The National Association of Cider Makers and (NACM) the All Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG) hosted its Autumn reception at Westminster last night. The event showcased the diversity of ciders available in the marketplace and the strong focus on innovation, in what is a highly dynamic category.
As well as highlighting the NACM’s support for all cider makers, big and small, the Reception also underlined the cider industry’s continued commitment to its local communities and the rural economy. The event was a great success, with over 150 people from across Government and the wider drinks industry, in attendance.
Delivering the keynote speech was Helen Thomas, Managing Director of Westons Cider, who takes over the Chair of the NACM for the second time, having previously held the role from 2005 – 2007. She follows Martin Thatcher who has been in post since 2014.
Recalling her last stint as Chair, Helen noted the changes in the dynamics of the cider industry over the last decade, remarking how the rapid volume increase back then has been impacted upon in later years by the introduction of the duty escalator.
Helen, continued, however, to highlight that the cider industry remains resolute in its support for great British cider makers. She said, ‘The most important messages shared in 2007 are all still as relevant today. Our long term, sustainable industry is still down to the way that we work, pulling together for the greater good of UK cider producers as a whole. Investment in our communities remains at the heart of the cider industry and nearly 2,000 people who we employ across our rural communities are critical to our success. A further 9,000 jobs, from companies and individuals providing us with goods and services, exist because of the cider industry.’
Reflecting on the need to pull together as an industry, Helen discussed the significant changes made by the NACM in the last 12 months, which includes a full time team to now run the Association. The launch of the new website was the first visible evidence of a shift in focus to a broader communication on the great British cider industry, and the wonderful diversity of ciders here in the UK.
Helen summed up the mood of the evening. She said, ‘This reception is a celebration of everything that we have achieved in nearly a decade as an industry and of our wonderful history and heritage going back centuries. Most crucially it demonstrates our commitment to supporting great British Cider Makers.