Cider Makers from across the country gathered in the Palace of Westminster this week to celebrate the importance of cider making and apple growing to the UK. Hosted jointly by the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG) and the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) the evening welcomed more than 120 guests including MPs and those connected to the cider industry.
Sir Bill Wiggin MP (President of APPCG) opened the event, explaining why cider is of great importance to the UK and thanking the MPs that continue to support this great British industry. NACM Chair, James Crampton followed, calling for guests to celebrate cider making and the importance of the apple.
James, who is Corporate Affairs Director at Heineken UK, spoke of the importance of cider-making in Britain and the need for future growth within the industry. He explained that the heartland of the industry is in a relatively small geographic area where cider makers contribute a huge amount to the rural economy through employment and farming.
He explained ‘While the years of Covid and the current economic situation have left our industry in a more fragile state, with the right support, we know we can continue to invest in our growth, contribute to local economies and delight the cider drinker.’
James shared how cider makers welcome millions of visitors to farms and cider making facilities, which helps to stimulate tourism in cider counties and drive greater awareness. He explained ‘This helps inform opportunities for greater export and worldwide recognition for this great British flagship drink. I believe building the profile of British cider beyond our shores is something we can work further on when our market is stable and more robust.’
Comparing the traditions and heritage of cider that go back centuries to the modern marketplace, he highlighted the wide range of ciders present at the event, and how all types of cider are welcomed, from the most robust, high tannin ciders, to the lightly acidic, softer ciders, from newer flavoured ciders to traditional classics. As he reminded everyone present that the basis for all of these starts in exactly the same way, with the humble apple.
The mood was celebratory as guests were encouraged to pledge their support, to raise their glasses and toast the creativity and innovation of the cider-making industry.