to showcase everything the pear can do when fermented, without the addition of prominent flavoring agents. Apple-based ciders with added pear should be entered into the Fruited category.
  • Wood-Aged: Ciders and perries aged or fermented in barrels or on wood to take on significant barrel/wood character or the flavor of the barrel’s previous contents as a key flavor component. Please specify the barrel/wood type with your submission.
  • Fruited: Ciders and perries made with added non-apple/pear fruits. Apple-based ciders with added pear and pear-based drinks with added apples should also be entered here.
  • Spiced, Hopped & Other Flavored: Ciders and perries made with spices, hops, herbs, or sugars with significant flavor contributions (such as maple syrup or honey).
  • Fortified & Ice Ciders: Ciders and perries fortified with spirits, pommeaus, and ice ciders.