The National Association of Cider Makers and (NACM) and the All Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG) hosted its Winter reception at Westminster last night. The event was a great success, with over 150 people from across Government and the wider drinks industry, in attendance.
The Reception showcased the breadth of cider makers in what is a highly dynamic category. Premium products were served to attendees from cider makers, big and small, highlighting the innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptive nature of this rural industry.
But the focus of the evening was very much about the cider industry’s responsible approach to future prosperity. In delivering the keynote speech, Helen Thomas, Managing Director of Westons Cider and Chair of the NACM, emphasised that the cider industry was primarily rurally based and worked hard to uphold the proud tradition and strong reputation of its craft. She said, “We are often one of the largest employers in our communities and as a result we have always recognised the need for community support, local investment, sponsorship of rural training and employment. When we think of our own future, we also consider the future needs of those around us.”
Helen was adamant to point out that as a forward thinking and progressive industry, cider makers don’t just consider their local communities, though. She emphasised the need for cider makers to behave responsibly as they develop and market their brands.
She said, ‘We have always prided ourselves on how quickly we are able to support consumer education with clearer messages on our labels, better information on our websites and support for Drinkaware and the Portman Group. Better education has resulted in reports of excellent improvements in responsible drinking. In the last decade, total alcohol consumption in the UK has fallen by 18% and the number of adults drinking within recommended guidelines has risen to 76%. 38% fewer under 16s have tried drinking alcohol and alcohol related crime is at an all-time low.’
A continued responsible approach towards its local communities and to its consumers will ensure that the cider industry is well placed to return the market to growth.
Helen summed up the mood of the evening. She said, ‘This reception is all about celebrating the great British cider industry and what we bring to the UK economy, especially our rural communities. It is about celebrating an industry that has been here for centuries and we hope will be here for centuries to come. It is a celebration of the diversity of British cider and the passion and enthusiasm of the British cider maker.’