South West cider makers call for tax cuts to help industry grow

Cider makers in the South West are calling for tax cuts to help them grow their businesses and meet the demand for proper farmhouse cider.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is backing the demands and asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak and MPs to support small and independent cider makers with a progressive a tax regime and an increase in the minimum juice content for cider, to further improve the quality of the drink.

The demands come following the publication of CAMRA’s latest title Modern British Cider by Gabe Cook. All 70 MPs that have makers from their constituencies featured in the book – dozens of them in the West Country, celebrated as the home of top quality cider – have been sent a copy to highlight the key issues facing small and independent cider makers.

Nik Antona, CAMRA national chairman, said: “We are very excited to have teamed up with Gabe Cook on this latest title, and to have this opportunity to reach out to MPs and show them the very real impact being had on their constituency’s cider industry. The Government will be announcing the Budget on October 27 – now is the time to deliver reforms that will help British cider makers thrive.”

The book, a guide which celebrates how cider has formed an integral part of the UK’s landscape, analyses the challenges and opportunities that will influence cider businesses’ ability to innovate and grow in the future.

Author Gabe Cook suggests a progressive duty system for small cider producers. The current duty exemption for those producing less than 70 hectolitres (roughly 12,000 pints) has helped protect small farm diversification, he argues, but has also effectively acted as a glass ceiling for aspiring cider makers, preventing growth.

He advocates the retention of this exemption, and the introduction of progressive cider duty above 70hl as part of the wider alcohol duty review.

Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.

To contact William: Email: [email protected] – Phone: 01752 293116 – Mob: 07584 594052 – Twitter: @WTelfordHerald – LinkedIn: – Facebook:

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The current minimum juice content required to sell a product as cider is just 35% and he says raising this to 50% will help improve cider’s value perception, integrity and reputation, create more competitiveness, and provide a renewed demand for acres of orchards bearing tannin-rich apples that are currently being wound down due to a lack of demand. In addition ingredient listing for alcoholic drinks is currently not a legal requirement in the UK, and Gabe argues mandating signposting to a full list of ingredients should be introduced to ensure that consumers can be better informed about what their cider contains.

He said: “The industry still faces many challenges holding it back from achieving its full potential. I hope this book lends a voice to these causes and readers will join my calls to support the industry. Britain is blessed with so much cider heritage, which we desperately need to conserve, but also wonderful innovation, fun and boundary-pushing boldness which we need to nurture. There truly is a cider for everyone.”

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