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UK: Cider makers renew call for end to duty escalator

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The UK cider industry has made a fresh call for the government to scrap its duty escalator that it claims could hamper buoyant growth.

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Earlier this year, the coalition government scrapped the escalator on beer, but kept it in place for cider, spirits and wine. Under the measure, introduced in 2008, alcohol duties have been increased by at least 2% above inflation. 

But the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) has again called for the escalator on cider to be abandoned to encourage investment in the sector.

“It is the interest and support of government officials that gives us the confidence to invest at the levels we do - and to ensure that the cider industry remains a very British success story, " said NACM chairman Paul Bartlett at a reception at the Houses of Parliament last night (10 September). 

"The NACM, which represents about 60% of UK cider volumes, has committed itself to 10% growth in the next two years.

“It’s not through good luck that cider has been the best performing drinks category - it is a result of an unstinting focus of products quality and the willingness of producers to invest in their businesses,” Bartlett added. 

Bartlett said cider enjoyed a successful summer in the UK this year after warm weather boosted sales. But he warned challenging times may still lie ahead despite new successes in the export market.

“There are exciting opportunities on the horizon, particularly in North America, and the NACM is working hard to help producers succeed,” he said.

Last month, English cider producer Aspall unveiled plans to launch in India.


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