Cider is enjoying a major resurgence

Cider is enjoying a major resurgence

The National Association of Cider Makers' (NACM) newly-appointed chairman has claimed that cider can become to the UK what wine is to France, based on its current export growth.

Paul Bartlett, C&C Group's marketing director, was unveiled as the NACM's new chairman at a reception at the Houses of Parliament, in London, last night (11 September). He replaces Henry Chevallier-Guild, boss of Aspall, who has stepped down after three years in the NACM's top role. 

"I am very excited about the cider opportunity with strong growth in many overseas markets, particularly the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa," Bartlett told guests, including MPs, peers and industry represtatives.

He added: "Over the next few years we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Britain to cider what France is to wine." 

Overall UK export cider sales are up 17% in the last year and have risen 26% since 2009. Meanwhile, in the US last month, Heineken moved its distribution of Strongbow in-house, to capitalise on the country's fast-growing cider market. 

But Bartlett said that cider producers have been severely affected by the UK's extreme weather of late. "Four successive poor summers and the increasing incidence of extreme weather have really buffeted our industry," he said. 

But he added: "We are resilient." 

The new NACM chairman also revealed that "most" of the trade group's members are against minimum pricing. "It will not deliver the improvement in the levels of misuse we all seek," he said. 

Bartlett will dedicate "a couple of days a week" to his role as NACM chairman, the group said, while remaining in his post at C&C Group.