Fay Jones MP has visited the orchards at Trevithel Court Farm to discuss the impact of COVID on cider makers and a government review of how cider is taxed.
Miss Jones met with Apple Grower David James and Mark Hopper from the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), and was given a tour of the orchards to learn more about the cider industry.
Cider makers are concerned that their tanks remain largely blocked with the 2019 and 2020 harvests, which may need to be destroyed to make way for this year’s apple harvest. Worse still, was the fear that without support, decades old cider apple orchards may vanish from the countryside.
The impact of multiple COVID lockdowns - pub closures and cancelled festivals over the last 12 months - has seen demand for cider plummet, leaving some apple growers and cider makers in a perilous position.
Mark Hopper from NACM, UK cider industry representative body, said:
“Cider makers are asking for much needed support to allow them to recover from the impact of COVID and for the government to keep their pledge to reduce red tape for business.”
“The Treasury review into how cider and other alcoholic beverages are taxed is an opportunity to provide much needed support for our industry, but cider makers are concerned about more complexity and added cost.”
David James, from Trevithel Court Farm said:
“Cider making depends on locally grown apples, and these orchards take the best part of a decade to reach full crop and can’t just be turned on and off to suit demand. After a very difficult year, we urgently need support to ensure that capacity is opened up and cider apple growers are able to sell their 2021 crop this autumn.”
Speaking after the visit, Fay Jones MP said:
"It is good to see a local business continue to be optimistic during what has been a difficult time. Cider duty was once again frozen in this year’s Budget to help support local pubs and the wider supply chain, but the NACM have made a number of arguments for the future and these issues are definitely something I will look at.”