Photo: Richard Drax MP with Cider Maker Joe Hartle (left) and Mark Hopper (right)
South Dorset MP Richard Drax met with Cider Maker Joe Hartle from Purbeck Cider and Mark Hopper from the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) on the 28th May 2021.
After being given a tour of the orchards and learning more about the cider industry, Richard listened to concerns about cider makers’ tanks remaining 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 impacts of the numerous COVID lockdowns, pubs, bars shut and cancelled festivals over the last 12 months, has left some apple growers and cider makers in a perilous position.
“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.” said Mark Hopper NACM “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.”
Joe Hartle said “Cider making depends on locally grown apples, but these orchards take best part of a decade to reach full crop and can’t just be turned on and off to suit demand. The last 12 months have been extremely challenging but there have been some positives such as strengthening the relationships we have with our local community. We look forward to pubs, festivals and whole hospitality sector re-opening this summer.”
Speaking after the visit, Richard Drax “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.”