CIDER DUTY FROZEN – A MISSED OPPORTUNITY?
Ciders made like wines represent a real commercial opportunity in both local and global markets, as consumption moves to ‘less but better’. However, they also require a legislative and tax framework in order to thrive and grow.
Following the Chancellor’s announcement that all alcohol duty rises are frozen, Alistair Morrell, CEO of the Cider Is Wine trade alliance, commented:
“Whilst the decision to refrain from increasing alcohol duties is to be celebrated, it maintains the status quo in terms of an unequal system, and a missed opportunity to assert its global leadership.
The British cider industry is the largest in the world with a profound heritage in terms of its apples and with the largest stocks of growing cider apple varieties from its own orchards, and yet we don’t have an industry and tax structure which provides the incentive and necessary corporate frameworks to encourage our innate entrepreneurial flare.”
Whilst ciders exclusively fermented from apples and pears, without using concentrates, are made just like wine, there is no EU, nor indeed any global, standard for ciders, so different countries legislate different thresholds for the percentage of apple juice, or juice concentrate, for cider production: these range from 0% (Australia), 15% (Sweden) 35% (U.K.), 50% (U.S.A.), France, Italy & Spain (100%).
EU law states that wine must be made exclusively from grapes without any concentrates. Ciders made in the same way reflect the varietals used, where they are from (what the French call ‘terroir’) and the skill of the cidermaker.
The current UK duty legislation provides a tax break for cideries producing under 7,000 litres, yet this creates a huge hurdle for new, innovative cideries to expand on a contemporary commercial basis, which is based on consumers drinking less but better.
Cider Is Wine is an advocate of the UK industry asserting itself as a global leader across three measures – production, heritage / history, and value.
In times when consumers want to drink less but better, Cider Is Wine’s support of 100% apple and pear, not from concentrate ciders represents a huge global opportunity that’s worth an estimated £250 million (sources: Mintel / Westons / IWSR), within which the UK market is worth some £110million, ex duty and taxes.
It’s a home-grown industry with global sales potential and huge entrepreneurial opportunity, involving business skills from engineering, production and processing, to finance, sales, export and cutting-edge marketing. It deserves to be encouraged and further developed in the coming post-Brexit, post Covid-19 virus period by creating an environment of entrepreneurship in which these ciders can truly represent the best of Britain as well as the best in category around the world.