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Open letter

Read the open letter to the Treasury

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

HM Treasury
The Correspondence and Enquiry Unit
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ

 

Dear Rishi Sunak,

We are writing, as cider and perry makers, to voice our support for an increase in the minimum juice content of cider for duty purposes.

While our primary focus in the Alcohol Duty Review has been securing the future of the farmgate exemption and the small producer relief scheme, raising minimum juice content requirements will complement the sliding relief scale to the benefit of producers and consumers.

The current 35% minimum juice requirement does not reflect the standards of the growing modern cider industry and does not support the production of high-quality ciders and perries or provide consumers with a competitive market of products to choose from.

We believe that increasing the minimum juice content to 50%, and increasing the minimum juice quality standard to 1040 degrees gravity would have a number of benefits for producers, consumers, and the industry as a whole:

You specifically named White Cider as a challenge to public health in the UK at the Budget last Autumn. Increasing the minimum juice content for cider will significantly increase the price of these drinks that do so much to damage the reputation of the cider industry in the UK.

There is growing demand for quality, high juice content products. However, it is key that consumers can trust this perception of quality. We do not believe that any product which contains more water than juice is able to do this.

Smaller producers creating innovative, high-quality ciders play a vital role in supporting a competitive market. Again, this has ramifications for consumer choice, and a legislative framework which supports producers of high juice content drinks to grow their businesses will tackle the stagnation that has contributed in part to the recent decline of the overall cider category.

Additionally, increasing the minimum juice content of cider will secure a long term future for UK apple growers.  Orchards play an important role in rural economies, creating jobs and preserving traditional skills. They can be a vital haven for biodiversity in the wider rural landscape, with many orchards having existed for hundreds of years.

The juice from these heritage apple varietals is rich in tannins – often a key flavour component of high-quality cider – and sees far less demand from the largest industrial cider manufacturers. This has put orchards and livelihoods at risk and would be addressed by supporting the producers who value these orchards.

We are proud to be skilled producers of quality ciders and perries and believe that consumers should be provided with the information they need to make empowered choices. As such, we also ask you to work with colleagues in DEFRA to increase transparency for consumers by introducing labelling requirements for cider.

Please support cider and cider makers by increasing the minimum juice content of cider to at least 50%.

Cider makers, add your support!

If you’re a cider or perry maker, and would like to join calls for the Government to increase the minimum juice content for cider duty by adding your name to the open letter, just add your details below. We’ll be sending the letter and signatures to the Treasury at the end of May Cider and Perry Month.

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