The UK cider industry is enjoying the sweet taste of success, as producers have climbed by 50 per cent in the past five years.
Medium and large-scale producers numbered 150 across the country last year, up from 97 in 2010, figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show, which also show there are also some 500 smaller scale cider producers.
The cider industry has welcomed support from budget changes in the March and Summer Budgets, including keeping the duty exemption for small scale producers and introducing a two per cent tax cut amounting to 1p per litre.
Martin Thatcher, managing director of Thatchers Cider and chair of the National Association of Cider Makers said it was crucial for an “industry in need of support”:
Despite the difficult market conditions that we are all currently experiencing, we are continuing to invest in our local economies through the planting of new orchards, the construction of new facilities and the creation of jobs.
British cider sales have been fizzing steadily upwards, figures from the Office for National Statistics show, with last year’s sales nearing £1bn.
Damian Hinds, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said he was pleased to be “seeing results” from the budget changes:
Cider makers play a crucial role in our rural economy, particularly in places like the South West.
As we work with cider makers across the country over the coming months, we will seek to find ways to support them in the future and help maintain the wonderful choice and diversity we have in cider.